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The province of Agrigento

Sciacca

The city of Sciacca
Copyright © Roberto Meli
 

Sciacca (Zip Code  92019) is 69 Km. distant from Agrigento, the province it belongs to, 141 Km. from Caltanissetta, 261 Km. from Catania, 180 Km. from Enna, 357 Km. from Messina, 122 Km. from Palermo, 205 Km. from Ragusa, 286 Km. from Siracusa, 104 Km. from Trapani.

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The municipality counts 39.600 inhabitants, its surface measures 19.101 hectares, and its population density is of 207 inhabitants per square kilometre. It rises on a flat area, 60 meters above the sea-level.

The Town Hall is located in via Roma n. 13, tel. ++39 0925-20111 fax. ++39 0925-82946, toll free number 800018363. (only for italian residence). E-mail address is: csutc1@sc.trinakria.it.

Ancient thermal locality, Sciacca boasts a substantial production of grapes, cereals, olives, and citrus fruits. The town also has conspicuous fishing resources. The handicraft activity is especially characterized by the production of artistic ceramics and wooden objects.

The name Sciacca derives from the Arab term As-saqah, that means "fessura" (cleft), which refers to the caves of the nearby Mountain Kronion, characterized by the exhalations of hot air utilized for thermal purposes.

The original town was already existent during the period of the Romans, who named it "Thermae Selinuntinae", meaning Selinunte's Thermal Baths due to the vicinity of the homonymous center.

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In 840 B.C., it was conquered by the Arabs, who turned it into an important agricultural center. In 1087, it became a Norman possession; they bestowed it no sooner than 1100, to Ruggero I of Altavilla.

Approximately during the XIV century, the suburb became dominion and residence of nobleman Guglielmo Peralta, who had the Castello Nuovo (New Castle) erected.

During 1500, the town was involved in bloody internal disputes, that came to an end only towards the end of the century.

Afterwards, the town was ruled by vice king Giovanni De Vega, who gave impulse to a substantial urban transformation that can be witnessed to this day.

Some of the outstanding monuments are the Duomo di Maria Maddalena rich of renaissance artwork, the Chiesa di S. Margherita that preserves a gorgeous Gothic portal, the Chiesa di S. Maria del Giglio dated 1565, and the Chiesa di S. Maria dell'Itria and the outlying Badia Grande both dated 1776.

Among all of the urban structures, the most noteworthy are the XIV century Castello dei Luna, and the famous Steripinto, a singular Gothic-Catalan building dated 1500.