Provinz Trapani  


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Blick von Erice auf Ägad Inseln
Detail Tempel Segesta

In the western Sicilian province of Trapani, often claimed to be the ‘most Arabian province’ of Sicily, there is a range of fascinating towns and archaeological zones. In the following I have listed a few suggestions for guided tours that I offer in this province. At the end of the page, I have listed some attractions that can be included in the sightseeing programme. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to talk about the exact details of the tour. If you are further interested in Sicilian everyday life, I can organize a visit to a wine cellar, an olive oil mill, Sicilian cooking lessons, boat trips and similar exciting events.

Highlights in Trapani and Province

Guided Tour of Erice (2hrs)
The medieval town of Erice is situated high up on Mount Eryx. Our town walk begins at the old town gate Porta Trapani. From there, we walk to the magnificent gothic mother church, stopping to look at the beautiful Renaissance works of art and learning about the cult of Madonna di Custonaci. After this, we stroll to Venus Castle and learn all about the ancient cult of temple prostitution. We enjoy the great views from the City Park over the Aegadian Islands and the Monte Cofano, and walk on to the heart of the old town, tasting the delicious local speciality Pasticcini di Mandorla on the way.

Guided Tour of Segesta (2hrs)
The great poet Goethe in his day admired the Doric Temple of Segesta, in the midst of a beautiful countryside and rolling hills. We will follow in his footsteps and at the same time learn about the mysterious history of the Elymians. We then take a shuttle bus high up to the Monte Barbaro, where the ancient theatre offers great views to the Gulf of Castellamare, and we learn about the eventful history of the theatre. 

Guided Tour of Selinunte (4hrs)
The excavations at the Greek town of Selinunte are highly impressive: We here take a walk through the largest archaeological park in Europe, over the Acropolis looking at the remains of temples, residential houses and the old town walls, and where we learn about the everyday life of the ancient Greeks. The excavated streets allow us insights into the principles of ancient town planning. After this, we continue to the sanctuary of Malphoros, once setting of the mysterious cult of Demeter, goddess of fertility. Another highlight is the sanctum on the eastern hill with its three impressive temple ruins.

Guided Tour of Marsala (4hrs)
In ancient times, Marsala was the most important town in western Sicily, signified by a large number of highly interesting exhibits which can be viewed in the archaeological museum. Highlight without a doubt is the famous Punian Boat which is exhibited in a specially climatized room. We then walk through the old town and take a glance at the monastery complex of S. Pietro containing a small Garibaldi museum. We then carry on to the main church of the town, dedicated to Saint Thomas Beckett. After a short coffee break we go to see the magnificent Flemish tapestry in the Museo degli Arazzi. We finish the tour with a visit to the Spanish quarter holding a picturesque fish market. If you want, you can then taste the famous Marsala wine in one of the atmospheric wineries.

Guided Tour of Trapani (4hrs)
The province capital Trapani has been nicely renovated in the past few years. We start our walk through the beautiful old town, visit the Purgatory Church with its sculptures of the famous Good Friday Mysteries Procession, and go on to visit the cathedral, the Jesuit church, the former fish market, the Art Nouveau post office and the former Jewish quarter. We then continue to the former Carmelite monastery with its church and the famous Madonna di Trapani. We round off the tour with a visit to the Pepoli Museum and its precious coral art, sculptures and paintings.

Guided Tour of Mazara del Vallo (2hrs)
The harbour city of Mazara del Vallo feels like being in Northern Africa, and for a reason. Walking through the exotic Kasbah – mainly inhabited by Tunisians – we see men with shishas taking their tea, and we might hear the muezzin calling for prayer. We stroll past the 12th century Norman San Nicolo Regale church and take a look at the impressive fishery harbour, the largest in entire Italy. In the Egidio church we admire the bronze sculpture of the Dancing Satyr, once fished from the sea, and regarded as one of the most beautiful sculptures from the Roman era. Our tour leads us past the Norman Arch on to the Piazza della Republicca with its baroque palaces, the 16th century bishop’s palace among them. In the cathedral Santissimo Salvatore we look at a number of precious objects of art to round off the tour.

Guided Tour of the Island of Mozia (3hrs)
The little island of Mozia was once home to one of the most important Punic-Phoenician towns of Sicily. After taking the boat across the lagoon, we visit the Casa Whitaker and witness in the marble sculpture The Youth of Mozia the perfection of ancient statuary. The little archaeological museum offers a range of interesting objects, from vases to masks to tomb stones. After this, we take an extended walk on the island, taking in the remains of the Punic town walls, the old industrial quarter, the Tophet cemetery and finally the Kothon, the old Phoenician harbour.


Main Sightseeing Attractions in Trapani and Province

Museo Civico
Town museum, most important exibit is the Ephebe of Selinunte.

Parco Archeologico di Selinunte
Excavations of the ancient town Selinunte with acropolis, temple sanctuary and Malophoros sanctuary.

Medieval town high up on Mount Eryx, with Gothic mother church and Venus Castl

Favignana is the largest of the three Egadian islands which are located opposite of the coastline of Trapani. The most important sight is the newly restored Tonnara, which was once the largest tuna factory in the Mediterranean. Interesting is not only the impressive architecture of the historical tuna factory, but also the contemporary video installations which show persons who were once involved in tuna fishing and processing.

The small town of Gibellina was completely destroyed during the earthquake of 1968. It was rebuilt some kilometers away as Gibellina Nuova. Many contemporary artists participated in the reconstruction project. For this reason Gibellina Nuova today is the home of modernist sculptures and extravagant architecture – distributed all over the town. Furthermore, Gibillina hosts two contemporary art museums. The remains of the destroyed old town of Gibellina (Ruderi di Gibellina) were famously filled with white concrete by the North-Italian artist Alberto Burri. Today, Gibellina Vecchia is an important land-art park.

Main church of the town, built in the Norman era but significantly expanded since.

Museo Archeologico “Baglio Anselmi”
Archaeological museum, main exhibit is the famous Punic Ship.

Museo degli Arazzi
Small museum with eight Flemish tapestries well worth seeing.

Mazara del Vallo
Basilica-Cattedrale Santissimo Salvatore
Cathedral from Norman era, remade in baroque style.

Museo del Satiro danzante/Chiesa di Sant’Egidio
Profanised church from 15th century, used as a museum today. Most important exhibit is the bronze sculpture Dancing Satyr.

Chiesa San Nicolò Regale
Small church from the Norman era.

Museo Civico
The town museum is located in the former Jesuit College from the 17th century. Finds from the Roman era and a collection of paintings on display.

Casa Whitaker
Former summer house of the English wine maker family Whitaker, housing a small collection of archaeological finds. Main exhibit is the marble sculpture Youth of Mozia.

Museo della Mafia
The small town of Salemi was severly damaged during the earthquake of 1968. After the completion of the restauration works it now offers a nice old town centre and also a Mafia museum.

Zona Archeologica
Archaeological Zone with Dorian temple, ancient theatre and the remains of a medieval castle.

Cattedrale S. Lorenzo Martire
Main church of the town with elegant baroque facade.

Chiesa e Collegio dei Gesuiti
Magnificent baroque Jesuit church with adjacent college.

Chiesa del Purgatorio
Inconspicuous little baroque church, exhibiting the famous sculptures used for the Good Friday Mysteries Procession.

Chiesa S. Agostino
Former Templar church from the 14th century, gothic style.

Chiesa S. Domenico
Medieval Dominican church located at the highest point of the town.

Museo Regionale “A. Pepoli”
This former monastery shows a collection of sculptures, paintings and artisan objects made of coral.

Palazzo della Giudecca/Casa Ciambra
Gothic palace in the former Jewish quarter.

Palazzo delle Poste e Telegrafi
Main post office of the town, built in early 20th century in Art Deco style.

Palazzo Senatorio
Former Senate building of the town.

Piazza Mercato del Pesce
Very pretty town square laid out in several boxes, formerly the fish market.

Sightseeing Trapani


Dr. Anita Bestler