The territory of Sciacca was
definitely inhabited since Neolithic times, probably thanks
to its thermal waters which gush out from Monte San Calogero.
Tucidide already referred to a takeover by Salinunte, then
known by the Romans by the name of Thermae Selinuntinae.
But tradition wants that Sciacca has a more ancient foundation
by the hands of the Sicani, and re-establishes the myth of
Dedalo who when trying to escape the Cretan King of Minosse,
sought refuge in Inico, ancient Sciacca, constructing the
famous stoves of San Calogero.
It’s certain though, that fist the Phoenicians and then
the Greeks from Selinunte passed through and sought refuge
in 409 BC, after the destruction of their own City by the
Due to its strategic geographical position between Agrigento
and Mazara, Sciacca was centre of the wars between the Greeks
and Carthaginians, and two important battles were fought on
its territory between Dionysius of Syracuse, Imilcone, Agatocle
and Pirro (4th Century BC).
Having passed hands to Rome, the City became more important
for its geographical position and its thermal waters, making
it an important postal station, which during the Imperial
times was known by the name of Aquae Labodes.
Little is known about Byzantine times, but in ‘840 it
was conquered by the Arabs who named it As-saqah and who transformed
the City’s urban town planning, allowing it to enjoy
wealth and splendour.
With the arrival of the Normans (1087) of Ruggero d’Altavilla,
Sciacca was encircled by town walls and fortified and the
Castello Vecchio (Old Castle) was built.
It then passed hands to the Swabians under Federico II, who
developed the City as a state property and a large commercial
wholesale goods centre.
In 1268, the City was besieged by Carlo I d’Angiò
and insulted in every possible way, but with the Vespri Siciliani
(Siclian Vespers), it immediately regained its proud independence
by becoming a free Commune.
In 1302, it resisted siege by French troops under the command
of Carlo di Valois, and remained in the hands of the Aragonese
who constructed new city walls in 1336 in defence of the continual
assaults by the French, which lasted until 1373.
Successive centuries saw powerful noble families of Sciacca
(Peralta, Perollo, Luna) set afire the political life with
strong rivalries, often frayed, in public massacres (1529).
In 1550, a new town-wall was constructed and the City experienced
a period of decline, moreover during which the City’s
urban aspect changed and it assumed a Baroque character.
There are many places of interest in the City beginning with
the Medieval and Renaissance walls, along which one can find
three portals: Porta Palermo, Porta San Salvatore (16th Century)
and Porta San Calogero (1536), where one can visit the nearby
Renaissance Church of S. Maria of Giglio, S. Maria dell’Itria
and Saint Michael the Archangel (reconstructed in 1371). Other
religious buildings: the Church of San Nicolò La Latina
(12th Century), the Church of Santa Margherita (1342) and
the Duomo or Church of Maria SS del Soccorso, built on the
wishes of Giuditta, daughter of Ruggero I of Sicily.
A visit to the area of the Castello dei Luna (Moon Castle)
is also recommended, where one can visit the only remaining
tower and external walls, and the Medieval district of Terravecchia
The Selinuntine Thermals, famous since the Greek era, were
re-opened in the 20th Century, and thanks to their high therapeutic
nature, are today amongst the main attractions of Sciacca.
The stoves of San Calogero, on the homonymous hills, are rocky,
vaporous cavities which have shown signs of settlement dating
back to the pre-historic age (Neolithic). Remains from digs
are now exposed at the Antiquarium of M. Cronio. The grottos
were abandoned during the Bronze Age at the beginning of the