Strolling along the beach of Realmonte you will come upon one of the most breathtaking views of the Mediterranean: Scala dei Turchi, a dazzling white marlstone cliff modeled by the wind and smoothed by the rain for centuries until resembling a magnificent natural stairway. It’s femininely rounded white terraces which plunge into the turquoise sea are of unrivaled beauty. Many choose to enjoy the nearby sandy beaches while others prefer to scramble onto the bluff along its wide steps and terraces; only a few courageous attempt the climb up to the top of the ‘stairs’ where they are rewarded with a spectacular view which reaches as far as the eye can see and a priceless sense of freedom. The soft white marl is sedimentary rock and due to its characteristic white colour it assumes different shades in the course of the day: pearly white at dawn, sparkling white under the midday sun and hues of orange and violet at sunset.
According to locals, the name (translated ‘Turkish steps’) derives from the times when, in the 15th century, Saracen pirates assaulted the coast and climbed up the cliffs to plunder the above-lying villages of all their riches, including the women. These ferocious incursions have left their mark on Sicilian history and traces can still be found in local vernacular: there is a popular expression in Sicilian dialect used frequently in the area of Agrigento “cu piglia un Turco è so!”; literally translated “if you capture a Turk he’s yours”, meaning that you can treat him as you wish. Scala dei Turchi has also fascinated and inspired many great authors.
Andrea Camilleri describes the Scala in ‘La prima indagine di Montalbano’, one of his most loved novels: “he sat down on the dry sand; and there he sat, smoking one cigarette after another, lost in the observation of the change of colours reflected by the undergoing sun on the lower steps of the Turkish staircase.” Also Giuseppe Tornatore, Sicilian Oscar award-winning film director, chose this magical spot as the outdoor set for numerous scenes in his film ‘Malena’. Recently a Belvedere has been created by the municipality and FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano – above the Scala di Turchi, offering a spectacular view of this natural beauty from above. It is almost impossible not to be seduced by this perfect masterpiece created by Mother Nature and by the profound sense of freedom it inspires.
Scala dei Turchi can be reached in two ways: by following the steps leading down to the beach from “Lido Scala dei Turchi” or by walking along the beach from “Lido Majata”.
Click on the icons on the map to visualize Google Maps and the GPS coordinates of the two parking lots closest to the two entrances described.
The following coordinates indicate the point of interest
N 37° 17' 24.51''
E 13° 28' 25''