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  • Scala dei Turchi (Turkish Steps)

    By Anthony Parente

    Turkish Steps Sicily
    Located on Sicily's southern coast between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle in Agrigento is the naturally carved staircase that has formed from centuries of wind and rain. The majestic white staircase known as the Scala dei Turchi (Turkish Steps) cascades down the cliff into the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The white marl, which is sedimentary rock consisting of clay and lime, can be blinding to the eyes at times but the views and the way the water and sun contrast against the cliffs make this a spectacular place to visit.

    You can spend your time here and relax by sunbathing or take a swim in the warm waters of the Mediterranean. If you seek something more adventurous you will see people diving off the cliffs into the water. You can climb the steps or walk along the sandy trails. It is a stunning location to take photos especially at sunset. It is believed the white marl has healing and restorative powers for your skin so you may see people covering their body hoping to capture its therapeutic benefits.

    Legend tells us that the name was derived from the time that Sicily was being raided by the Saracen pirates (locals referred to them as Turks). They would anchor their ships along the cliffs shielding it from the winds then climb the natural staircase and raid and plunder local villages and hence the area was called the Scala dei Turchi (Turkish steps).

    Things to know:

    • Wear sunglasses since the white marl can be blinding at times.
    • Pay and display parking is available. You may want to arrive early during peak tourist season.
    • This area was featured in Andrea Camilleri's series of detective stories about Inspector Montalbano.
    • You are less than 15 km from the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, which is one of the most important archeological sites in the world.
    • In 2007 an official request was submitted to UNESCO to have this included in their Heritage List. No official designation from UNESCO has been granted yet.

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