Scala dei Turchi – Realmonte, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Scala dei Turchi

Realmonte, Italy

"Stairs of the Turks", a chalky white cliff eroded conveniently into stairs, allowing for easy pillaging. 


Scala dei Turchi is located on the coast of southern Sicily between Realmonte and Porto Empedocle, Agrigento.

The origin of the name comes from the many invasions of Turkish pirates and the “stairs” are formed by eroded Marl, clay and silt similar to calcite and limestone.

When visiting Scala dei Turchi, hike down one of a few steep sandy trails that lead to a beach full of locals and tourists covered in wet Marl, hoping to glow from the benefits it supposedly contains for the skin. Beach-goers that are not taking part in the natural mud bath can be seen jumping off of the cliffs and rocks, and into the deep, buoyant water of the warm Mediterranean. Local tourism authorities recommend climbing the steps barefoot.

Looking at one end, you will see the white steps, where Turkish and Barbary Coast pirates slipped in on several raids for plundering. Climb to the top for a beautiful sunset on the Mediterranean Sea.

In 2007, Realmonte municipality applied for the inclusion of the Scala dei Turchi on the UNESCO Heritage List. The status hasn’t been given to the area yet.

Update as of November 2020: The area is currently off-limits and under review for conservation efforts. 

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