Discovering Trapani, the magical city of salt and wind
Called City of Salt and Wind, Trapani is located in the furthest tip of Western Sicily.
It offers you spectacular shining and natural panorama down the Mediterranean Sea, over than folkloristic story and typical food & wine.
The mythology says that the sickle fallen from Cerere’s or Saturno’s hands, became land and was settled down. By the shape, it was called Drepanon, in Greek “Sickle” .
Trapani is the most ancient port of the Mediterranean Sea, melting pot of Greek-Byzantine and Arab- Norman culture.
In Eneide, Virgilio says that Anchise, Enea’s father died in Drepanum, after Didone run away. The Troian hero came back to celebrate his father’s death with Olympic games.
In old Age, West Sicily was populated by Elimi, and Eryx, now Erice, was the most important part of the city. The small village of Trapani, was probably divided into small islands, with swampy soil, and connected by river. Trapani became soon the most important emporium, thanks to the position in the centre of Mediterranean Sea.
Roman, Byzantine, Ostrogoth, Greek, and Norman dominations left a part of their Culture. That’s why there are Arabic, Roman, and Greek buildings. It’s interesting to notice that at every domination time Trapani people have reacted bravely, and have received many medals to the military value.
The flag has five towers, and three columns, one broken on the sea. You can notice that the sea printed, is rough, because of the wind that is a characteristic in Trapani.
Ligny Tower was built in 1671 thanks to the General Claude Lemoral de Ligne, General Army of Reign of two Sicilies, in Spain domination. It is a military tower to control the pirates. During the Second War was used for air attack. Now it is a Museum with an archeological Sail Hall.
The city center has the most important churches, mostly Catholic Churches.
- Saint Peter’s Church, because Peter himself has spoken from that place. It was built in 1076, and it is the oldest church in Trapani. There is a painting of Christus calling Saint Andrew by Carreca. Inside there is the biggest Organo, still working now. It was made between 1836-1847 by Francesco La Grassa. It has seven tape on three console, and eighty buttons starting five hundred canes. It reproduces the sound of many instruments, also the human voice. It is the only one so big that still works. Nowadays it’s possible to hear the concert once in a year, in December. Three players are required to play that Organo.
- Purgatory’ Souls Church. It lodges the “Sacri Gruppi dei Misteri”, twenty statues that take part in the “Processione dei Misteri” at Easter time. During the Friday and Saturday before Easter twenty groups go around the city to contemplate the Passion of Jesus Christ. Each group has the procession of people, wearing clothes of ancient period, the band that plays a funeral march, at the end the big statue representing a scene of the Passion. It takes play along 1 day and 1 night no-stop, and represent the most important event in Trapani. The sculptures are made of wood, canvas and glue.
- Saint Augustin Church, built in 1101 as Cavalier templar’s chapel, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. When Templars had been out, in 1312, the building was given to an augustinian Father that expanded it with gothic skill. It was closed for time to time, and damaged during the Second War, but fortunately the front door is nowadays original.
The big Rosette window is made by local artisans, and the stone comes from Pietretagliate, a small town close to Trapani. It focuses on the lamb, in the center: goal of Christianity. The twelve columns symbolize the month. Each column has a symbol on the top, that twelve symbols are the monotheistic religion Arabic and Jewish. All into the vesica piscis that remind you to the Paradise.
- Palazzo Cavarretta has a monumental Baroque face. It used to be the Senatory. Today it is used for City Council. The two watches mark, respectively, one the hour, and the other one the month.
- Casina delle Palme is an oasis building in Liberty architecture, built in 1922, with a garden inside. Is a playing area, small theatre for people.
- The small streets show many ancient Baroque buildings, private houses of important families of Trapani: Palazzo D'Alì, built nel 1904, Municipal place, in Vittorio Veneto Place. Palazzo Annibale Fardella, XVIII sec, Garibaldi street, where the Cultural heritage Palazzo Alessandro Ferro, in Vittorio Emanuele street, characteristic is the big watch in the middle of the building, and monuments that show important local family Ferros people. Palazzo Berardo Ferro, in Vittorio Emanuele street, in XVIII sec. Palazzo Malato, neoclassical building, in Torrearsa street.
Don’t forget to have breakfast at Colicchia’s, the best typical granita siciliana. Colicchia opens at 9 o’clock, and it’s time to refresh with the typical lemon slush and a brioche, in Via delle Arti, 6/8.
During the morning in city center, if you are hungry try the famous tavola calda at Ristorantino Angelino, traditional and popular restaurant and street food, such as arancini, pizzette, panelle, pasta and seafood, fresh and appetizing. Via Amm. Staiti, 87 in front of the boarding to Egadi Island
And for brave people try the Cannolo siciliano to the Pasticceria Aleci, the big cannolo Siciliano, Via Biscottai, 5 o P.zza Scarlatti, 3
In many bars, restaurants, places, and bakeries you can find fresh, typical food and Sicilian specialties.
Only recommendations: the ricotta cheese to be avoided in July and August – the weather is too hot; and don’t forget to bring water with you. It’s a long trip and it may get extremely hot, especially when the scirocco wind blows from Africa.
So make sure you stay hydrated.
Saline of Trapani