Trapani.

The ancient Drepanum offers a charming historical centre with a lot of baronial buildings, city walls and sighting towers. The city is famous all over the world for its corals and for tuna fishing. Nowadays Trapani is the italian capital of sail.

Trapani was founded by the Elymians to serve as the port of the nearby city of Erice. The city sits on a low-lying promontory jutting out into the Mediterranean sea It was originally named Drépanon from the Greek word for “sickle”, because of the curving shape of its harbour. The city is renowned for its Easter procession, The Misteri, when the town’s guilds parade a groups of sculpted 17th century and 18th century religious statues through the streets in a procession lasting for 24 hours on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

 

Erice, ancient Elimyan religious capital

Erice is well known all over the world because of its enchanting medieval small village, its amazing landscapes, its sweets, its ceramics, as well as for the scientific research centre “Ettore Maiorana”. Once upon a time Erice was the religious capital of the mythical Elymian people.

Erice is located on top of Mount Erice, at around 750 m above sea level, overlooking the city of Trapani, the low western coast towards Marsala, the dramatic Punta del Saraceno and San Vito lo Capo to the north-east, and the Aegadian Islands on Sicily’s north-western coast, providing spectacular views. There are two castles that remain in the city: Pepoli Castle, which dates from Saracens times, and the Venus Castle, dating from the Norman period, built on top of the ancient Temple of Venus, where Venus Ericina was worshipped. According to legend, the temple was founded by Aeneas. It was well-known throughout the Mediterranean area in the ancient age, and an important cult was celebrated in it. Erice hosts important scientific meetings at the “Ettore Maiorana” center, organised by the controversial astrophysicist Antonino Zichichi.

 

Saline Natural Reserve

The first who installed the basins for salt picking were the Phoenicians about 3000 years ago. Then comes the windmills and the first half-industrial works. Now it is a magical place, which offers amazing sunsets, among the most beatiful of the world.

The reserve includes a coastline extended almost a thousand hectares, divided into Zone A, the reserve area (707 ha), and Zone B of Pre-Reserve (278.75 ha), on the border between the municipalities of  Trapani and Paceco. The environment of salt, highly salty, hosts numerous shrubs or herbaceous species which adapted themselves to the extreme environmental conditions of this area. The area also has a particular interest on the ornithological point of view, because it is a stop on the route of migration towards Africa. Considering both the nesting species wintering those who were surveyed 196 different species of birds.

 

Mothia and the Stagnone, the places of the ancient Carthage

The biggest and most important Phoenician colony in Sicily, in the middle of a charming lagoon area which also has an important naturalistic interest.

Mothia was founded at the end of VII century B.C. on the island of San Pantaleo, situated at the centre of a large lagoon, known today as ‘Stagnone’. Thanks to its location, particularly favourable to maritime trade, Mothia soon became one of the most prosperous Western Phoenician colonies. The more outstanding public works date back to the second half of VI century B.C., namely the fortifications, a submerged road which was used to link the island to the mainland, near Birgi, the cothon (or drainage basin and harbour) and the main sanctuaries, in particular the tophet, where the burnt remains of offerings and sacrifices in honour of the god Baal Hammon were collected. Over one thousand carved steles where discovered here, undoubtedly the most significant evidence of Phoenician Punic sculpture. The ancient town’s industrial area features several omega-shaped furnaces, in every way similar to the more ancient pottery furnaces used in Phoenicia.

 

Segesta, the immortal glory of Elyms

The ancient political capital of Elymian people, of undoubted  Greek/Phoenician origins, which still dominate the top of mount Barbaro. It gives to the visitors a picturesque trip to the time of Greeks, and punic wars.

It is placed in the northwestern part of Sicily in the province of Trapani and in the municipality of Calatafimi-Segesta. The unfinished hexastyle doric temple of Segesta, (late 5th century BC) is built on a hilltop just outside the ancient city of Segesta with a commanding view of the surrounding area. It is one of the best-preserved Greek temple. The theater is located in a beautiful place, in the top of a mountain, from where a wide and amazing landscape can be seen.

 

Marsala, city of wine and ancient Punic capital

The city is full of history and charm, and it is known all over the world for its liqueur-like sweet wine, and for its tradition in cultivations and wine-making. In this city Garibaldi landed with its army for the unification of Italy, and it was also the  Phoenician Capital in Sicily.

Marsala occupies the site of Lilybaeum, the principal stronghold of the Carthaginian in Sicily, founded by Himilco in 396 BC after the abandonment of Mothia. Neither Pyrrhus nor the Romans were able to reduce it by siege, but it was surrendered to the latter in 241 BC at the end of the First Punic War as a condition of the peace treaty. The modern town takes the shape of the Roman camp within the earlier city, one of the gates of which still existed in 1887. The main street (the Cassaro) perpetuates the name castrum.