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Visit Trapani

Trapani is a historical city, with its foundations laid in the ancient times by the Elymians. Trapani is not really a tourist destination but it does have an interesting old town and a pleasant sea-front promenade.

Explore Trapani

Sicily Visitor Comment: Trapani is not a major tourist destination but we were pleasantly suprised by its attractive old town and the walk along the sea edge to the Ligny tower.

Trapani is a thriving port in the modern day Sicilian economy, as it has been for centuries. It has ferry connections to the Aegadian Islands as well as to the Italian mainland and to Malta and Tunisia. If you are here for a ferry it is worth stopping to explore Trapani's old town which has a number of cultural, religious and historical attractions.

If you are driving there is a large car park at Piazza Emanuele on the edge of the old town and it is best to park your car here and then explore on foot.

Trapani

There are a few scattered palaces near to the car park on via Garibaldi and if you head down here and then onto Via Torrearsa you come to Corso Vittorio Emanuele which is packed with beautiful buildings. Notably the clock tower, Palazzo Senatoria, the Palazzo Cavarretta, decorated with statues by Giuseppe Nolfo, and the Palazzo Riccio along with the Chiesa Collegio dei Gesuiti are very impressive.

A short distance further down the street is the Cathedral of Trapani which was built in the 14th century but has had various major renovations since. Take a look at the impressive doors of the cathedral decorated with biblical scenes.

There are various other churches in the old town. The church of Purgatory is interesting to visit as it is home to twenty life size wooden statues called Misteri which are paraded during the Easter celebrations. Each statue apart from one is linked to a Guild whose members wear the traditiional robes and pointed hoods during the easter festival and carry their statue. The one statue not linked to a guild is carried by members of the Trapanin population.

Another church to visit is the Shrine of the Annunciation which contains the 13th century Madonna di Trapani by Nino Pisano. This is about 4km from the centre but is one of the key artworks in Trapani.

The Museum Agostino Pepoli is located near to the Shrine of the Annunciation and contains 13-18th century paintings and also a gallery containg lots of decorative coral from the days when this was an important industry in Trapani. The coral reefs have sadly been depleted by the industry!

Trapani is on a promontary and on the north side there is a pleasant coastal walk with the sea on one side and the town on the other. This is lovely for a stroll, especially in the evening as the sun is setting.

At the tip of the promontary is the Torre de Ligny, a 17th century tower that was once part of the town's defences. It is now a Natural history museum. Also near here is the fish market which is an important part of every day life in Trapani

Ligny tower

Walking around the south side of the promontary you can see the port of Trapani which is an important part of the local economy. Piazza Garibaldi and Piazza Scarlatti are near to the southern coastal path and in the narrow streets nearby there are a number of palaces and churches to admire.

Back near the Piazza Emanuele is the Villa Margherita park where you will find trees that are thought to be as old as the ninth century.

St. Albert is the patron saint of Trapani, and his feast is celebrated on August 7. Trapani is known for its religious Easter processions and this is a good time to visit.

Where to visit nearby?

A visit to the nearby salt flats and their little museum is very interesting. The salt flats have a wealth of bird life including pink flamingos. You can also buy nice little pots of the local salt flavoured with coriander and other herbs.

Be sure to visit the pretty mountain village of Erice. The village itself is charming but it also has great views over the sea and Trapani. There is a cable car from Trapani to Erice but the cable car it is some distance from the historic old part of Trapani and you will need to drive or take the bus.

Marsala is famous for its wine and has some nice sandy beaches like the Mazara del Vallo and Egadi. Some of the best beaches in the area are to the north of Trapani. The San Vito le Capo beach is the best in the region and slightly closer Santa Margherita bay is another popular beach. It is not as good for swimming as the San Vito le Capo beach but very scenic with its mountain backdrop.

The Aegadian islands like Favignana and Levanzo can be reached by ferry and have some good beaches and snorkling.

You can find more local travel ideas in the West Sicily guide and the guide.

See also:

Photos of Trapani

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • cathedral
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  • chiesa-collegio-dei-gesuiti
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  • sea-front-walk
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  • torre-de-ligny
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  • trapani-cathedral
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Map of Trapani and places to visit

Trapani places to visit

Paceco

Paceco

Paceco is close to the Salt Works Natural Park.

>> Paceco guide
Erice

Erice

Erice is one of the most beautiful villages of Sicily.

>> Erice guide
Levanzo

Levanzo

Levanzo is one of the Aegadian islands and is very attractive.

>> Levanzo guide
Favignana

Favignana

Favignana is one of the Agaedian Islands and has pretty coastal scenery.

>> Favignana guide
Marsala

Marsala

Marsala is famous for its wine and has an interesting centre.

>> Marsala guide
Zingaro Natural Reserve

Zingaro Natural Reserve

Zingaro Natural Reserve has beautiful coastal walks.

>> Zingaro Natural Reserve guide
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