Places to visit in Trapani
Trapani Airport is a gateway to the wonderful western side of Sicily, Italy, and is located approximately 15km from the city of Trapani, and 16km from Marsala. It is also only 100km from Palermo, the capital city of Sicily. Trapani Airport is also known as the Birgi Airport, or as the Vicenzo Florio Airport, and has the official code of TPS. Within the city of Trapani, attractions for tourists include a large number of important historical buildings, museums and religious buildings, while the beaches nearby provide an endless source of entertainment in the summer. Nearby, in the towns of Erice and Marsala there are also many wonderful attractions, and the beaches of San Vito Lo Capo are described as the most beautiful in Italy. The Egadi Islands are a short ferry trip away as well.
Trapani, a town surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, is just a short bus trip from the airport, and it’s port has been a significant part of the town since it’s existence. The port of Trapani is located in the historic centre of the town, and from here plenty of ferries are available to a wide variety of destinations, including the nearby Egadi Islands. The port is wonderful place to start exploring Trapani, and is also popular for boat-watching. Just a few steps away from the port is the old town area, filled with winding mazes of streets which can be easily navigated on foot. Many Italian cities still have their ancient walls of protection, or at least parts of them, but unfortunately few traces remain of ancient Trapani. However, there are still many lovely historical buildings and monuments around just about every corner.
The odd building of the Casina delle Palme, featuring a gentle Art Nouveau style, is where many performances are held, especially during the summer. It has a lovely garden with palm trees, and a small stage. From here tourists can move on to the Via Torrearsa, which is considered as one of Trapani’s central streets, with a large number of historical sights. Some places of interest here include the Fountain of Saturn, the Church of St. Augustine dating back to the 14th century, and the Palazzo Cavarretta, a building used for city council meetings. The church has a lovely rose window, and is the location of the Diocesan Museum. Further down Via Torrearsa, visitors will have a view over the city beach, known as the Lido San Giuliano Beach. This is Trapani’s main beach, and it is just a kilometre from the city centre. It is well equipped with facilities, including bars, changing rooms, sun-loungers and umbrellas, and there is a lifeguard service. The second main beach area of Trapani are the Marausa Lido Beaches, about 9km south of the city centre. There are many holiday homes along these beaches, as well as villas and apartments, and many restaurants, bars and supermarkets. There are 2.5km of sandy beaches which can be used for free, but there are also small sections which are pay-to-use beaches, and they provide various facilities, including children’s play areas.
Another noteworthy street in Trapani is the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, which was once known as the Rua Grande. It features rich Baroque facades, for example, the Jesuit’s Church and Convent and the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Additional religious buildings in Trapani include the Madonna di Trapani (Basilica-Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Annunziata, the Church of Santa Maria di Gesù and the Cathedral, built in 1421. At the end of Corsa Vittorio Emanuele lies a neighbourhood which is mostly inhabited by families of fishermen and sailors.
Museum Trapani attractions include the Museo di Preistoria e del Mare, or the Museum of Prehistory and the Sea, and the Museo del Sale. The first is found inside the 17th century Tower of Ligny, or the Torre di Ligny, and is home to a large number of interesting collections. In one section, visitors will find prehistoric artefacts from the Trapani area, and in another section, there are many objects which were recovered from the seabed, for example, ornaments of ancient Greek and Roman sailors and anchors. There is also quite an impressive helmet shell, from the first Punic War which took place in 241 BC. Trapani is also well known for it’s Easter processions when the 18th century papier-mache statues (housed in the Palazzo della Giudecca or the Church of Purgatory) are carried on Good Friday.
Trapani is a good base from where to take day outings, and there are many spectacular areas well worth a visit in the nearby vicinity. North of Trapani are the magnificent beaches of San Vito Lo Capo, and the small town of Erice. San Vito Lo Capo has only about 4,000 residents, but tens of thousands of visitors every year. Besides it’s wonderful beaches that were voted as the best in Italy in 2011, there is the Sea Museum and the fortress-church to be seen. Just west of San Vito is also the beautiful Santa Margherita Bay, with small pebble coves. A new cable car service takes visitors from Trapani to Erice, where the Norman Castle is one of the most popular attractions. It is also known as the Castle of Venus, and was built on the cliff of the ‘thèmenos’ in the 17th century.
From the port of Trapani, regular ferries are available to the Egadi Islands, which include Favignana (the largest), Marettimo and Levanzo. They are often referred to as three pearls in the sea, and are famous for a number of attractions, besides their beaches lined with crystal-clear waters. Levanzo is the smallest of the three islands, and is where the cave Grotta del Genovese can be found. The cave is on the north-west coast, and features some of Europe’s earliest paintings and carvings, which date back five or six thousand years ago.
South of Trapani, is the old farming town of Paceco, and where the nearby salt pans nature reserve lies. It is characterized by the surrounding salt pans landscape, a man-made wetland which is one of the oldest in Europe. From the central square of the town you can see the port area of Trapani, and nearby you can visit a number of the town’s most significant church buildings. Further south is the larger town of Marsala, known for the nearby Nature Reserve of the Stagnone and the ruins of the ancient city of Lilybaeum. It also features windmills, vineyards and saltpans.
Further details regarding Trapani attractions, and the attractions of the nearby towns, can be obtained from the tourist information desk in the terminal building of Trapani Airport.