Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Details on Scicli

Scicli, pronounced SHEEK-lee, is a strange little place. On the one hand, is it a beautiful little Baroque city nestled in the rock hills in the southeast corner of Sicily. On the other, the rock hills are riddled with ancient caves, dating back to the Second Bronze Age (1500 B.C.) Like Sperlinga, some of the caves are still occupied, or at least used by people! The town is named for one of the orignal tribes of people in Sicily, the Siculi. Scicli is a UNESCO site, a protected place which receives funds for restoration work.

The Matrice Church has a rare lifesize Madonna on Horseback that is taken out once a year, in May, for a festival celebrating her saving the people of Scicli from the Saracens (Arabs). In fact, the statue shows her trampling over one. The same church also has a solid silver casket said to be holding the bones of St. Ignazio, to whom it is dedicated.

Possibly THE most ornate Baroque interior I have ever seen is found in St. Bartholomew's Church, a block or so away from the main piazza. The ceiling paintings and ornamentation covering every square inch of the church are a sight to behold. And yet, it is pleasing to the eye overall.

The story of St. Bart himself is not so nice. Our funny little Italian guide said, "You know how he die? Day skeen heem, like a rabbit!" And sure enough, there are paintings in the church depicting the horrid event, poor Bart's skin lying in a heap. These Sicilian saints always seemed to die horrible, painful deaths.

Anyway, since we were on a day tour, we did not have time to climb up and explore the ancient caves, although you can, or the ruins of the oldest church in Sicily, St. Matthew's, that is dated back to 1091. That will have to wait for a later visit.

We spent most of our time walking around admiring and photographing the Baroque buildings and checking out a trendy coffee bar and a wine shop. The details are what make the Baroque interesting--the window and door frames and especially the balcony supports. Thanks again to the earthquake of 1693 for providing us with all this Baroque in Sicily!

Check out my Photos of Sicily to see Scicli yourself.


At January 19, 2006 10:34 AM, Anonymous mdd said...

This is quite an image for your "Mary" colection, Maryellen! I do find it fascinating.

Another little note about "St. Bart:" On the far wall of the Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo's "Last Judgement." In the lower right area is an image of Bartholomew's flayed skin upon which is a wavy portrait of "Big M" himself.


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