Трапани / Trapani

We crossed the entire island to reach its western part and the coastal town of Trapani. You won’t find the grandeur of the southeastern Sicilian cities here, but there is something alluring about its deserted streets, devoid of any off-season tourists, and the incredible sunset, scented with sea salt…

Where is located, how to get there and where to stay

Trapani is a port city located on a peninsula curving into the sea along the west coast of Sicily. Palermo is around 100 km away, and only 13 km away is the nearby mountain and the medieval village of Erice. It has its own airport, which is the third busiest (after Palermo and Catania) and serves mostly low-cost airlines. There is a bus between Trapani and Palermo which takes about 2 hours.

See car rental options in Sicily

We traveled around Sicily in a rental car using our partners at Autoeurope and arrived from Modica, passing through Agrigento. We chose Trapani as a stop on our way to Palermo, but it could easily be used as a base for a few days stay, especially in the summer months when the beautiful beaches in the area would be a desirable destination.

For the оvernight stay we stopped at Trapani Home – about 15 minutes walking distance from the center. There is free parking on the street, which prevailed to choose him. A parking option is also the large paid parking lot in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele.

See places to stay in Trapani

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Through the main streets of Trapani

This is where we started our tour of Trapani, among the tall palm trees of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele and the green park near it, to explore the historic center. Even the busiest street (via Garibaldi) wasn’t very busy… Together with via Torrearsa, the two house numerous fashion boutiques, bars and restaurants. Most of them were closed in the winter and we mingled with the locals winding down the day’s work or out for an afternoon stroll. In places it was so quiet that we could even hear the conversations of neighbors calling out to each other from the balconies…

We find ourselves around the Torre dell’Orologio

The tall buildings around the main streets create a labyrinth in which even the February sun finds it difficult to penetrate… However, we managed to figure it out and find ourselves at the hidden Torre dell’Orologio – the oldest city gate. Above the narrow tunnel, the still perfectly working astronomical clock can be seen, displaying on two dials the time, the zodiac signs and the phase of the moon. In the immediate vicinity is located a small charming square that houses a beautiful fountain (Fontana di Saturno) and the church Chiesa di S. Agostino.

To the churches of Trapani

We also arrive at perhaps the most impressive building in Trapani – the town hall, housed in the baroque Palazzo Senatorio. It’s there that another of the main streets begins – Corso Vittorio Emanuele. I won’t surprise you when I tell you that she is also crowded with shops and restaurants… But along it you can also find some important churches for the city, slightly merged with the surrounding background. First is the Chiesa del Collegio dei Gesuiti, and a few meters after it is the Cathedral of Trapani – Cattedrale di San Lorenzo. It’s worth going inside to admire the beautiful baroque interior, with its magnificent columns, majestic vaults and richly decorated ceiling.

Two blocks away is the Chiesa delle Anime Sante del Purgatorio, another important local church. It’s connected with one of the most ancient religious festivals in Italy – Processione Dei Misteri. The church houses 20 sculptures (called “Misteri”) which, for 400 years, have been taken out every Easter to embark on a spectacular 24-hour procession through Trapani…

The best sunset in Sicily

We felt that the day was coming to an end and instantly headed for via Mura di Tramontana Ovest – a narrow promenade along the city walls. This is the best place to enjoy the sunset in Trapani! And for a moment we didn’t hesitate to go down to the sand, where there were several fishing boats, as if posing against the purple sky. We sat on the rocks and looking at the rows of houses with warm pastel colors and peeling facades, we imagined it was summer…

💡 Sicily is famous for its centuries-old tradition of salt production, providing the world market with one of the finest productions. A large number of the saltworks, as well as museums of salt (Museo del Sale), are located precisely around Trapani and can be explored if you have more time in the city.

Dinner time

But the cold wind reminded us that it was still February! The streets emptied instantly and we headed for a warm place to have dinner. And once again we encountered the few open establishments outside the summer season in Sicily… We stopped at Amici Miei which was just opening and we were the first and only customers for the moment. We ordered pizza and lasagna, both of which were tasty. The dough was slightly risen and fluffy, but very well baked. They also have great house wine!

How to get to Erice

The main reason we stopped in Trapani was to visit the medieval town of Erice, located on the hill of San Giuliano (around 750 m). It was to him that we headed the next morning! There are two options to visit it – with a lift from Trapani, which reaches the top in about 10 minutes (Funivia Trapani-Erice) or about 20 minutes by car on a narrow and winding road. We chose the second option, because then we had a road to Monreale and Palermo waiting for us. But whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to enjoy the view of the city, the coast and the Aegadian Islands in the distance…

A walk through the medieval streets

I park without problem in the wide parking lot in front of Porta Trapani (HERE), one of the three ancient entrances to the city. Adjacent is the 14th-century Duomo (La Real Chiesa Madrice Insigne Collegiata) with its attached stone bell tower. Right around it, we embarked on a walk along the main street, via Vittorio Emanuele, leading to the central square, Piazza della Loggia. Erice is a small town and arranged in a triangular shape, which predisposes it to be explored quickly and easily, therefore we reached the other preserved gate Porta Carmine in a very short time.

Since we hadn’t had coffee yet, we decided to split the walk and enjoy aromatic coffee and a Sicilian pastry in one of Erice’s antique pastry shops. By far the most popular place here is Pasticceria Maria Grammatico. Besides cannoli, Cassata Siciliana is another local specialty that you must try on the island!

We were ready for the most interesting part of Erice – the two castles (Castello di Venere and Torretta Pepoli) and the beautiful gardens (Giardino del Balio), revealing wonderful panoramic views… But the weather had other plans, and going out again among the stone streets, there was no mention of sunny Italy… Everything was engulfed in a thick fog that seemed to transport us to a gloomy Britain… We tried to wait a bit to get a glimpse of the castles after all, but no such luck and went on our way with a slight disappointment…