Saturday, May 10, 2014

Trapani, Italy

Trapani is on the west coast of Sicily, Italy.  The small town is home to 70,000 people and sits between the Mediterranean Sea and Mt. Erice.

Legend has it that Demeter, the goddess of harvests and plenty, dropped her sickle in a moment of despair while looking for her lost daughter.  The sickle landed by the sea and it is why the curved shape of the harbor resembles the goddess' scythe.

The small, fortified fishing town has a very long history.  It was an important Phoenician trading port.

The Romans ruled for a few centuries before the Arabs occupied the island in 827 AD, and then came the Normans in 1097.  During the Crusades it was one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean.

Today, it is still an important fishing port.  The fresh seafood here was so good.  It's also the easiest access point to visit the nearby Egadi Islands.

The Church of Sant'Agostino was built by the Templars in the 14th century.  The Gothic church as a beautiful rose window over the doorway.  The Fountain of Saturn, in front of the church, dates back to 1342.

Dome of St. Lorenzo
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo was built in 1421.  In 1844, the church was consecrated as a cathedral by Pope Gregory XVI.

Trapani Town Hall

The Piazza Mercato del Pesce is the former fish market.  The portico arches date back to 1874.
Palazzo Senatorio

Ligny Tower is a Spanish watchtower that was built in 1671, when Spain ruled over Sicily.
Trapani is very relaxing.  It's small enough that you can walk everywhere and it doesn't take too long to learn your way around.  There are lots of lovely little cafes and so far things seem much cheaper than mainland Italy.  They've got beaches too which is one thing I really miss not having in Czechland.

I saw a 'caution sign' in one spot warning against swimming due to the lack of a lifeguard.  Well, it actually said that it is not safe, in Italian and English.  In German, it says that it is safe.  I wonder if it's a misprint or if Trapani thinks that there are too many German tourists.  Probably just a misprint.

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