Tourist Information about Trapani
Easily accessible thanks also to the “Vincenzo Florio”airport that is only 18 kmsfar from the city centre and the port in Trapani, from where in just half an hour by hydrofoil, you can reach the Egadi Islands, the archipelago with the islands ofFavignana the largest of all, Levanzo and Marettimo, the farthest one. They areinsidea marineprotected area, and this explains an area with an unspoiled natural landscape, with crystal clear seawaters and their unique colours.
10kmsfar from the port of Trapani, it is possibleto reach the San Giulianomount where you find Erice, an ancient medieval town, destination for tourists from all over the world, also thanks to the scientific culture centre “EttoreMajorana”. Walking through the narrow streets inErice, we can experienceas if we were in an enchanted place due to its fresh air, lush vegetation and a silence.
Walking down the valley of Erice, after 30 kms, we reach another wonderful reality, San Vito lo Capo, an ancient fishing village where there is the most beautiful beach in Sicily: over a kilometre of white sand that stretches over a unique blue sea, enclosed like a pearl between Mount Cofanoand the Zingaro natural reserve.
Our journey continues with its goal in Segesta. As an ancient centre on Mount Barbaro, founded by the Elimi, it was one of the main cities of the Mediterranean area, destroyed around 307 B.C. .
Its temple still survives today: one of the most perfect and majestic one passed down to us from ancient times. Fortunately, the weather has preserved its 36 columns in limestone. A littlefurther on, we find the theatre, built in the late third century B.C., a typical Greek theatre that can hold about 4000 people. In summer, you can still experiencethe magic atmosphere of the ancient Greek theatre, while enjoying performances that take place at dawn.
Trapani: the city
At the extreme ending point of the citythere is the Ligny Tower that now houses the Museum of Prehistory, and that was once one of the defensive strongholds of Trapani; to reach it you need to walk along the narrow road that is being washed by two seas. Extending from the tower, the striking Tramontana Walls curl in the north side whereas a small harbour is in the southern part where many fishermen are used to stop with their small boats with which they continue the oldest tradition in the city, fishing.
Near this fishing port there is the VillinoNasi where the Minister NunzioNasi loved to dwell; this villa, in Art Nouveau style, contains interesting antique furniture, portraits, photographs and muchmore.
The Colombaia is another symbol of the city of Trapani. It is located on a small isle, opposite the port of Trapani and its name was originally Piliade. The origins of the Colombaia are shrouded in mystery, in fact, there are several versions among which the most accredited tells it was built in 480 B.C. by inhabitants of Trapani who allied with the Carthaginians against the Greeks. In 1849, the Colombaiawas used as a prison and in 1965 was abandoned.
Going on to discover the old town, you can notice that this part, was closed to traffic, turns to be the “living room” for Trapani.Here the main roads: Corso Vittorio Emanuele (the ancient “Loggia”), ViaTorrearsaand Via Garibaldi, along which historic buildingswith a high artistic valuecome after each other. There are Cavarretta Palace (now the Town Hall of Trapani with a charming Baroque façade), the Cathedral, one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the city, PalazzoRicciodi Morana, Palazzo San Rocco, Palazzo Riccio of St. Joachim, PalazzoLucatelli and the Church of the College. Not far away, the Church of Purgatory located in the square. It holds the sacred groups of the Misterithat everyGood Fridayare carried on in procession during the religious event that is named after them. This procession attracts visitors from all overthe world. Walkingalong Via Garibaldi, and acrossa staircase, youget toChurch of San Domenico and its nearby convent. From Via Torrearsa you get to St. Augustine Church in the homonymous square, the church is notably for its rose window. The Fountain of Saturnlooks onto on this samesquare.From Corso Italia you get to the church of San Pietro. Another characteristic point of the city of Trapani is the waterfront beginning with the Fish Market Square. Other significant monuments of the city are the Triton Fountain in Piazza Vittorio Emauele and the Sanctuary of the Museum Pepoli famous for its collection of corals, once caught in the sea waters of Trapani.
The salt-pans of Trapani
Since ancient times, Trapani is linked to the industry of sea-salt; it is told that the Phoeniciansalreadyused to produce and trade sea-salt. Over the centuries, with alternating fortunes the sea-salt industry handed downto us, giving also birth toanenvironment perfectly integrated with nature, that of salt-pans. The salt-pans are a particular ecological niche area wherepisciculture is practiced and where organisms of over saltedenvironments live, apart of various species of birds. The nature of salt-pansbeautifully shows itself especially at sunset, when each tank is coloured with different clues, from deep pink to red and golden. Looking at them, as if by magic, colours and shades follow one another. The reserve area stretches from the port of Trapani towardsSalina Grande.
TheMarine Reserve of Egadi Islands offersseaviews and landscapesof outstanding beauty that blend harmoniously with historical and archaeological witnesses. Levanzo, the nearest to the coast, is a small fishing village, whose crystalline waters were the stage for to the historic battle of the Egadi. Grottadel Genovese (Genovese Cave) – with itsprehistoric graffiti and paintings – is just a pleasant walk. Favignana, the largest of the islands, is a tourist place and its economy was based on quarries and products related to tuna fishing, there the so-called “mattanza”, the tuna slaughter has been run occasionally. Do not miss to see the beautiful seawaters in “CalaAzzurra” and “CalaRossa”. Marettimo is the farthest island and the wildestone too. Impressive scenic paths go through the small old churches and forts. Thesurrounding seawaters, plenty of caves and grottoes, are a paradise for divers.
On the summit of Mount San Giuliano, looking at the wonderful panoramic view of Trapani -silently surrounded by clouds – laysErice.
If the origins of Erice are lost in the mists of time – walking through the narrow cobbled streets of the medieval town on top of Mount San Giuliano – that same fog discovers signs, symbols and legends born well before the Punic and Romans who erected here a shrine dedicated to Venus, goddess of Love and Beauty. On the ruins of the Temple, it stands today the Castle of Venus, fortified during the Norman domination, adjacent to the gardens of Baliothat is dominated by medieval towers. Visiting Erice means getting lost among thousands of views of alleys,forts, old churches (ie. the Matrice and St.Ursula churches), monasteries, craft shops (producing ceramics, sweets, carpets), pine forests and gardens; then in the breath-taking views of the Egadiislands, the Stagnone, the salt-pans and the cultivated fields of the province of Trapani.
As a Hellenized centreof Elimi, Segesta – that traces its origins back to Acestes, son of the TrojannymphEgesta-hosted Aeneas during his wanderings. Of great interest is its majestic Doric temple of the fifth century B.C., which still remains intact. On top of the mountain, there is the Greek theatre that in summer hosts important events, while offering a beautiful view of the surrounding valleys. Within the archaeological park,there are also the large Sanctuary of Mango area of the VI-V century B.C., a castle, a medieval church and the ruins of an ancient mosque. Near Segesta, the medieval town of Calatafimi – with the castle of Eufemio and rich churches – is characterized by narrow streets and alleys of clear Islamicorigin. On the hillside overlooking Pianto Romano, it was fought the battle of the Thousands.
San Vito Lo Capo
On the northwest coast of Sicily, in the sheltered bay between the Zingaro Natural Reserve to the west and Mount Cofano to the east, lies the centre of San Vito Lo Capo, a famous seaside resort, especially for its beautiful coastline that opens into a bay lined with wonderful beaches and crystal clear seawaters whose shades turn from light to very light green and to deep blue. In this place, light, aromas and flavours mingle to produce a landscape with typically Mediterranean colours and waters: low white houses covered withbougainvillea and a white sand beach overlooking a turquoise coloured sea. Core of the centre is the Mother Church, square in shape recalling its origin asa Saracen fortress.
Zingaro Natural Reserve
Founded in 1981, the Zingaro Natural Reserve is the first one established in Sicily, along the coast that leads from Scopello to San Vito Lo Capo. In the seven kilometres of coastline, nature, history and traditions meet, giving the visitor a unique setting.
The Zingaro fascinates for its rugged beauty, the colours of the sea, and attracts visitors to discover nature, flora and fauna, and the prehistoric archaeological sites, where traces of the interaction between man and nature, past and present, are more evident than ever. The boardwalk connects the entrance ofScopello to San Vito Lo Capo.
Scopello and the Faraglioni (stacks)
Scopello is an ancient fishing village told to be built on the site of the legendary city of Cetaria (whose name may derive from the abundance of tuna that inhabit the sea near the Faraglioni). The sheltered position of the stacks has made this place an important anchor point since ancient times; this can be seenfrom the large number of findingsfound on the seabed of this stretch of water. There are amphorae and other Greek, Punic, African and Spanishpottery. Just to allow visitors to admire these hidden wonders, ithas beenestablished an archaeologicaltour called “underwater museum” in which, through a rope-guide that allows you to follow the itinerary, you can admire the finds on the seabed, all properly labelled and dated. The old tuna fisheryof Scopellodates to the fifteenth century. The landscape surrounding the ancient tuna fishery is framed by lush vegetation, that smells of orange blossom and wild fennel, leading directly to a cove by the sea in front of the dominating cliffs of Faraglioni. The village dates to the seventeenth century and houses a seventeenth-century farmhouse, which was built around a small, charming groups of houses and the small church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
As attractive as Faraglioni, theGuidaloca bay has a anamphitheatre-like shapewhere the white gravel reflects sun rays, giving the sea shades and an enchanting atmosphere.
Mothia and the Stagnone
In front of the coast of Marsala, in the salt-pansarea, some small islands form a lagoon: the Natural Reserve of Stagnone Islands. Among these, the most important is for sure Mothia. Its role in history is not irrelevant, because of its strategic location in the Mediterranean, the Carthaginians wanted to set theretheir own trading post. Unfortunately,Mothia suffered the consequences of the struggle between Greeks and Carthaginians for dominion over Sicily. When Mothiawas attacked and destroyed by Dionysius of Syracuse, its inhabitants moved to the opposite promontory, where arose what we know today asMarsala. The heritage of its civilization and its flourishing economic activities have been brought to light by a long series of archaeological excavations, especially thanks to the work of Joseph Whitaker, who previously bought the island. His home hosts the eponymous museum that collects the finds unearthed during several excavations.
Selinunte, the Greek city founded in the second half of the seventh century B.C., is one of the richest and most fascinating archaeological parks in the world, and the largest in Europe. It lays on a high plateau about 30 meters above sea level, and it is named after Selinon, wild parsley. The remains of the Acropolis with the high defensive walls, the majestic columns of the temple, the imposing ruins of the temples, offer visitors a unique charm, in a mix of Sicilian and Greek culture, myth and nature, so to be plungedin the history of a city that has experienced moments of great development in the fifth century B.C. Neraby, there is also the beautiful beach of Marinella di Selinunte.