Trapani, the town and province
Trapani, Marsala, Mazara del Vallo and Erice in the western Sicily.
For many people the first phisical touch with Sicily is in Trapani Airport in the western Sicily. The city, Trapani, does not hold the biggest population in the area but has even though named the province. Trapani is facing the Mediterranian sea and just outside Trapani there are big areas for extraction of salt from the sea. Trapani is a modern city with but is also holding a charming historic centre.
Further south is the city Marsala holding around 80.000 inhabitants. In the country side of Marsala you find the production of the wine named Marsala. It was the English gentleman, James Woodhouse visiting the city in 1770 became aware of the wine and along with this he also became conscious of the profitable possibilities. Fortified with alcohol the marsala keeps well during long time transport - just like the port - and could be shipped anywhere.
About 30 minutes by car south of Marsala you arrive to Mazara del Vallo hometown for a big fishing fleet. Mazara was the first town to be taken by the Arabs in 827 Ac and the last town falling to the Normans.
North of Trapani you find the town Erice settled by the tribe "Elimi" who is told to be descendents from Troia in Greece. Erice has a majestic post in the mountains from where you have great views as far as to Trapani, the islands out from Trapani and Marsala and on a clear day you might even be able to see Tunis in Africa. In ancient times the name for Erice was Eryx. Today the town is a centre of science and is holding many conferences.
In the western part of the province at the boundary to the province of Palermo you'll find the town Alcamo. This is not just a town but the centre of the most important area for wineries in Sicily, the zone for the wines classified Alcamo DOC. This area includes the towns in the so-called wine route Alcamo DOC: Camporeale, Calatafimi-Segesta, Castellammare del Golfo, Partinico and of course Alcamo. There are a lot of castles/wineries to visit and all of them will welcome you with genuine Sicilian hospitality.
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