I have traveled “the boot” from tip to heel and up and down the front and the back but I have yet to find – and I’m not sure I will – a beach as gorgeous as the one called the Scale dei Turchi near Agrigento in Sicily. So beautiful that not only did I buy a house there but so did a friend of mine. Sure, there are phenomenal well-known beaches all over Italy including on the islands of Sardegna and Capri, the Cinque Terre, and in Puglia to name a few. However, in terms of beauty, weather and lack of crowds, it is difficult to compete with the Scale dei Turchi.
I write this with a dilemma. On the one hand, I love to share anything that I think is of value – from great restaurants to great wines to great…beaches apparently. However, one of the great things about the Scale dei Turchi is that it is not packed with tourists. The more people know about it, the more crowded it will get. Just ten years ago when I first started going there, literally if I asked someone from another part of Sicily if they had heard about it, 9 out of 10 would say no. Since then, and specifically the last couple of years, ask a “Milanese” (someone from Milan) and they will know about it. In fact, you know see a few Germans and Dutch and I am certain that within a few years many Americans will have heard about it. Hopefully you’ll remember reading this and think, “I should have listened to him.”
So why aren’t there more people that know about the Scale dei Turchi. First, the Rick Steve’s of the world haven’t done a PBS special yet (although my friend Rudy Maxa did many years ago). Second, the region has not spent much money on promoting the area. Third, the closest airport is about 2 hours away and fourth, the locals don’t truly understand the importance of tourism and what it can do for the economy. The few tourists that have come throughout the years have done so in RVs and, besides the gas station owners and a few others, the locals haven’t benefited much from their presence.
In sum, get it while you can. You will literally spend a third of what you would spend in Capri or other areas. As of this writing, you can stay at a nice bed and breakfast for around $30-35 a day, eat a fantastic meal for about $20-25 and access the beach…for free (try that at Forte dei Marmi in Liguria!). And just in case you’re a foodie, you will eat just as well or better than the above mentioned beaches. So, come and enjoy but…don’t let too many people in on the secret!