Trapani - Hidden Treasure in the West of Sicily
Trapani is situated on the West Coast of Sicily. The pretty town centre is located on an attractive curving spit of land. What used to be a large Arab fishing village still offers the charm and the Moorish atmosphere. It is home to about 72.000 inhabitants and much more laid-back then other centres on the island.
Trapani was founded by the Elymians to serve as the port of the nearby city of Erice which overlooks it from Monte San Giuliano. It was originally named Drepanon from the Greek word for “sickle”, because of the curving shape of its harbour.
Two ancient legends tell of mythical origins for the city. In the first legend, Trapani stemmed from the sickle which fell from the hands of the goddess Demeter while she was seeking for her daughter Persephone, who had been kidnapped by Hades. The second myth features Saturn, god of the sky, who eviscerated his father Cronus with a sickle which, falling into the sea, created the city. In ancient times Saturn was the god-protector of Trapani. Today Saturn's statue stands in a piazza in the centre of the city.
The city was badly damaged during World War II when it was subjected to intense Allied bombardments. It has grown greatly since the end of the war, sprawling out virtually to the foot of Monte San Giuliano. Tourism has grown in recent years due to the city's proximity to popular destinations such as Erice, Segesta and the Egadi Islands.