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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 is close to some nice beaches and natural scenery.
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.
One of the key attractions is the cathedral of Trapani which was built in the 14th century but has had various major renovations since. The church of Purgatory is another interesting one 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.
There are also various palaces including the Baroque Palazzo della Giudecca and the 18th century Cavarretta Palace.
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, the Bastione Conca Trapani, 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. Also on the seafront is the harbour and fish market. This is also a lively area for a stroll.
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.
The seafront and the fish market are important spots in the everyday life of the people of Trapani, while the Villa Margherita brings you to the greener parts of the town, 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. Apart from that, Trapani is known for its religious Easter processions and this is a good time to visit.
The beaches around Trapani include San Vito le Capo beach which is the best in the region. The Santa Margherita bay is another popular beach. Not as good for swimming as the San Vito le Capo beach but very scenic with its mountain backdrop.
Places 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.
Marsala is famous for its wine and has some nice sandy beaches like the Mazara del Vallo and Egadi.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.