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Trapani, beautiful historic centre and gateway to the Egadi Islands

TOWNS AND CITIES IN SICILY

Villas in Sicily near Trapani >>

Trapani, Sicily | thinkSicilyMost famous in recent times for having hosted the 8th and 9th Acts of the Louis Vuitton Cup, part of the Americas Cup, Trapani boasts a long history which, according to myth and legend, all began when something fell off the back of a lorry! That, of course is not quite true, but it does appear that a giant scythe fell off the back of Demeter’s chariot as she roamed around Sicily in search of Persephone. The scythe formed a tongue of land on which “Drepanon” (scythe in ancient Greek) was built.

While it would be lovely to believe such stories, the rather more mundane reality is that Trapani was founded by the Elymians, who used it as an agricultural centre for their hill-top fortress town of Eryx (modern-day Erice). When the Phoenicians took over, Trapani was turned into an important port. During the First Punic War the very same Phoenicians scored a famous victory over the Romans there in a famous naval battle.

The port and the coast were soon to become even more important as tuna fishing and salt production became the principle activities of Trapani and its surrounding areas. Tuna fishing plants soon sprung up all over the area and many of these evocative, generally crumbling structures can still be seen in San Giuliano, San Cusumano, Isola di Formica, Favignana, Bonagia, San Vito Lo Cap and Scopello. The mattanza (culling) of tuna still takes place off the Egadi Islands and has become something of a tourist event for those brave enough to witness a literally wine-dark sea.

The excellent quality of the salt produced in the salt pans was internationally renowned and was exported, amongst other places, to Norway where it was used to cure cod.

Today, Trapani’s old town centre, much of which has recently been restored, is well worth a visit and is an essential point of departure for the magnificent Egadi Islands, just a few miles off its coast.

Nearby is the perfect beach of San Vito Lo Capo, the wine town of Marsala with its impressively restored old town centre and the Temple and Amphitheatre at Segesta. With its newly opened international airport and direct to Dublin, Paris, London Luton, Brussels, Frankfurt and Barcelona (amongst others), Trapani is now well and truly on the tourist map!

Villas in Sicily near Trapani >>

Good Thinking



While in Trapani, why not nip up to Erice? There is a cable car ("funivia") which will get you up there in style!

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