The Scala dei Turchi and Montalbano’s historic Vigata

The Scala dei Turchi, a rocky wall of white marl that drops sheer into the sea along the coast of Realmonte, owes its particular name to a legend. It is said that during the Saracen invasions this cliff was used by Turkish pirates (a generic term used to indicate Muslim pirates) who found it a natural landing place, thus giving rise to the expression “Mamma li Turchi”. From this panoramic promontory you can admire the rock of the ‘Rocca Gucciarda’, popularly known as ‘u zitu e a zita’ (the fiancé and the fiancée), in honour of a couple of unfortunate fiancées who were denied their longed-for wedding in life. In recent years, La Scala has become a tourist attraction both because of the uniqueness of the cliffs and because of the popularity gained as a result of Inspector Montalbano’s novels written by Andrea Camilleri where these landmarks and towns appear frequently. In the main street of Porto Empedocle (Via Roma) there is a mural entitled ‘la via verso casa’, created by the artist Salvo Ligama and depicting the magnetic gaze of Camilleri with his head protruding through a shutter. In addition, in the main square of the town, some cultural associations have decorated a 16-step staircase with bright colours, writing on each step a title taken from Camilleri’s novels. (EXCURSIONS VARY IN LENGTH)