Things To Do In Trapani
Trapani is a city of diversity which includes so many things to do, observe, and believe. Located on the western coast of Sicily, it is one of the beautiful tourist destinations in the country. Trapani is located on the Castellammare Gulf, and recognized as the sixth largest port and historic place in Italy. Trapani is basically an ancient city and people from all over the globe are attracted towards its striking landscape and religiosity. It is also noted for the wonderful nature, iconic palaces, historic monuments and century old basilicas. Trapani is significantly famous and important in all of Sicily because it is the westernmost point of Italy. From the Torre de Ligny, it is a city strategically placed between two oceans, one side is the Tyrrhenian Sea and the other half is the Mediterranean Sea.
When To Go:
Noted for its geographical location, the city of Trapani maintains a real good temperature all year round with moderate amount of rainfall and pleasant winter atmosphere. The coastal location of Trapani maintains a low temperature in the summers as well. The early months of January to March sticks around with the temperatures of 12 degree Celsius. In the middle half of the year, the temperature from April to August is 21 degree Celsius. In the later half, the temperature from October to December is around 15 degree Celsius.
The best time to observe this coastal city is when festivals and the favorable weather months are agreeable. From the month of April to the mid week of August, there are numerous celebrations taking place. Starting off with the Pesto Celebration and counting along with the Mediterranean Wine Festival, these months are really authentic and the ideal time to explore the city.
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Apart from the festivals, the city is noted for the Easter week celebrations. This majestic celebration includes the observance of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Another important Christian celebration is Christmas day. This is the best time to hit the streets and go around the city center and piazzas, because of the colorful decorations and festive atmosphere in the city.
Here are the best things to do in the city of Trapani:
Trapani – Erice
From Erice, you can have a beautiful view of Trapani with the salt plains on one side and San Vito Lo Capo on the other side. If you visit at sunset, the view is completely breathtaking and certainly a must-see if you're in the neighborhood. The tourist spots of Erice are accessible via cable car and once upstairs you will find an enchanting village with charming streets to stroll in. You will love the unique atmosphere and the chance to observe the livelihood of the people in this remote village along the mountains of Trapani. Churches, ancient buildings, souvenir shops- it's all there, including a very large castle which offers panoramic views of the city and the two oceans. There are also nice places to eat and have a family picnic. Erice is quite touristy and donation money is asked when visiting churches and old attractions, but it is not compulsory.
Erice is quite high at about 724 meters, so it is advisable to take the cable car ride than taking the bus or driving a car. In addition, you get to admire the stunning views of the sea, Trapani and the famous salt lakes. Erice is a historical old town where many Pasticceria's make and sell the famous "Dolce" or candy. Smart travel tip: Go to Maria Grammatico, which is the best in dolce making! They also have delicious handmade sweet biscuits filled with anything and everything. If you are afraid of heights or cable car ride and prefer to ride the bus, take bus numbers 21 and 23 from the city center to reach this upper Old Town of Trapani.
Chiesa del Purgatorio (Church of Purgatory)
The Chiesa del Purgatorio or the Church of Purgatory is a small church in the heart of Trapani, which has the honor of hosting groups of mysteries and processions during the Holy Week. The mysteries are the wooden statues covered with cloth and glue that dates back to the Spanish domination of Sicily. On Good Friday of the Holy Week or Semana Santa, the church comes alive to give rise to what is the most important festival of Trapani: the procession of the mysteries which they say is more beautiful than the one that takes place in Madrid. It is a moving spectacle that draws its faithful pilgrims every year to visit the city of Trapani.
The church houses the 20 groups of sculptures representing the Passion of Jesus Christ. Every Good Friday, these sculptures are all brought out in procession followed by musical bands through the streets of the historic center of the city of Trapani for 24 hours and returns to the church on Saturday at 14:00 PM or until the last group enters the basilica. "The Procession of the Mysteries" in Trapani is one of the most observed celebrations of the Catholic world with statues representing the Passion of Christ. The icons were created by Trapanesi sculptors as far back as 1500 - 1600 with features that proudly mark its craftsmanship as truly Sicilian in origin, a special technique applied only by the authentic artisans from Trapani.
Chiesa Di San Francesco D'Assisi (Church of Saint Francis de Assisi)
The Chiesa Di San Francesco D' Assisi is located in the district of the Kasbah of Mazara and although it is dedicated to Saint Francis, it is by no means a simple and plain church designed in the modest style of the Capuchins. The Baroque extreme and redundant artwork captivates the eyes and mind to the plot enveloping the stucco.
You can spend hours contemplating the walls of the nave, as well as admire the style that is pompous, mystical, and solemn. While in the Church of Saint Francis de Assisi, it is obligatory to visit the portion of the crypt, the entrance to which is located right on the same aisle. If you are lucky, you will be guided by the parish priest who is always affable and prepared to share the history of this symbolic two thousand year old church in Trapani.
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo or the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo is worth a visit and it is a real jewel of architecture built in 1400 and located at the historic center in Corso Vittorio Emanuele. It has paintings where you can admire the reprinted works (only reprints are allowed by to protect the original art work) of famous Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Together with the Church of Purgatory, it is one of the most beautiful sights to see in Trapani. There is an attractive terrace in front of the Cathedral, as well as the preserved stuccos, paintings and original frescoes that can be admired inside. The church is located in the center of the Old Town and there is a minimum entrance fee to gain access during visiting hours.
Riserva Naturale Saline Di Trapani E Paceco
Riserva Naturale Saline Di Trapani E Paceco is another must see attraction in Trapani. Located in the Garibaldi region, it has built up awareness and concern for the people to learn more about the process of salt. The WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) deploy volunteer guides for this environmental excursion in Trapani. Their aim is to educate visitors about discovering the world of salt in a natural setting. The tour begins with an introduction/lecture on the basics of saline production and its ecosystem (flora and fauna) for about 30 minutes at the visitor center.
The center is easily identifiable because, it is the only place or building with a windmill on the side of the road facing the salt beds. The visit makes you appreciate the true value of the "traditional" method of harvesting sea salt. In July, it is possible to see the workers during the harvesting of salt. It is definitely the best time to appreciate the visit, also because there is already a growing awareness to preserve this age old tradition and (because of the heat) the hard work involved in the process of collecting and making salt.
Baia Santa Margherita, Castelluzzo di S.Vito Lo Capo
The Bay of Santa Margherita or the Baia Santa Margherita is composed of 4 magnificent coves. On the way to San Vitto lo Capo, this bay is located amid the arid landscape with clear water between the mountains, it is jaw-dropping! Sparsely attended, it is recommended to take what they can offer because it has an incomplete beach infrastructure.
It is wise to bring your own food and drinks for there are no shops around here. In terms of views, it resembles the Caribbean beach; a beautiful white sandy beach with some palm trees and idyllic mountain in the background. It is nicely equipped with deck chairs and matching umbrellas.
Museo delle Saline
The Museo delle Saline has an audio tour and gives a good explanation of how the salt is carried out here in Trapani. Then you can walk yourself around the salt pans, which looks very photogenic especially at sunset. After the tour of the museum and the salt pans, you can dine and order a calamari dish at the restaurant terrace in front of the museum.
The place is small and can be easily explored within 15 to 20 minutes with guided tours that are available in both English and Italian language. The guides know their job well and will explain each and everything you should know about the salt harvesting process. It is not short on explanations and every panel in the museum cones with a diagram and a brochure. Do not hesitate to buy their excellent salt and other products made of salt at the end of the tour.
Grotte Mangiapane (Cave of Mangiapane)
In the territory of Trapani and exactly along the Custonaci, there are numerous caves of great geological, paleontological, as well as morphological value and known as the famous Grotte Manigapane or Cave of Mangiapane. It was named after the family that lived there in tiny houses since 1819. The cave is 60 meters high and 70 deep, was used by the early man from the Upper Paleolithic era as demonstrated by the many artifacts found in the cave. The cave and the space in front of it make a beautiful natural setting in two events of great interest covering the ethnographic and anthropological history of the city. In December, it has a nativity scene during Christmas time and the living museum during the summer season in Trapani (July to August).
The site is worth visiting, not because it was the film set of the Italian television series "Il Commisario Montalbano" but because it is a trip back in time that is very useful especially for the younger generation. History and charm can be found in these caves. The guides will welcome you and tell stories and anecdotes about the Mangiapane family. There are fresh fruits to taste and views of the Bay of Cornino. The historical re-enactment of arts and crafts is worth the ticket price (€3) and the children will appreciate the presence of the farm animals.
Museo Regionale Conte Agostino Pepoli
The Museo Regionale Conte Agostino Pepoli was established since the early twentieth century (1906-1908) as a museum by Count Agostino Pepoli Sera. It is located in the fourteenth century Carmelite convent, adjacent to the Basilica - Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Annunziata. The Pepoli Museum is a unique museum of its kind.
One cannot fail to mention the craft of the local Trapani that is characterized by manufacturing wooden icons, canvas and glue as well as the statues of the mysteries and especially some valuable works in coral material that was in Trapani a major center of production and processing and one of the most peculiar handicraft works of its people. It has a rich and beautiful collection of ancient artifacts in coral, ivory, shells, stones, gold and silver that made Trapani popular as a craft city in Italy. The museum also includes a collection of paintings and sculptures and a guillotine used during the reign of Ferdinand II of Bourbon. After a visit to the so called “museum of drills”, do not miss the nearby Sanctuary of the Madonna of Trapani.
Santuario Maria SS. Annunziata (Sanctuary of the Madonna of Trapani)
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of Trapani houses a statue of the Madonna made by Gagini, one of the most famous Sicilian sculptors who have created several statues depicting the "Madonna and Child in Arms". The devotion to the Virgin Mary is something palpable or obvious enough, but even the most averse to religious feelings cannot neglect visiting this church, because it is beautiful both outside and inside along with the marble statue of the Madonna and the chapel of the fishermen and the sailors.
It is situated next to the Museum Pepoli with large collections of Roman, Greek art pieces and products made out of coral. A feast in honor of this patron is celebrated from August 1 to 16, which consists of a daily pilgrimage to the Shrine and on the 16th there are street festivals for Our Lady of Trapani. At 7:00 PM in the evening, a Holy Mass in the Cathedral and a long procession winds through the streets of the old town; everything ends late at night with dazzling fireworks.
Cretto di Burri
The Cretto di Burri is the most remarkable work of "land art" in Sicily that is created by Alberto Burri on the ruins of Gibellina, which was entirely destroyed by the earthquake of January 1968. To get here, you must pass through Santa Ninfa, climb on the Provincial and follow the signs to the castle Rampizzeri. From there, keep walking and look for a sign indicating "Ruins of Gibellina", and about 8 km ahead you can see the “crack”, in all its immense desolation. A shroud of cement that holds the remains of a totally different place (both in size and shape) from the current one, which winds through a maze of streets on the side of a hill in the valley of the Belice. The idea of turning the ruins into a work of art so simple and yet so futuristic (for its time) is brilliant. Like much of modern art, some may like it or not be understood or appreciated, also because it has a significant environmental impact, but the feeling you get along with what once were the streets of a lively city, is indescribable. The tour is sublime, but it hits the heart and worth visiting while in Trapani.
Noted as a historic city, Trapani is widely known for its natural sights and historic attractions. The island of Erice alone occupies a land of 750 meters and presents a perfect landscape for the visitors. It is well known through the Mediterranean area as it attracts many people in and around the globe. Mesmerizing winding streets, an Upper Town located in the mountains, religious basilicas, and a coastal watchtower make this city the most charming place to see in Sicily. Trapani is nice to walk and explore, especially in good weather. Just keep in mind that most shops close in the afternoon for their much needed rest and nap, but resumes business operation at 16:00 PM and towards the evening. Include Trapani in your travel itinerary of Italy and you will not regret spending your holiday vacation in one of the most exotic cities in Europe.
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