Trapani, a wonderful city in Sicily on the far west coast, is the perfect city to combine multiple interests: history, art, beautiful sea, fun and great food! From millenary history, it even appears in the Aeneid and its origins seem to be mythological: according to the legend the city was born on a tongue of land (Drepanon, from which "Trapani" derives) originated from a sickle fallen from the hands of Ceres or of Saturn, the patron god of the city. There are several things to see in the city, but even in its wonderful surroundings!
So let's find out together what to see in Trapani with this guide with practical tips about the city!
- Historic Center and Tramontana Walls
- Saline of Trapani and Paceco
- Ligny Tower
- Colombaia Tower
- Dark Door and Astronomical Clock
- Cathedral of San Lorenzo
- Church of the Holy Souls of Purgatory
- Church of Sant'Agostino
- Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum
- La Salerniana Museum of Contemporary Art
- Mangiapane cave of Custonaci
- Monte Cofano Reserve
- Cornino Bay
- Other attractions to visit
- 8 Things to do in Trapani
- User questions and comments
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1 - Historic Center and Tramontana Walls
The historic center of Trapani is a real open-air museum! Full of squares, characteristic streets and buildings that deserve a visit from the outside, such as the Palazzo Senatorio. It is also full of churches and later on we will have the opportunity to know the most beautiful! Take some time to stroll through the streets of the center and discover this city little by little. You will not be disappointed at all.
Particular mention to the Tramontana Walls, that is the ancient and beautiful city walls dating back to the Spanish period, which was built to defend the city from enemy attacks. It is located on the north side of Trapani and you can walk it starting from the square of the former Fish Market up to the mighty Bastione Conca. Along the walls there is also the Spiaggia delle Mura di Tramontana, a small city beach stormed in summer, but truly wonderful and ideal for relaxing.
The historic center is easily reachable on foot from the railway station of Trapani (1,1 km, 12 min). From the station to the westernmost point of the historic center, Torre di Ligny Civic Museum, it is 2,2 km (28 min) - Get directions
Visit the historic center on foot: the center is ZTL, therefore entry to cars and vehicles is not allowed! It is advisable to park your car near Piazza Scarlatti, Lungomare Dante Alighieri (Piazza Ex fish market) or Piazza Vittorio Emanuele; where you will find paid parking on the blue lines from € 0,80 per hour.
2 - Saline of Trapani and Paceco
The Saline of Trapani and Paceco are a fundamental step in the visit of the city. It was precisely the salt trade that made this city flourish over the centuries, making it a true commercial power throughout Europe.
There is no certain evidence, but it seems that the salt trade, also known as the white gold of Sicily, it even dates back to the Phoenician era. Unfortunately, during the twentieth century the salt pans fell out of favor, up to a last flood in 900 which irreparably damaged the machinery.
By visiting this place you will see how salt is obtained from sea water, discover the history of the establishment and of this important trade. The museum of the Saline di Trapani includes, in addition to the tanks in which the salt was extracted, also a series of mills and period equipment that were used to complete the procedure for obtaining the salt.
- in Via Libica, 5 km from the center of Trapani. Accessible by car along via I Dorsale ZIR and via Libica in the direction of SP21 (10 min). There is no public transport - Get directions
- every day 9: 30-19: 00 / Wed and Sat guided tours by appointment, average duration 2 h. All the info on the official website
- Saline free / Museum of Saline full € 2,50, reduced € 1,50 / free guided tours. All the info on the official website
3 - Ligny Tower
The Ligny Tower is without a doubt one of the best known symbols of the city. Located on the far western tip of the city's coast, you'll need to get there walk along a strip of land completely surrounded by the sea, with wonderful views across the city!
Its construction took place in the seventeenth century thanks to the viceroy Claudio la Moraldo. Designed as a defensive fortress, over the years it became a lighthouse with the task of controlling the traffic of boats approaching the port. Today, inside it houses the museum of prehistory, with a large collection of Roman amphorae found in the archaeological site of Trapani and also of a helmet, found right on the seabed of the city.
Watch the sunset: we recommend that you visit the museum in the afternoon around closing time, so you will already be in the area to admire the beautiful sunset that this side of the city offers its visitors
- in via Torre di Ligny 37. Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center (1,2 km, 15 min). Close to the Piazzetta del Tramonto (280m, 3 min) and the remains of the Imperial Bastion (550m, 6 min) - Get directions
- Tue-Sat 10: 00-12: 30 3 16: 00-19: 00, Sun and holidays 10: 00-12: 30
- single € 1,00
4 - Torre della Colombaia
The Torre della Colombaia, also called Castello del Mare, is located on a small island near the coast. According to legend, the Dovecote it would even have been built by the Trojans, arrived in Trapani after the conquest of Troy. What is certain is that during the Carthaginian dominion the building was already as beautiful as it was built, since Amilcare Barca, on the occasion of the First Punic War, also built a military barracks nearby. In 249 BC the Dovecote was the site of a very important battle against the Carthaginians, during which it was conquered by the Romans and then passed again under the hands of the Carthaginians.
In the nineteenth centurybecame a prison of the Bourbons, only to be abandoned after the construction of the San Giuliano penitentiary. In 2010 it was taken over by the Sicily Region, which has announced a major renovation, to restore the fortress to its former glory! At the moment, therefore, it cannot be visited inside, but still deserves a photo from the outside, especially at sunset.
Clearly visible from Via Catulo Lutazio, easily reachable from any point in the historic center, such as from Torre Ligny (900 m, 11 min) or from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (1,4 km, 15 min) - Get directions
5 - Dark Door and Astronomical Clock
In the historic center, a stone's throw from the Palazzo Senatorio, you will find the Clock Tower of Trapani. Dating back to the th century and located on one of the city's watchtowers, it is the oldest gate of Trapani.
If you look closely, you will notice on the facade of the Tower a very particular clock, which is also one of the oldest astronomical clocks in Europe, dating back to 1596. Instead of indicating the time, this clock, on which there are a dial of the Sun and a Lunario, has hands that indicate the signs of the zodiac, the solstices, the equinoxes, the seasons and the cardinal points , while in the Lunario the phases of the moon are indicated.
In via Torrearsa 47, Easily reachable on foot from any point in the historic center, such as from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (210 m, 3 min) or the Spiaggia delle Mura di Tramontana (400 m, 5 min) - Get directions
6 - Cathedral of San Lorenzo
The Cathedral of San Lorenzo is also known as the Cathedral of Trapani and is one of the main churches in the city! It was built around 1300 on the remains of another church at the behest of Alfonso the Magnanimous. During the various centuries it suffered numerous damages, works and modifications, up to the church that we can visit today.
The exterior is in Baroque style, with a beautiful portico consisting of three arches. The interior instead develops on a cross plan, with three different naves and four side chapels. Here you can admire various works, such as the Altarpiece of the Martyrdom of San Lorenzo, or the statue of the Dead Christ of Tartaglia.
In Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Easily accessible from all parts of the historic center, such as from the Anime Sante del Purgatorio Church (120 m, 2 min) or the Clock Tower (210 m, 3 min) - Get directions
7 - Church of Anime Sante del Purgatorio
The Anime Sante del Purgatorio Church is located near the Cathedral of San Lorenzo one of the major churches of Trapani. Built in 1688 on the spot where an Arab watchtower once stood, which later became the church bell tower, it is a very particular set of styles.
Worthy of note is its façade-tower, built in 1714 by Giovan Biagio Amico, who animated it with statues representing the apostles and Jesus. Struck by bombing during the Second World War, it has never returned to its former glory since a large part of its facade has been damaged.
Inside you can admire the 22 sculptural groups of the so-called "Mysteries" which, made in the workshops of Trapani with wood and canvas, retrace the Passion of Christ.
The procession of the Mysteries: If you are in Trapani for the Easter weekend, you cannot absolutely miss the procession of the Mysteries, a 400-year-old tradition that attracts thousands of faithful from all over Sicily every year. The celebrations begin at 14pm on Good Friday and end 00 hours after Holy Saturday.
- in via S. Francesco D'Assisi 33. Easily reachable from all parts of the historic center, such as from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (120 m, 1 min) or from the Clock Tower (250 m, 3 min) - Get directions
- lun-sab 7:45-12:00 e 16:00-19:00, dom 10:00-12:00 e 16:00-19:00
8 - Church of Sant'Agostino
The Church of Sant'Agostino is instead one of the oldest churches in all of Trapani! Former chapel of the Templars, in 1101 it was dedicated to San Givoanni Battista. It was then granted to the Augustinian fathers who gave way to major renovations, bringing it to the aspect that we can still admire today.
One of the first things that stand out is the wonderful rose window on the external facade, very similar to that of the Erice Matrix. Nowadays, the church is there museum seat of the Polo Espsitivo of the Diocese of Trapani, founded in 2009 by Bishop Francesco Miccichè. Inside you can admire several temporary exhibitions on various themes, as well as permanent collections.
- in piazzetta Saturno. Easily accessible from all parts of the historic center, such as from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (280 m, 4 min) or from the Clock Tower (90 m, 1 min) - Get directions
- Diocesan Museum in winter Mon Fri 9: 00-13: 00, Sat 9: 30-12: 30 and 16: 00-20: 00, Sun and holidays 11: 00-13: 00, summer Mon-Fri 16: 30-19 : 30, 9: 30-12: 30 and 16: 00-20: 00, Sun and holidays 11: 00-13: 00 and 16: 00-19: 00
9 - Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum
Outside the historic center is the Agostino Pepoli Regional Museum, housed inside the ancient convent of the Carmelite Fathers, near the Sanctuary of Maria SS. Annunziata. The museum was born in the early 900s thanks to the private collections of Count Pepoli, in the following years it was enriched thanks to numerous other donations.
The Museum focuses on the development of the figurative arts in the territory of Trapani and its surroundings. Inside you can admire various paintings, sculptures, cribs of Trapani craftsmanship, goldsmith objects, with also jewels belonging to the treasure of the Madonna of Trapani, majolica, sacred relics and more. It is a must visit to get to know the city better!
- in via Conte Agostino Pepoli 180. Outside the historic center, reachable from the central railway station by car (2,5 km, 9 min) or on foot (2,4 km, 30 min) - Get directions
- Tue-Sat 9: 00-17: 00, Sun and holidays 9: 00-12: 00, in July and August Tue-Sat 9: 00-17: 30, Sun and holidays 9: 00-12: 30, closed Mon
- full € 6,00, reduced € 3,00
10 - La Salerniana Museum of Contemporary Art
Finally, if you are an art lover, you cannot miss La Salerniana Museum of Contemporary Art, located in the historic center and therefore easily accessible, to visit between a walk and another through the streets of the city! The art gallery is also a non-profit Cultural Artistic Association and has been based in the Palazzo della Vicaria since 2015.
Founded in 1972 in Erice by Giacomo Tranchida, inside the museum you can admire several works of the contemporary Italian art scene! The collection includes about 80 works including paintings and statues, arrived at the association thanks to donations or created precisely to be exhibited here.
- in via S. Francesco D'Assisi 54. Easily reachable from all parts of the historic center, such as from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (210 m, 3 min) or from the Clock Tower (350 m, 4 min) - Get directions
- mar-dom 10:30-12:30 e 16:30-19:30
- full € 4,00, reduced € 2,00
11 - Erice
A few km from Trapani (15,8 km) is Erice, perhaps one of the most famous places in Sicily and, since 2014, one of the most beautiful villages in Italy! From Trapani it can be easily reached by cable car, enjoying a wonderful view of all the surroundings, the climb takes 10 minutes (each way € 5,50, round trip € 9,00).
Erice is a place where rediscover the past and from which you can also admire the sea from above. Over the centuries it has been inhabited by Phoenicians, Normans, Arabs and Romans, who have left a visible sign of their passage. Here, a visit to the Castle of Erice, one of its most evocative buildings, and the city's Cathedral, whose origin probably dates back to the Empire of Constantine, is not to be missed.
- 15,8 km from Trapani. Accessible by the Trapani-Erice cable car (10 min) or by car (26 min), free parking available on site outside the center - Get directions
- Erice always accessible / Cable car Mon 13: 00-20: 00, Tue-Fri 8: 30-20: 00, Sat-Sun 9: 30-20: 30 / Castle and Cathedral of Erice from April to October 10: 00-18 : 00, from July to September 10: 00-19: 00, August 10: 00-20: 00
- Erice free / Cable car one way € 5,50, round trip € 9,00 / Full castle € 4,00, reduced € 2,00 / Duomo full € 2,50, reduced € 1,50
12 - Mangiapane Cave of Custonaci
The Mangiapane Cave is a wonderful natural attraction in the Custonaci area. You can easily reach it from Trapani by car. It is about an ancient prehistoric settlement that has now become a speleological geosite, possible to visit inside too!
The Mangiapane Cave is the largest of the 9 Custonaci caves, is also called the Grotta degli Uffizi and develops for 70 m in height, 13 m in width and 50 m in depth. The cave was inhabited from the Neolithic and remained inhabited until the 50s by the Mangiapane family. Inside they were several cave paintings and also some objects were found!
Living nativity scene of Custonaci: during the Christmas period, inside the cave, the "Living Nativity of Custonaci - The Nativity and the Traditional Crafts" takes place; an incredible historical reconstruction of the ancient peasant traditions of the area involving over 160 people. This tradition began in 1983 and still today attracts thousands of tourists every year.
- 18,2 km from Trapani. Accessible by car via SP20 and SP18 (25 min), free parking at the entrance to the Monte Cofano Reserve (400 m, 4 min) - Get directions
- from April to November 10: 00-18: 00 / Living nativity scene in late December and early January 16: 00-21: 00, consult the official website
- single admission € 3,00 / full living crib € 10,00, reduced € 5,00
13 - Monte Cofano Reserve
Near the Grotta di Custonaci there is the Natural Reserve of Monte Cofano, which it develops on the imposing promontory of Monte Cofano. 659 m high, this mountain is a Dolomite massif dating back to the Jurassic period, rich in typical Mediterranean flora and fauna.
It is a beautiful excursion to do to disconnect a little from the sea: in fact the reserve is full of numerous trails of varying difficulty, suitable for everyone and where it is very easy to find your way around. One of the most popular treks is the one that makes the entire tour of the mountain, for a duration of about 2 hours starting from Piano Alastre. You can find the info for all the trails, with relative difficulty, on the official website.
The reserve is located 23 km from Trapani. Accessible by car via SP 20 (30 min), free on-site parking "Parking Area for Hikers", starting point of Sentiero Monte Cofano - Get directions
14 - Cornino Bay
At the foot of the mountain is the Cornino Bay, also known as the Monte Cofano Beach! Here you can relax on the beach with a wonderful view of the mountain and the crystal clear sea in front of you. It is in fact the best place to relax after a trek in the reserve!
The Cornino Bay beach provides for an aided section, with umbrellas, deck chairs and sun loungers, moreover the promenade is full of clubs and all kinds of services! Also ideal for families with children. In the summer months it can be a bit crowded, so it's best to go in the morning.
- 18,4 km from Trapani. Reachable by car via SP20 (25 min), several on-site car parks (average cost € 1,00 for a day) - Get directions
- beach always accessible / Bathing establishments varying times, generally from 8:00 until after sunset
- free beach / bathing establishments variable prices based on rental
15 - Pizzolungo
Finally, just outside Trapani, less than 10 km away, is the town of Pizzolungo, in the municipality of Erice. It owes its name to the homonymous hill that overlooks the city and is known for its beautiful stretch of coast. Also, according to legend, it was precisely here that Aeneas landed after the doors of his father Anchises. In fact, here you can admire the Stele of Anchises, a monument built in 1930.
Worth a visit on July 26, day on which Sant'Anna, the patron saint of the town, is celebrated. A long procession is organized for the event and the picture of the saint is carried through all the streets of the city. It all ends with a fireworks display.
7 km from Trapani. Accessible by car via the SP10 (11 min), several car parks available in the city - Get directions
Other attractions to visit
In addition to Trapani, The beautiful surroundings are also worth a visit!
Lovers of the sea will find here a paradise: impossible not to visit too San Vito Lo Capo (38 km), without a doubt one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Italy! Do not miss the Riserva dello Zingaro, a wonderful unspoiled oasis (33,5 km). And again the towns of Scopello (35 km) and Castellammare del Golfo (37 km).
Also, if you are a history lover, you can't miss the two archaeological parks of Segesta and Selinunte (about 35 km), where you can admire spectacular temples and theaters, evidence of the Hellenic past of this land (admission from € 6,00).
Finally, if you have more time available, after the visit of Trapani we advise you to dedicate two or three days to the Egadi Islands, off the Sicilian coast, right in front of Trapani, from which numerous ferries depart (30 min, on average € 30,00). For a perfect day trip we recommend the island of Favignana, one of the most beautiful in Sicily, with crystal clear waters, numerous caves along the coast and an ideal backdrop for snorkelers (ferries from Trapani, 40 min, from € 12,00).
8 Things to do in Trapani/7
- Admire the Sunset from Mamacaura: 22 km from Trapani, this restaurant is located in front of the Saline di Marsala, in the Stagnone Reserve, where you can have an aperitif with a view of a thrilling sunset
- Salina di Marsala and Pink Beach: still in the territory of the Stagnone Reserve, you can visit the Saline Museum and even bathe in the pink-toned waters
- Trekking to the Zingaro: the Riserva dello Zingaro is a real unspoiled oasis, with spectacular views of the crystal clear sea. We advise you to take a day to devote completely to the reserve to enjoy one of the many treks
- Excursion by sea between Zingaro and Scopello: if you prefer to admire the Zingaro reserve in total relaxation, book an excursion via you will be able to enjoy the most beautiful coves along the stretch of coast that connects San Vito Lo Capo and Scopello
- Excursion to the Egadi Islands: Trapani is the perfect spot to enjoy a wonderful day trip to the Egadi islands and Favignana, located about half an hour by ferry from the city, an unmissable experience
- Participate in the events of San Vito lo Capo: San Vito is a very lively and active place that hosts important events. The most famous are the International Kite Festival at the end of May and the Cous Cous Fest at the end of September
- Taste the Cannolo di Dattilo: the "Cannolo di Dattilo" is according to many the best in the world. We advise you to take a detour from your itinerary to reach the town, which is just 13 minutes away by car
- Taste the Genoese from Erice: while visiting the pretty village, remember to stop at the Maria Grammatico pastry shop to taste the famous "Genoese", delicious sweets filled with custard
Plan your stay in Trapani: flights and hotels
Trapani is served byVincenzo Florio Airport (starting from € 80,00), but if you want you can also choose to arrive at Palermo Falcone-Borsellino Airport (starting from € 20,00), well connected by bus of the Autoservizi Salemi and Segesta companies (average cost € 9,00).
The best neighborhood to stay in is the historic center (accommodations from € 40,00 per night), this will allow you to move easily on foot, the best way to visit the city! Here the nightlife is concentrated.
Trapani is a perfect city also for a low cost holiday, as the cost of living is not too high! You can taste typical dishes of the tradition at more than affordable prices, or taste the tasty local street food, with even more competitive prices! Finally, there are many things to enjoy for free or at a low price, like a wonderful sunset over the sea from the western part of the historic center, a walk through the streets of the center and various attractions with free admission!