Sicily’s famed cliffs defaced by vandals

The defaced Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks) in Realmonte, Italy, 08 January 2022
The red can clearly be seen on the white cliffs

An investigation has been launched after Sicily’s normally white Scala dei Turchi cliffs were stained red.

The marl cliffs, which attract thousands of tourists every year, were defaced sometime overnight on Friday.

Sicily’s President Nello Musumeci has condemned the “cowardly gesture”.

The Scala dei Turchi, said to have once been a hiding place of pirates, are one of the island’s most loved tourist attractions, in part thanks to the Inspector Montalbano books.

The staircase-shaped cliffs near the southern town of Realmonte appear regularly as a backdrop in the popular series about the Sicilian detective.

A handout photo made available by Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Agrigento shows technicians and volunteers working to remove red stains from the defaced Scala dei Turchi (Stair of the Turks) in Realmonte, Italy
Volunteers and technicians are helping clean the rock

Luckily, it appears the red stains – created with a mix of red plaster dust and water – can be removed, with volunteers helping to cleanup.

The police, meanwhile, are checking CCTV and the island’s stores to trace anyone who has recently bought red plaster in the hopes of catching the culprit.

This is not the only time the cliffs have hit the headlines in recent years. In 2020, Italian prosecutors took control of the area, saying it was being badly managed.

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