+++ unknown gorgeous spots of Italy...+++
"Trapani , 'the salt city'."
Its name derives from an ancient word for "hook," for the shape of its harbor. To the Sicanians it was Drepano, to the Greeks Drepanon, to the Romans Drepanum. Trapani was founded in antiquity on Sicily's western coast by the Sicanians and later colonized by the Elimi as Erice's port. The waters off the coast witnessed an epic sea battle between Carthaginians and conquering Romans in 241 BC, considered a turning point in Rome's conquest of the central Mediterranean. Geographically, Trapani is an unusual Sicilian city for its westward position, which affords spectacular views of some of the Mediterranean's most beautiful sunsets. The surrounding coastal plain is distinguished for its rich salt deposits, and the white mineral is ground by the windmills seen along the coast. All of which lends the environs an appearance that sometimes seems more Dutch than Sicilian.
Even the oldest parts of the city have been modernized in many respects, but Trapani shows much of its medieval past, if not its ancient heritage. During the Norman era, the city had a polyglot population not unlike that of Palermo, with large Jewish and Muslim quarters. It was an important port for trade with Africa. The Annunciation Sanctuary, in Via Conte Pepoli, was built in the fourteenth century in the Romanesque Gothic style and still retains some splendid medieval elements such as the facade's portal and rose window, though the church's interior has been extensively modified.
The adjacent Pepoli Regional Museum is renowned for its medieval and modern collections, including articles from the Bourbon era, though it also houses some ancient finds. It displays quite a few smaller craft and folk works which one rarely sees in other museums.
The Spedaletto (Giudecca Palace) is a Catalan Gothic structure built in the sixteenth century. Though interesting, it is similar to buildings of the same style in Palermo and elsewhere in Sicily. On Via Sant'Agostino, the Church of Saint Mary of Jesus has a splendid Renaissance Gothic facade.
The Church of Sant'Agostino (Saint Augustine) is located in Piazzetta Saturno. It is Romanesque Gothic with a beautiful rose window. This structure was extensively restored and partially reconstructed following the damage it suffered during the Allied bombardment in 1943.
The Cathedral and the Collegio Church were built in the Baroque style during the seventeenth century, the former on the remains of an older church.
Trapani has an interesting Summer music festival (the Luglio Musicale Trapanese) in July, and also an annual tuna festival. Speaking of seafood, it is excellent in this part of Sicily. I suggest the tuna, a delicious experience nothing like the stuff you buy in cans at the supermarket; it's not even the same variety.