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Sciacca (AG)

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Sciacca (Agrigento Province) is 73 km. from Agrigento, alt. 60 m., on the coast of the Strait of Sicily, area 191.01 sq. km., pop. over 38,900, post-code 92019, tel. 0925. Economy: agriculture, fishing, hand-made ceramics, various industries, thermal tourism.

On the eastern outskirts there is a Sican settlement, known as Figuli. The town that later developed, described by Diodorus Siculus, was called by the Romans Thermae Selinuntinae, because of the therapeutic properties of the spring waters in the area. After the destruction of Selinunte by Carthage, the town became a flourishing port, with the development of agriculture in its hinterland and the consequent construction of a wheat-loader by the sea, and a posting station.

After a period of decline under the Byzantines, Sciacca became under the Arabs and then the Normans a leading agricultural and commercial center, and many people moved there from neighboring town and villages.

The Arabs called the town assaqqah (fissure), the source of its modern name. They gave the town its characteristic layout of lanes and courtyards.

In 1330 Frederick II of Aragon incorporating some external settlements and the plain of San Michele, which was enriched in the 15th and 16th centuries by the construction of a new castle and of a number of architecturally distinguished palaces.

The discovery of some banks of coral in 1875 led to an increase in maritime trade and the town expanded eastwards.

Sciacca is a town of thermal springs, which are among the best in the world. Also of interest is the Castello dei Luna (1393-98), the Palazzo Perollo-Arone (15th century), the Torre di Pardo (15th century), the Porta San Salvatore (1555), the Steripinto (1501), the Porta Palermo, the Palazzo Ragusa (1700), Porta San Calogero, the Badia Grande, the Perollo Castle (Norman), the Palazzo Ventimiglia (15th century), and the 20th century Il Giardino di Bentivegna. The Town Hall is housed in the former Collegio dei Gesuiti (1613).

The Carneval celebration is one of the most spectacular in Sicily.

A branch of the provincial archives is located in Sciacca at:
Archivio di Stato di Agrigento, Sciacca Sezione
via Giuseppe Verdi, #27
92019 Sciacca, AG

Churches (Agrigento Diocese) include the following:
Santa Maria Maddalena (Chiesa Madre, 1108)
B.M.V. del Carmelo
B.M.V. del Perpetuo Soccorso
B.M.V. di Fatima
B.M.V. di Loreto
B.V. del Monte Carmelo
Chiesa and Convento del Carmine (historic)
Chiesa del Collegio (historic)
Chiesa del Giglio (historic)
Chiesa del Purgatorio (15th century, historic)
Chiesa di San Gerlando (14th century, historic)
Chiesa di San Nicolo la Latina (12th century, historic)
Chiesa di Santa Margherita (1342, renovated 16th century, historic)
Chiesa di Santa Margherita (1530, historic)
Chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Itria (historic)
Chiesa di Santa Maria dello Spasimo (historic)
Chiesa San Domenico (historic)
San Francesco di Paola (1749)
San Michele Arcangelo (1371)
San Pietro Apostolo
Santa Caterina (15th century)
San Calogero Eremita (Calogero al Monte - suburb of Sciacca)
Maria SS. di Loreto (Calogero al Monte - suburb of Sciacca)

Families researched in these records include the following:

Links to other sites about Sciacca include:
Ancient Sicily
Sciacca Photos
Italian Wikipedia
Italian Towns
Italian Postal Codes
Sicily Web
Sicilian Net

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily - A Reference for Researchers and is now available. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

Order Italy Kathy Kirkpatrick

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© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2008