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Close to Trapani in western Sicily, the town of Paceco (in the Mazara valley) has a history dating back beyond the prehistoric Neolithic period. Equally important for visitors, it is in a picturesque quiet agricultural region where melons, olives and grapes have been grown for many centuries.
Within Paceco itself it is the churches that are the main attraction, as is often the case with Sicilian towns. There are various important churches to note as you explore, including the Mother Church of Saint Catherine of Alexandria which contains some important paintings.
Other noteworthy churches in Paceco include the Baroque style Church of the Rosary; the Church of San Francesco di Paola (also contains some important paintings); and the Church of Portosalvo.
Head a little way outside Paceco to visit the Misiligiafari Tower (also called the 'Tozzazza'), one time official residence of the Fardella family. The fortress-tower stands on a hill where arab and norman castles previously stood.
Whilst in Paceco you can visit a working vineyard and olive oil producer. Baglio Ingardia have won prizes for the quality of their products and their tour is very informative.
Salt Works Natural Reserve
The main attraction near Paceco is the Salt Works Natural Reserve (Riserva naturale integrale Saline di Trapani e Paceco), with a very attractive landscape to explore and a great chance to enjoy the peace of the natural environment in this part of Sicily.
The reserve is especially well known for the varied and rare plants that can adapt to this unusual ecosystem and the wide range of birdlife, including many migratory birds that stop here. More than 200 species of birds have been identified, including herons, flamingos, spoonbills and marsh hawks.
Salt is still extracted from the area using the same methods that have been used for centuries and with the aid of the ancient windmills that still dot the reserve. While in the Natural Reserve you can visit a Salt Museum, and learn more about the techniques used for extracting salt from the marshes.The museum is set inside one of the ancient salt mills.
The salt works natural reserve can also be accessed from Trapani and Marsala.
Places to visit nearby
Erice is a lovely hill town with attractive medieval streets to explore and views over Trapani and the coast below.
The Aegadian Islands sit just off the coast from Trapani and Favignana, the larger of the two islands is popular for its attractive harbour town and for its beaches and walks.
A trip to the island of Levanzo is also popular trip. The island has prehistoric caves and an attractive coastline. Boats to Levanzo and Favignana leave from Trapani.