Trapani – Sights

Trapani sightseeing


Cruise ships regularly visit the Sicilian port cities during the cruise season Catania, Messina and Palermo. The port city of Trapani, located in north-western Sicily, is rarely on the list of cruise ship itineraries. And if cruise ships dock in Trapani, they are not the giant ships of the volume providers, but mostly small, fine ships.

Port of Trapani from a bird's eye view

Port of Trapani from a bird's eye view


Trapani – the first impression

A proverb says: "Try makes wise". This applies not least to the city of Trapani, which has around 65.000 inhabitants. It proves to be an attractive destination when arriving by ship. One day's stay is not enough to get to know the city and its surroundings.

Cruise ship guests find it a great advantage that the old town of Trapani is close to the cruise terminal. Another advantage is that part of the historic center is closed to traffic. Especially the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, the Via Torrearsa and the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi are ideal for a carefree tour.

Trapani - Via Torrearsa


Trapani - Via Torrearsa


Trapani - Palaces in Via Garibaldi


Trapani - Palaces in Via Garibaldi 


Historic palaces and impressive churches line these streets. While many buildings are in a deplorable state, they give a glimpse of what the city might have been like in its heyday.

Trapani's old town

Trapani's old town


The Tourist Service Trapani gives more information about Trapani. The unassuming tourist information office is on Piazzetta Saturno, next to the Church of Sant'Agostino. 

A stay of several days is required to get to know Trapani. If only one day is planned for the visit, we recommend taking a city tour of Trapani and taking the cable car up the 751 meter high Monte Erice, and strolling through the old town of Erice. Both projects can be agreed without haste on one layday.

Trapani's old town


Trapani's old town


Trapani-Monte Erice


Trapani-Monte Erice 


City walk in Trapani 

The old town was laid out in a grid pattern on a promontory. Cruise ships dock opposite the Agenzia Delle Dogane, the imposing customs administration building. Via Ammiraglio Staiti runs between the moorings of the ships and the administration. We recommend starting the city tour in Via Torrearsa. The street begins at Via Ammiraglio Staiti and crosses to the other side of the water, to Piazza Mercato del Pesce. Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Via Giuseppe Garibaldi branch off Via Torrearsa with notable sights.

Trapani - Via Ammiraglio Staiti with ferries

Trapani - Via Ammiraglio Staiti with ferries


Remarkable sacred buildings in Trapani

San Lorenzo Martire Cathedral

Trapani's Cathedral was rebuilt in a relatively short period of time, between the years 1635 and 1639, on the site of an old church. The church, which appears surprisingly large inside, only received the impressive dome, the imposing portico and the bell tower a century later. The facade is in the early baroque style.

Trapani - Dome and Tower of the Cathedral


Trapani - Dome and Tower of the Cathedral


Trapani - Facade of the Cathedral


Trapani - Facade of the Cathedral 


Inside the church, two rows of marble columns separate the nave and the two aisles. The central nave has beautiful frescoes and plaster decorations. In 1844 the cathedral was raised to the status of the bishop's church of the Diocese of Trapani.

Trapani - central nave of the cathedral
Trapani - Side nave of the Cathedral
Trapani - Dome of the Cathedral
Trapani - Bronze doors of the Cathedral

Location: Corso Vittorio Emanuele

Church and Collegio dei Gesuiti

The church, consecrated in 1705, and the adjoining Jesuit monastery are among the most important baroque sights of Trapani. The interior of the three-aisled church is richly decorated with colored marble.

Trapani - Portal of the Jesuit Church


Trapani - Portal of the Jesuit Church


Trapani - Gable of the Jesuit Church


Trapani - Gable of the Jesuit Church 


Location: Corso Vittorio Emanuele

Church of Sant'Agostino

The church dedicated to John the Baptist dates from the 14th century. In the 16th century it was rebuilt. The single-nave church is praised for its elaborate arched vault. The floor plan of the church is asymmetrical. The roof truss is painted with allegorical and grotesque figures. A large rosette adorns the façade. Today the desecrated church is used for exhibition purposes. – Only a few steps away from the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino there is a fountain called "Source of Saturn". A wealthy family donated it in the 14th century.

Trapani - Rose window in the gable of the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino

Trapani - Rose window in the gable of the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino


Location: Via Torrearsa / Via Sant'Agostino

Church of the Holy Souls of Purgatory

The construction of the "Church of Souls in Purgatory" began in 1688. In the three-nave church there are statues of the twelve apostles. It also houses the 20 Mystery Sculptures that are carried around the city streets during the traditional Good Friday procession.

Trapani - Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio
Trapani - Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio
Trapani - Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio
Trapani - Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio

Location: Via S.Francesco d'Assisi

Church and Monastery of San Francesco d'Assisi

The building is one of the oldest churches in the city. Its origins and those of the attached monastery can be traced back to the 13th century. In 1680 it was rebuilt in the baroque style. The bell tower and portal are from the 18th century.

Trapani - Dome of the Chiesa e Monastero di San Francesco d'Assisi


Trapani - Dome of the Chiesa e Monastero di San Francesco d'Assisi


Trapani - Chiesa and Monastero di San Francesco d'Assisi


Trapani - Chiesa and Monastero di San Francesco d'Assisi 


Location: Via Giuseppe Barlotta

Fortifications and walls

Due to its exposed location, Trapani was regularly exposed to enemy attacks. This evil was countered with fortifications. We call the main defenses:

Torre di Ligny with the Museo Torre di Ligny

If you follow the Corso Vittorio Emanuele out of town, you will reach the Torre de Ligny via the subsequent Via Carolina. The massive defense tower was built from 1671 onwards on the cliffs of the headland. After its complete restoration, the tower currently houses Trapani's Museum of Protohistory and Prehistory.

Trappani - Torre di Ligny


Trappani - Torre di Ligny


Trappani - port with the Torre di Ligny


Trappani - port with the Torre di Ligny 


Castle of the Dovecote

Trapani's port is sheltered by the narrow rocky island of Isola Colombaia. The word means “dovecote” in Italian. The fortress built on the island is one of the attractions of Trapani.

Apparently, the Carthaginians erected a first bulwark as early as the 3rd century BC. In the course of later Arab rule, the defenses were strengthened. The fortress was expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries. The fort is laid out irregularly. It is dominated by an octagonal tower that is 38 meters high. The structure has also been used as a prison and lighthouse throughout its history.

Trapani - Castle of Colombaia


Trapani - Castle of Colombaia


Trapani - Castle of Colombaia


Trapani - Castle of Colombaia 


The fishing port of Trapani is sheltered by the Torre di Ligny and the Castello della Colombaia.

Imperial Bastion or Sant'Anna

The bulwark was built in the 16th century. The construction protected the city from the regular raids of Turkish pirates. When constructing the line of defense, the firepower of the cannons that had appeared previously was also taken into account. The bastion received additional reinforcements in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Trapani - Bastione Imperiale o di Sant'Anna

Trapani - Bastione Imperiale o di Sant'Anna


Walls of Tramontana

The old city wall runs about 600 meters parallel to the sea between the centrally located, former fish market (Mercato del Pesce) and the Bastione Conca. The fortress wall was built under Spanish rule.
If you want to see the city walls, follow the Via Mura di Tramontana Ovest.

Trapani - Mura di Tramontana


Trapani - Mura di Tramontana


Trapani - Mura di Tramontana


Trapani - Mura di Tramontana 


Porta Oscura and the Torre dell'Orologio

The Porta Oscura was the oldest city gate in Trapani and part of the city wall. Perception in the present suggests otherwise. The Porta Oscura is the only remaining historical access to the city center. The Torre dell'Orologio clock tower rises above the gate. The origins of the complex astronomical clock date back to 1596.

Trapani - Torre dell'OrologioTrapani - Torre dell'Orologio


Location: Via Torrearsa

Palaces in Trapani

A large number of palaces characterize the cityscape of Trapani. Many of the buildings are in poor structural condition, unless they are used by the authorities. We like the following four palazzi:

Palazzo Cavarretta/Palazzo Senatorio H4

At the intersection of Via Torrearsa/Corso Vittorio Emanuele stands a magnificent baroque building, the Palazzo Cavarretta/Palazzo Senatorio. The building was constructed from 1672 onwards. As the name suggests, the palazzo is currently used by the city council for representative purposes. On both long sides of the palazzo are the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino, the Fontana di Saturno and the Porta Oscura.

Trapani - Palazzo Senatorio

Trapani - Palazzo Senatorio


Riccio di Morana Palace

Construction of the building, now used by the provincial government, began in the 16th century. Modifications were made over time. Originally, the city palace belonged to Don Giacomo Riggio, Barone di S. Anna ed Arcuaci. The façade was subsequently designed in a classical style. Inside, the palace opens into a light inner courtyard.

Trapani - Palazzo Riccio di Morana


Trapani - Palazzo Riccio di Morana


Trapani - Palazzo Riccio di Morana


Trapani - Palazzo Riccio di Morana 


Location: Via Garibaldi

Fardella Fontana Palace

The nobleman Annibale Fardella had a city palace built in the 18th century. Noteworthy is the portal designed with pillars, above which there is a balcony. The building is currently also used by an authority.
Trapani - Palazzo Fardella FontanaTrapani - Palazzo Fardella Fontana


Location: Via Garibaldi

Customs Palace

Opposite the cruise ship berth is the Customs Administration building already mentioned. Construction began in 1825. The functional building impresses with its clear lines and absolute symmetry.

Trapani - Palazzo della Dogana

Trapani - Palazzo della Dogana


Other profane structures

Fish market

In the Piazza Mercato del Pesce, next to the Lungomare Dante Alighieri, is the building of the former fish market.

Trapani - the old fish market hall


Trapani - the old fish market hall


Trapani - the old fish market hall


Trapani - the old fish market hall 


Conte Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum

The museum location is a former Carmelite monastery built in the 14th century. Originally, the museum goes back to a private collection. It presents regional art with paintings and sculptures. Part of the collection is dedicated to the arts and crafts originally located in the Trapani area. Works of art made of coral, majolica, gold and silver are on display. The museum's crib collection is also famous. Nearby is the Sanctuary of Maria Santissima Annunziata with the marble statue of the Madonna of Trapani.
Location: New Town, Via Conte Agostino Pepoli 180

Triton fountain

The dividing line between the old town and the new town runs along the Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. A monument was erected on one side of the piazza in 1882 to the namesake Vittorio Emanuele II. Eight years later, the Triton Fountain followed on the opposite side of the square. The monumental fountain shows the figure of the Greek god of the sea, Triton, standing upright and blowing a “conch”. Several allegorical figures keep him company.

Trapani - Vittorio Emanuele


Trapani - Vittorio Emanuele


Trapani - the Triton Fountain


Trapani - the Triton Fountain 


Location: Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II

Public park

Villa Margherita

The roughly two-hectare rectangular park runs along a north-south axis. The park was dedicated to Queen Margaret of Italy, wife of Umberto I. The establishment of the park began in 1878. The facility is divided into four areas with beds of different sizes. Palm trees, pines, four sprawling fig trees, oleander plants, hibiscus, yucca palms and much more thrive in this Mediterranean garden. In the center of the complex is an open-air stage.

An eye-catcher is the central avenue of palm trees, which leads from the main entrance to the park's open-air theatre. Opera performances are held there every year, attended by up to 2.500 people. In the southern part of the garden there is a small pond inhabited by waterfowl. Marble busts of important citizens of Trapani adorn the park. Birds are kept in aviaries.

Trapani - Villa Margherita Park
Trapani - Villa Margherita Park
Trapani - Villa Margherita Park
Trapani - Villa Margherita Park

Main Entrance - Viale Regina Margherita

Sights outside the city

Erice and Monte Erice

Thirteen kilometers of road lie between Trapani and the city of the same name, built on the 751 meter high Monte Erice. Erice can also be reached by a three-kilometre-long, modern gondola lift from the outskirts of Trapani.

Trapani - Monte Erice cable carTrapani - Monte Erice cable car


Location: Funivia Trapani Erice – Via Capua/Strada Provinciale 31
Ticket costs (as of 2022): single trip 6 euros; Round trip €9,50.

From the heights, visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the interior, the city of Trapani, the sea, the salt pans and the Aegadian Islands off the coast. – Almost 30.000 people live in the commune of Erice. Only a few hundred people live in the winding streets of the romantic old town. The city wall was built by the Carthaginians. The Castello di Venere, dedicated to Venus, was built in the 13th century. Erice is a popular tourist destination, busy in summer.

Alley in Erici
Erici - Castello di Venere
Erici - Castello di Venere
Erici-Giardino del Balio
Erice - Castle of Venus
Erice-San Giovanni Battista
Erice - Ristorante in the old town
Erice-Chiesa Madre

Trapani and Paceco salt pans nature reserve

The salt flats produce about 100.000 tons of sea salt annually using traditional methods. A nature reserve was set up in 1995 to protect the landscape. It lies on the west coast of Sicily between the towns of Marsala, Paceco and Trapani. Its area is given as 987 hectares. The reserve is home to many plants, bird species and insects adapted to life in the salt marshes. At the time of bird migration, the salt pans offer migratory birds a rest before flying on to Africa. A saline museum has been set up in an old salt mill. This is open every day in summer except Sundays.

Trapani's salt pans


Trapani's salt pans


Trapani's salt pans


Trapani's salt pans 


Update February 2022

 

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