March 20, 2023


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Scala dei Turchi, Sicily.  The shelf is painted red.  'It has been shamefully desecrated'

Scala dei Turchi, Sicily. The shelf is painted red. ‘It has been shamefully desecrated’

Scala dei Turchi is a limestone cliff in southern Sicily. On Friday, in some places, I painted red iron oxide powder. The Public Prosecutor’s Office has already begun an investigation into the matter. On Saturday, residents of the area gathered to remove the act of vandalism together.

Scala dei Turchi, or Turkish Stairs, is one of the most visited places in Italy by tourists. The magnificently shaped cliff is located on the coast of Realmonte in the province of Agrigento in southern Sicily. However, on a Friday evening, someone was left to amuse him with red powder in some places.

Investigation started

Preliminary examination showed that the perpetrators greased the shelf with an iron oxide-based substance, that is, a substance that was easy to remove. This is evidenced by the fact that the lower part of the formation was partially cleared by sea waves. On Saturday, a group of local volunteers gathered to clean up the cliff.

“The magnificent white cliff of Scala dei Turchi, an attraction for visitors from all over the world, has been shamefully desecrated,” said Nilo Musumeci, President of Sicily. We condemn the perpetrators of this cowardly act. This is an insult not only for the rare natural beauty, but also for the image of our island. “I hope the judiciary will quickly identify those guilty,” he added.

Luigi Patronaggio, the attorney general for the province of Agrigento, announced the opening of an investigation. He also ordered testing and tracking of red powder sales in the region in recent days. Police are also looking for advice on close monitoring.

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The troubled fate of the original composition

In 2019, the cliff was to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. However, a year later, due to complaints of poor maintenance, it was temporarily closed.

The escarpment suffered from natural erosion, but also from a large number of tourists, some of whom broke off and took with them pieces of fine limestone.

Moreover, the formation has been the subject of a dispute for years between Realmonte authorities and its alleged owner, Ferdinando Sciabbara, who claimed part of the coast on the basis of documents from the 19th century.

The investigation is still pending against Sciabbbar for the confiscation of state-owned land and other offenses related to the protection of this place. Last summer he paid a fine of nine thousand euros (more than 40 thousand zlotys) and the land was returned to him. According to Italian newspaper reports, Sciabbarra is ready to sell the land to the local authorities, on the condition that a nature reserve is created there.

Main image source: PAP / EPA / Supervision of Cultural Communication