Away off the main tourist beat - but this delightfully sleepy baroque town is well worth a visit. My two calls, over a decade apart, revealed no change, except that the inevitable decay of fine buildings had advanced a little further. But Scicli seems a place that is content to decline gently - a nonagenarian who had fought in three wars told me that Scicli has the perfect climate - never too hot in summer, never too cold in winter: its senior citizens can snooze on their benches in the piazza all year round. In the UK, a building like the Palazzo Beneventano would be a heritage site with souvenir shop and tea-room. In Scicli it's just ageing beautifully and unselfconsciously. Note the small roped off area in the picture, where masonry could fall and maim you (not still there in 2005, though!); the rusting balustrade of the crinoline balcony, the eroding grotesques below it. Note the washing and the motorino. Here a fine old building is still very much part of the community - not segregated from real life.
But even here, things are changing. (Do I agree with Don Fabrizio in The Leopard who says "Se vogliamo che tutto rimanga come è, bisogni che tutto cambi" ?). Trying to exercise my Italian, I struck up a conversation with the son of the padrone in the charming trattoria where I was having lunch (La Taverna). Assuming that football would be a good opener - after all it was the only yesterday that Liverpool had beaten AC Milan to win the European Cup in Istanbul - I was amazed to find his interests were exclusively "pizza e computer". He and his sister were certainly a tribute to the calorific benefits of their father's pizze.
After lunch one takes a brisk stroll up the hill past the Palazzo Beneventano to the derelict church of S. Matteo. It soon becomes an overgrown track, as you pass a ruined chapel. The view is worth the effort, especially if you go on to the top of the Colle S. Matteo.
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