Visiting Trapani, the city of salt and sail
The ancient “Drepanon” was once a seaport for the Elyms living in Erice, and then occupied by the Carthaginians; nowadays, Trapani not only is the city of salt and sail, but also the city between two seas: the strip of land where it lays will let you watch the enchanting show of the Tyrrhenian and the Mediterranean sea meeting right in front of you, with the three wonderful Aegadian Islands just a hour of boat away. As it lies in the middle of the two seas, the city is quite windy: a lot of sailing events take place here during the year.
Let’s start with a legend. Greek mythology tells the story about Saturn (god of the city) or maybe Ceres (goddess of agriculture and fertility) letting a sickle fall into the sea: the sickle eventually turned into the patch of ground where Trapani was later built. The city was born as a seafaring village, but became an important commercial port right after the Phoenicians founded Carthage; it was dominated by the Romans and the Arabs, and during the Middle Ages its port was among the most important ones in the whole Mediterranean.
What to see in Trapani? … During your holiday in Scopello or Castellammare del Golfo villas, there are some places you really cannot miss: along with the Zingaro Reserve and the town of Erice, Trapani is of course one of them. This pleasant city really offers a lot to tourists, as any other city in Sicily does: from art and culture to fun and great food. A wide number of monuments can be observed – such as “Palazzo Riccio di S. Gioacchino”, a clear evidence of the Spanish domination; the “Chiesa e Collegio dei Gesuiti” and “Palazzo Cavarretta”, marvelous examples of Sicilian baroque; the Church of Sant’Agostino built in the 14th Century and the “Santuario dell’Annunziata”; also, the Pepoli National Museum shows a wide collection of archeological finds, sculptures and paintings.
Your Trapani tour must absolutely include a visit to the salt pans of course, and if your holiday in Scopello takes place during the Easter period you really should not miss the “Processione dei Misteri”, a religious procession that every year, during Good Friday, gathers thousands of believers and tourists, impressed by the longest and most sensational religious event in Italy. The members of the different brotherhoods of Trapani organize a long walk through the main streets and carry twenty huge floats of wood and canvas sculptures (called “Misteri”) depicting scenes from the Passion.
The typical cuisine is worth a try as well: you may want to taste delicious, fresh tuna, as well as one of the most famous typical dishes of the area – the fish couscous, an excellent meal that you will find in any restaurant. Don’t forget to taste the unforgettable Trapanese pesto made with tomatoes, basil, garlic and almonds and used as seasoning for the typical “busiate” pasta: we can assure you, you’ll want to learn the recipe to impress your friends when you’re back home!