The area of Trapani, to the west of Palermo, is an ideal starting point for exploring the most beautiful places in western Sicily. From the beaches of Castellammare del Golfo and San Vito Lo Capo, to the rock formations of Scopello, and the Zingaro nature reserve, the Tyrrhenian coast offers magnificent marine scenery and areas of outstanding beauty.
The town of Trapani itself, in the extreme north-west of Sicily, known as "the town between two seas" is a popular destination with tourists from all over the world, for its lively historical centre with its boutiques, restaurants, cafès and bars.
Today, Trapani's old town centre, much of which has recently been restored, is well worth a visit. There are several interesting churches in Trapani, including the town's restored cathedral, the Cattedrale di San Lorenzo which, despite its later Baroque makeover, dates to the fourteenth century. The excitingly-named Chiesa del Purgatorio is the home of the sculptures which are carried through Trapani during the town's famous Easter procession. On Good Friday these twenty wooden statues, known as the Misteri, are carried through the streets by robed citizens.
Around Trapani, places of interest include the medieval walled hill-town Erice, Marsala (famous for its wine) and the ancient Greek site of Selinunte. One of the best excursions - and an excellent base for a few days - is a three-island archipelago just off the coast, the Egadi Islands. Two of the islands can be reached from Trapani in only half an hour, and they are great places to relax, swim, dive, cycle and potter around.
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