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Trapani was founded by the Elymians, who used it as an agricultural centre for their hill-top fortress town of Eryx (modern-day Erice). When the Phoenicians took over, Trapani was turned into an important port. During the First Punic War the very same Phoenicians scored a famous victory over the Romans there in a famous naval battle.

Trapani's small port buzzes with ferry traffic zipping to and from the remote Egadi Islands and the mysterious volcanic rock island of Pantelleria, not far from Tunisia. Trapani's adjacent historic centre, with its small but compelling maze of ancient churches and gold-stone palazzi (mansions), is a mellow place to stroll, for both locals and travellers awaiting their next boat.

Trapani’s old town centre, much of which has recently been restored, is well worth a visit and is an essential point of departure for the magnificent Egadi Islands, just a few miles off its coast.

Top Attractions

Chiesa Anime Sante del Purgatorio

Just off the corso in the heart of the city, this church houses the impressive 18th-century misteri, 20 life-sized wooden effigies depicting the story of Christ's Passion, which take centre stage during the city's dramatic Easter Week processions every year.

Museo Nazionale Pepoli

Tucked away in the atmospheric cloister of a 14th-century Carmelite monastery, this wonderful decorative-arts museum dating from 1906–08 houses the collection of Agostino Pepoli (1848–1910), a local count who devoted his life to salvaging Trapani's local arts and crafts, most notably 17th- and 18th-century coral carvings, all the rage in Europe before Trapani's offshore coral banks were decimated.

Villa Margherita

Trapani's majestic central park, first laid out in 1878, is a relaxing spot to lounge in the shade of centurion trees, admire and learn about dozens of unusual tree species (dragon trees, Chinese fan palms, ornamental cycads), and bring the children to see the resident peacock and ducks swanning around in the pond.

Palazzo Senatorio

Dating to 1672 and designed by famed Trapanese architect Andrea Palma, this three-tiered baroque palazzo dominates the eastern end of pedestrianised Corso Vittorio Emanuele.


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