Travel and Culture in Sicily
Trapani’s name originates from ancient Greek drepanon that means "sickle", surely because of the shape of its coastline. The town and its harbour actually existed even before the Greeks arrived: it seems that Sicani people founded them in the XI century b.C. Around the same time Eryx (Erice) was founded by Elymians, a population of Troyan origins, while the Phoenicians founded Mozia. Nowadays, Selinunte's ruins, Segesta's theatre and temple, Mozia's digs still witness the splendour of these past civilisations.
Right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, a few miles off Trapani, the Romans and the Carthaginians fought in 241 b.C. a famous naval battle that gave Rome final supremacy in the whole ‘Mare nostrum’. After the Roman and Byzantine periods, an Arab rule ensued for almost two centuries, leaving a deep influence in local culture, from language to food habits.
In the late Middle Ages, the Norman conquest brought Sicily back into the Christian western world. Trapani and nearby Erice awoke to a new life and started a cultural and economic growth that would last until the 18th century.
Until the Second World War, Trapani has been a major maritime commercial centre thanks to its port as well as salt extraction, tuna fishing and processing and to coral manufacturing.
Trapani photographies kindly granted by Scuola Virgilio (Trapani)