Trapani & Marsala
Questa pagina contiene una breve introduzione a questa grande città. Cerca di descrivere, alle tante persone che vengono da tutto il mondo, quello che proveranno nel visitare questo posto unico. Che viviate qui o che abbiate delle connessioni con Matera, NDN vuole conoscere notizie interessanti ed eventi che si stanno svolgendo in città.
Per le associazioni e le aziende vi è anche la possibilità fare pubblicità con nuove destinazioni di rete, ‘promuovere se stessi a livello internazionale’ e non solo a livello locale. Non importa in che modo desiderate mettervi in gioco, contattateci al più presto. Non vediamo l’ora di ascoltarvi!”
The extremely interesting region of Trapani and Marsala is located in the western part of Sicily. They are located next to each other in distance, but have totally different reasons for why people visit them.
Trapani was foundered by the Elymians, in order to serve the ancient port of Erice and as a gateway to the Egadi Islands. Its original Greek name comes from the word for a sickle, because of the curved shape of its harbour. One of the myths about this shape comes from when Demeter, a Greek goddess, dropped her sickle to earth when searching for her lost daughter? Another, is when Saturn butchered his father Uranus, with a sickle, which he then dropped into the sea, forming this shape. There is a statue of Saturn in a piazza in the city centre, due to this story.
The main industry in the city is based around the harbour and the surrounding waters. It is a very busy fishing port and many of the local fishermen use the traditional ‘mattanza’ technique to catch the fish.
Although fishing is the main form of employment in the area, there is also collecting and exporting of coral, salt and marble.
Due to its location, it is a very important port, with Ferry routes to Sardina, Pantelleria, Tunisia and the nearby Egadi Islands. Another important transport link is the Trapani-Birgi Airport which is situated on the edge of the city.
There are several interesting places to visit when in the city, the most popular are; The Basilica Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Annunziata, which is home to the statue to the Madonna of Trapani. The church of Saint Agostino, with it’s beautiful rose-window. Trapani Cathedral, which was built in 1421 and contains ‘the annunciation’. There is also the Triton’s Fountain, Casetello di Terra and Ligny Tower.
Easter is an important religious period in the area and the most spectacular event during this time is the Procession of the Mysteries of Trapani, which is one of the oldest continuously celebrated events in Sicily.
Erice is located within the commune of Trapani and is located at the top of the mountain it is named after. It standing 750 meters above sea level, thus has amazing views of not only Trapani, but the Aegadian Islands and north west coast of Sicily. It is an ancient town that was named by the Greeks, but who never actually colonised it. This mountain range has had many names and one of the longest lasting was between 1167 and 1934, after the Norman Conquest, when it was named Monte San Giuliano.
One of its main features are the ancient Elymian and Phoenician walls, plus a Saracen and Norman Castle, the latter being built on top of the Temple of Venus. The Temple was allegedly founded by Aeneas and was famous for the legend of animals voluntarily walking all the way to the top of the mountain and right up to the alter to be sacrifice. This historical town is so popular that there is a cable car to it, which runs from Trapani several times a day.
Another popular destination in this region is the Stagnone Lagoon and Saline Salt Flats. The ‘flats’ do not only provide quality ‘salt’ which is used locally, but exported too, so provides important income and jobs to the region. It also has health benefits, especially during May and September every year, as the temperatures are high, the sunshine is at a daily high and the soothing powers of the warm salty water help with skin problems, stress and arthritis etc.
It is a tourist attraction too, as visitors can go on a boat trip around the lagoon and view the ‘flats’ and windmill. They can also help harvest the salt, bathe in waters and even take part in tastings.
An extremely interesting and historically significant island in the lagoon is Mozia, which was the first Phoenician Colony in Sicily. The Island has many archaeological sites and buildings including; Necropolis, Sanctuary, Tower, Causeway, Guardhouse and Fortifications. It also has the Museum, which was foundered by the Whitaker Family, who come from English decent. This is a very interesting place to visit and records the history of the region, but also has many artefacts, including ‘The Youth of Mozia’ statue. It also has walks, seating and viewing areas, plus a café that sells local food and drink, including the world-famous Marsala wine.
Marsala, home of the wine of that name, is a nearby town and is also known for being where the famous and heroic soldier Giuseppie Garibaldi landed with his troops and went on to liberate Sicily in the 1860’s. The town is built on the ancient Carthaginian City of Lilybaion, which means ‘the town that looks at Libya’. There are many religious buildings of interest, including; Marsala Cathedral, Churches of Purgatorio, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Matthew, Addolorata and the convent of Carmine. There are also some great pieces of architecture, such as; Town Hall (Spanish Quarters), Fici Palace, VII April Palace, Communal Theatre, Cine Teatro Impero, Castle of Marsala, Ancient Gates and the Agricultural Technical Institute (which includes a wine school).
Marsala Wine is known around the world and the grapes to make it have been grown in the region since ancient times. The development of the brand started at the end of the 18th century headed by English merchants who settled in the region. This important financial input has helped to improve the whole infrastructure of the region, especially the funding of the harbour of Margitello, which has been and still is extremely important to the local economy.
A great way to sample Marsala wine and in fact local food would too, is to visit Maltese Azienda Agrcola, which can be simply described as an ‘Agricultural Haven’. It is more than a business, as its aim is to show the world how the produce in this region has been and still is so important to the life-style and culture of the whole of Sicily. It does not only produce the vegetables, grapes, fruits, olives, bread, herbs, etc, but also tends to the animals that produce the meat, milk, eggs, cheese, etc. Visitors can not only get involved in all processes, but can learn how to cook the food too. Eating and drinking at this venue is a sheer delight, as the family who run it are not only friendly and professional, but have a genuine love for the land, the food and drink they produce and for their guests.
For real Sicilian Confectionary MGM Dolciaria is the company to get them from. Anna and Filippa Milazzo run a 50 year old business that provides an amazing range of locally made products; nought, biscuits, snacks, cakes and much more.
The region that includes Trapani and Marsala is not only historically significant, but culturally important too. There are many factors and places in this region that have affected the growth and culture of the whole of Sicily. Therefore, a visit to this region is highly recommended, as part of any tour of this amazing country.
Other destinations in Sicily to consider including in a tour of this stunningly interesting country is Castellana Sicula, Mezzojuso and Palermo (try staying at Casa Mosaico).
A recommendation is to use a tour company that wants to know you and your needs, so they can show you the country they love, in a way you would want for ‘yourself’. Therefore, we recommend visitors to us Y-ourself, a travel/tour company who specialise in just that!