Village and beaches with an exquisitely Mediterranean character
The town of Santa Croce Camerina is the heir to the Greek colony Kamarina, founded by the Syracusans in the 6th century BC, and Kaucana. The remains of the two ancient settlements are located in the Kamarina Archaeological Park in the province of Ragusa not far from Scoglitti and Caucana, a seaside town in the municipality of Santa Croce Camerina a few kilometers from the center.
The present settlement developed from the late 1500s when Marquis Giovanni Battista Celestri founded the town under the name Santa Croce. The most important monuments in the center are the Mother Church and some noble palaces that make the center stately.
Santa Croce Camerina is an important destination for beach tourism thanks to the hamlets of Casuzze, Caucana, Punta Braccetto, Torre di Mezzo, and especially Punta Secca. The latter is a well-known and beloved location because on the village’s beach is Montalbano’s House, the cottage in which the home of Commissioner Salvo Montalbano was set. The house is a popular b&b and big attraction for tourists from all over the world.
A short walk from the home of the most famous police commissioner is the restaurant “Enzo a mare,” another TV location linked to Montalbano. Television fiction in Punta Secca has become reality. In fact, even the restaurant is a real place where one can have lunch and dinner while reliving the atmosphere of Camilleri’s Vigata.
The Mother Church of Santa Croce Camerina is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The church dates back to the 1600s, but the current structure is the result of renovations in the late 1700s and 1800s. Inside it holds a copy of Caravaggio's Madonna of Loreto attributed to painter Martin Faber and a statue of the patron saint St. Joseph, who is celebrated with a great feast every year.
Palazzo Vitale-Ciarcià, Palazzo Rinzivillo-Portelli, Palazzo Carratello and Palazzo Celestri-Sant'Elia-Arezzi are the oldest and most stately palaces in Santa Croce. Palazzo Pace, a great example of early 20th-century Art Nouveau architecture, deserves a mention.
Scalambri Tower is a coastal military construction built in the 16th century and has three levels. From this fortification the soldiers controlled the sea and communicated with the other defensive towers in the area, Torre di Mezzo in Santa Croce Camerina, Torre Vigliena in Punta Braccetto and Torre Cabrera in Marina di Ragusa in case of danger. The Punta Secca tower is located in front of Montalbano's House and is another of the locations of "Il commissario Montalbano."
At the center of Punta Secca, the tall white lighthouse that bisects the waterfront stands over the square adjacent to the sea and the small harbor. The lighthouse was designed by engineer Nicolò Diliberto D'Anna. Built in 1858-59, it is 35 meters high and can be considered one of the major public works of the Bourbon government in the province of Ragusa.
In the early 1900s, on the beach where we now find Montalbano's House, there was a warehouse for processing fish. The warehouse was bought by lawyer Diquattro, who decided to turn it into the family's summer residence. When Rai decided to film the series "Il commissario Montalbano," the exceptional terrace overlooking the sea was chosen to set the commissioner's house, transforming the villa into one of the most photographed and dreamed of places in Italy. Today it is a b&b and it is not uncommon to see guests enjoying the terrace and the view.
Check out upcoming events in Santa Croce Camerina and Punta Secca: religious festivals, exhibitions, festivals, concerts, theater performances, food and wine events, and sporting events