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The best way to get to know Trapani is looking at the ties this town has always had with the sea. Nowadays fishing provides a means of support, but in the past the Mediterranean was a source of wealth because of the coral industry.
Over the centuries the salt-pans and the salt industry have created a unique environment of great cultural, economic relevance in a region where the land merges into the sea. This route is called "La Via del Sale" (The Salt Road) and is remarkable for its numerous mills, five of which have recently been renovated, for the heaps of salt covered with terracotta tiles and for the Museum of Salt at Nubia, not far from Paceco. This area is part of two natural reserves, the "Saline di Trapani e Paceco" and "The Stagnone di Marsala".
In the shallow and warm waters of the Stagnone it's easy to sight a great variety of water birds, such as wild ducks and herons. In spring a multidude of glowing flowers decorate the surfacing lang like a series of multicoloured festoons.

 


Erice on the lon and mountain of western Sicily (751m.) is a magnificent medieval town, whitch has remained intact until today.
It is a singular synthesis of myth and history, art and culture, landscape and environment, fantasy and reality.
Its origins are very old, it would seem to have been founded by the mythical Erice, the son of Venus and Butex, who became king of Elyms, an ancient mountain people who settled the nearby Segesta.
Erice is considered the main tourist resort of the area including Trapani, the Aegadin Islands, Segesta, San Vito, Mothia, Marsala and Selinunte. Amoung the monuments of historical interest are Venus' Castle, Pepoli Caste, the Tower of the Balio, the beautiful old churches, amoung which the Madrice (13th C).

 

 

Selinus is derived from the Greek name for the sweet-smelling herb they called Selinon: wild celery (heleioselinon - Apium graveolens) as well as mountain parsley (Oreoselinon - Petroselinum from which the English term is corrupted). Funnily enough, this herb that the ancients held in such high esteem was dedicated to Persephone, it was widely used to crown victors at the Isthmian games and to make wreaths for adorning the tombs of the dead. It grew in profusion in this part of Sicily and appears on the first coins minted by the town.
The ruins are scattered over an almost deserted area having been completely abandoned since its downfall: the ruined temples continue to point their impressive great columns to the sky, while other buildings, reduced to heaps of rubble, probably by an earthquake, inspire a tragic air of utter desolation. The fine metopes which once adorned several of the temple friezes are displayed in the archeological museum in Palermo.
There are three main areas: the first, spread across the hill on the eastern side, contains three large temples; one having been re-erected in 1957. The second, on the hill to the west and surrounded by walls, comprises the acropolis, south of the actual town. The third, lying west of the acropolis, beyond the River Modione, also consisted of a sacred precinct complete with temples and sanctuaries. In the absence of any sure knowledge as to which gods the temples were dedicated, scholars have identified them with letters of the alphabet.



Segesta occupies a splendid position, among gently sloping hills of yellow-ochre and ruddy brown that, at times, are thrown into marked contrast by patches of variegated greens around the excavated areas. All the while, the timeless landscape is presided over by the majestic silhouette of the Doric temple. Ancient Segesta was probably founded by the Elimi; under Greek sponsorship, it soon ranked, like Erice (Eryx) among the leading towns of the Mediterranean basin.
The Temple of Segesta, one of the most perfectly preserved monuments to survive from Antiquity, stands in majestic solitude on a hill surrounded by a deep valley, framed by Monte Bernardo and Monte Barbaro where the theatre is situated.



Between San Vito Lo Capo and Castellammare del Golfo the hillsides, gently sloping to the sea in a myriad of little coves, herald the beginning of a natural reserve, the Riserva naturale orientata dello Zingaro.
Narrow paths, specially laid out on the hills, making it possible to sight one of the most intact Mediterranean ecosystems.
This area is the nesting territory for dozen of avian species: peregrine falcons, Bonelli’s eagles, buzzards, kestrels, kites and other birds included in the red list of endangered species. The reserve is a real oasis of biodiversity, also rich in many rare native plants like the dwarf palm, the symbol of Zingaro, which spontaneoulsly grows in every recess and declivity.
In the middle of the reserve the prehistoric cave of Uzzo attests to the first human settlements in this area.

 


 

The promontory of San Vito Lo Capo shared its name with the beach and the fishing village which developed around an old Saracen fortress, later turned into a shrine dedicated to San Vito. Tourism is the chief actvity of this region. The climate, the beach, the sea, the lanes full of flowers, the intense scents and the breathtaking views provide the visitor with unforgettable memories.

 


The three islands that form a mini-archipelago off Trapani are called Favignana, Levanzo and Marettimo; they count some 4,600 inhabitants. All three are blessed with lovely coastlines immersed in glorious crystal-clear water. The islands which are known to have been inhabited since prehistoric times (indeed, it is thought that Levanzo and Favignana formed part of the main island of Sicily in the Palaeolithic times), witnessed a very important event in Antiquity: for it was in these waters that the treaty sealing an end to the First Punic War (241 BC) was signed, whereby Carthage assigned Sicily to the Roman Empire.



Favignana:
The main town of the island, indeed of the archipelago, is built around a small port that nestles in a large bay. The little town centres around two piazzas: Piazza Europa and Piazza Madrice which are linked by the main street, where the evening "constitution" or passeggiata (stroll) is enacted each evening. On the northeastern edge of town nestles the district of San Nicola (behind the cemetery) which preserves vestiges of the past: there is no access to this area, however, as long as it remains private property.
There are two main beaches: a small sandy bay south of the town in Cala Azzurra, and, still in the southern part but a little west of this, lies the broad beach called the Lido Burrone. For those without their own means of transport, there is an hourly bus service. The rocky bays are more exciting and thrilling, notably Cala Rossa and Cala del Bue Marino nearby. What makes these spots especially unusual is the fact that they were once tufa quarries; deep in the grottoes where the roof has not fallen in, tunnel a network of long dark and mysterious passages that can be explored by torchlight.
The other half of the island harbours such lovely bays as the Cala Rotonda, Cala Grande and Punta Ferro, which doubles as a popular area for diving.
The tiny Levanzo (pronounced with an emphasis on the first syllable) has a surface area of 6 sqm, and is bristled with hills. he northern part of the island consists of a succession of sheer drops, rocky outcrops and secluded little creeks. The only hamlet on Levanzo overlooks a bay of the clearest water on the south side of the island. From here, a well-kept path snakes its way to the bays that open out along the southwestern coast, each tightly embracing its very own miniature pebbled beach, as far as the Faraglione (a large rock).
A steep rocky mountain with great limestone cliffs plunging down into the sea define this, the most remote island of the Egadi group. Its doors open only for the more curious visitors arriving at its tiny harbour knowing that there are no hotels there. The only accommodation available is that offered by local fishermen and that consists of rented rooms.
At the foot of the mountain, nestles the hamlet of Marettimo, a compact collection of square white houses and terraces collected together around the miniature harbour.


Pantelleria is black for its lava stone and obdisian and yet green for its rich vegetation. The incredible woods at the top of Montagna Grande (800 metres) offer: pines, oaks and forest trees over six metres tall. The Mediterranean bush, present alla over the island, alternates wild olives, blueuberriees, rosemary, and Indian figs. The great variety of flowers, in spring and fall, clothes the island with the most vivid and bright colours.
It is hard to think of such a surprising land offering sunbunt coasts and an African climate and, not far off, fresh woods, an alpine landscape, and mountain paths penetrating into the depths of trees and plants. Here, in the proper season, you can even enjoy yourself gathering the different kinds of mushroom.
Pantelleria, the blue island, with a beautiful transparent sea, that catches all the nuances and gradation of blue: from the most pale to the most deep. Wherever you are, on the jagged rocky shores , low, steep or high , outlined by strems of lava which have solidified, you may observe the extraordinary contrast of colours: blue, black, green white.

 


In the Annunziata Santuari you can find a beautiful 14th-century marble statue of the Madonna of Trapani and next to this building stand the collection of very fine coral works, dispayeed at the Pepoli Museum, inside the old Carmelite monastery.

 

 


This tiny island in the middle of a lagoon is so small as not to arouse the least suspicion that it might have played any role in the history of its larger neighbour Sicily. Yet, San Pantaleo - its modern name, was chosen by the Phoenicians as a suitable site for a vital and later prosperous colony. Its strategic position, surrounded by the shallow waters of the Stagnone Lagoon (see Saline dello STAGNONE) and naturally protected by Isola Longa on the seaward side, meant that it was coveted as a strategic trade-post as much by the Carthaginian as by the Syracusan antagonists. In the end, this was to be its undoing: besieged by the Syracusan forces, Motya was completely destroyed and left to abandon until it was rediscovered at the end of the 19C.