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Unusual Places in Italy: Scala dei Turchi

A dazzling white cliff framing the blue of the sea: the so-called Scala dei Turchi (‘Stair of the Turks’) regularly features among Italy’s most beautiful beaches.

While the name has come to also indicate the beach below, Scala dei Turchi proper is a rocky white wall that rises above the sea along the coast of Realmonte, near Porto Empedocle, in the province of Agrigento, Sicily.

It juts out of the coast between two fine sand beaches; from the top, you can see the whole coast of Agrigento. Over time, Scala dei Turchi has become a tourist attraction both for the uniqueness of the white cliff and its peculiar shape, and also as a result of the popularity acquired thanks to the Inspector Montalbano novels by Andrea Camilleri, set in the area.

The so-called ‘Scala’ (stair) is made up of marl, a sedimentary rock; it has a wavy and irregular shape, with rolling, rounded lines. The name originates not only from its appearance, which reminds of steps, but also from past piracy raids by the Saracens, who found shelter in this area protected by winds and therefore safer for landing.

The Scala can be accessed after a short walk along the sandy beach; parts of it may be fenced off due to risk of collapses. The area is fragile and should be visited following rules.

In summer, the Temple Tour Bus service takes tourists on board open top buses to Scala dei Turchi, to the Valley of the Temples, a Unesco World Heritage site, and other interesting sites nearby.


Credit: Italy Magazine

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