The Province of Trapani
Most people may associate the Trapani region with the Birgi airport, where you often arrive when flying low-cost airlines before shipping off to other destinations in Sicily. But if you take time to explore this province, you will be greatly rewarded with staggering natural experiences and antiques, as well as gastronomic specialties and white sandy beaches. The Trapani Province is a miniature-scale Sicily.
The town of Trapani is old and dense, filled with restaurants serving the local specialties like freshly caught sea bass or couscous with sardines. For dessert, they serve jasmine flavored ice cream, something you will not find anywhere else.
The Trapani Province is the westernmost part of Sicily, with the poorer lowland of Corleone neighboring to the east, and has historically been regarded as rich and prosperous. Some of the island’s top wines are grown here, such as the dry white Alcamo wine and the characteristic strong wines of Marsala. As a result of this, the landscape of the province is dominated by a sea of never-ending vineyards. There are good opportunities for the bold and devoted wine lover to realize the dream of starting and operating their own vineyard here. However, if you are more inclined to just relax under the sun, there are affordable beach houses within the province – as well as more exclusive beach areas, such as Scopello and San Vito Lo Capo.
Within sight from the town of Trapani is the small town of Erice, located on top of the mountain with the same name. It has been preserved in its entirety since the 13th century, and it forms a living museum where you can stroll around the winding narrow alleys and give thought to the fertility goddesses that this place was dedicated to in prehistoric times. In the place of the old temple of Venus, the people of the classical era allowed the Normans to build a castle dedicated to the same goddess. So if you want to meet love, Erice might just be the place to visit. There is also a cable car that runs from the outskirts of Trapani to the top of Erice. It runs most of the year, except the period January 15 to March 15. Needless to say, the views from the town are absolutely stunning.
If you follow Strada Statale 113 from Trapani towards Palermo (it stretches all the way to Messina in the east), you will come across the town of Segesta. The old Greek (Elymian to be precise) settlement houses both an amphitheater and a grandiose temple in the Dorian style from the middle of the millennium B.C.
The Trapani province is filled with sandy beaches, ranging from Marsala in the west to Castellammare del Golfo in the east, and the main town of Trapani is no exception. If you want to experience something extra on a bathing route, a boat trip from Castellammare is recommended (about 20€ per person during high season with drinks and a sandwich included) along the dramatic coast of Lo Zingaro nature reserve, with caves, small inaccessible beaches and water so clear you can see the bottom 10 meters down. The captain usually docks outside the small village of Scopello, which has a wide range of fish restaurants, before heading on to the stunning seaside resort of San Vito lo Capo at the far end of Sicily’s northwestern cape. Here they celebrate the Moorish heritage of the region with a giant couscous festival in September.
The Trapani province also includes the five Aegadian islands just off the Northwestern coast of Sicily. There are car and passenger ferries that depart from Trapani several times a day.