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San Vito Lo Capo is located in the centre of a coast, which is dotted with places of interest, from Castellammare del Golfo to the Egadi Islands, an itinerary to follow, which always includes the sea.
The Nature Reserves
The Zingaro Nature Reserve is a nature paradise: over 7 kilometres of pristine coastline made up of rocky slopes, covered by a rich Mediterranean scrub, descending steeply into the sea from a height of over 900 metres. Here the rock gives way to crystal clear waters on which pebble coves follow one another, some reachable by land, others only by sea. It is a magical place where flora and fauna create and inhabit enchanting landscapes, to be discovered also by way of excursions along the many and diversified trekking routes.
A short distance further west from San Vito Lo Capo, the Monte Cofano Nature Reserve is characterized by the shape of the rocky relief, which is almost a pyramid with its base on the sea, on which endemic birds and fauna nest and live. The human settlements are of particular importance: the two Towers - that of San Giovanni, which is part of the coastal lookout system, and that of the ancient Tonnara, and the Mangiapane Cave, in Scurati, a human settlement dating back to the Palaeolithic age. There are various nature trails with varying degrees of difficulty, always with breath-taking views.
Saltpans of Trapani and Paceco
The sea is also the protagonist in the Salt Pan Reserve, where seawater has been "cultivated" for millennia to extract the salt: it is carried into the salting tanks by means of mills, thanks to the strength of the sun and the wind, the water evaporates, letting the salt crystals emerge gradually until completely dry. At this point, the salt is collected and accumulated near the pools in pyramids covered with terracotta tiles, which are typical “installations” and are visible on the coastal road. The endemics are particular...In this environment made extreme by the very high salinity; there is a great variety of migratory birds, such as flamingos and the avocet, the symbol of the Reserve.
The Seaside Locations
In these places, human activity has always developed around the sea. The “Tonnare”, now abandoned establishments used for the fishing and processing of Mediterranean blue-fin tuna can be seen, one after another along the entire coast. The one in Scopello has access to the sea next to a cove of pebbles on which there are beautiful and characteristic sea stacks. On the fortress that overlooks it, its tower is an ancient ruin alongside the coastal watchtower. The real village, higher up, is characterized by a Baglio, an ancient human settlement that is still inhabited.
A seafaring village from the beginning, Castellammare owes its name to the castle built by the Arabs on a promontory jutting out into the sea. A visit to the town is necessary, both to admire its naturalistic beauties, the splendid beaches, the coves surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub, and to discover its historical and characteristic places. The caves that open onto the rocky ridge are interesting and a destination for speleological excursions. Also not to be missed is the pleasure of tasting the local seafood cuisine, a triumph of flavours and aromas.
Off the coast of Trapani, on the extreme western tip of Sicily, is the Egadi archipelago. It is in a protected marine area and is made up of four islands, each with its own unique characteristics. The main islands are Favignana - seat of the Eguseo municipality and of the former Florio Tonnara tuna factory. It is famous for its breath-taking coves, with overhanging or sloping rocks on turquoise waters and wonderful backdrops, particularly Cala Rossa. Levanzo is smaller and less frequented, but no less interesting thanks to its landscapes and bathing places, such as Cala Minnola, a pine forest on the sea. Marettimo, the farthest, formerly "Isola Sacra", is wonderful for combining the pristine sea with the beauty of the mountains and woods, with the summit of Monte Falcone almost 700 metres high. An excursion to the Egadi Islands is certainly not to be missed: it is not uncommon for dolphins to accompany boats in these pristine waters.
A destination that is not to be missed during a visit to the area is the Segesta Archaeological Park that rises in a natural context of great beauty, on Mount Barbaro, in the territory of Calatafimi. A guided itinerary is recommended, to discover the history of what was once an Elymian city (people of Trojan origin), upon which later constructions were superimposed. You will be able to learn more about its monuments, which are famous all over the world: the Doric Temple and the spectacular stone theatre, which opens onto the valley below and is still today a stage for performances.
A visit to Erice, an ancient medieval village perched on the mountain of the same name, from which the view sweeps across the entire hinterland and coastal area below, means finding yourself in an enchanted place. Built around the temple of the Ericina Venus, who was celebrated by the Romans but given other names, first by the Elymians and then by the Phoenicians, the town at the summit is protected by ancient Punic walls and subsequent fortifications from the Norman era. Within, narrow paved streets wind between the stone walls, behind which, hidden from view by small doors or glimpsed through gates, the typical flowery courtyards are spaces onto which the houses open. The many churches are splendid, from the majestic Gothic Mother Church to San Martino and San Giuliano with their frescoes. The craftsmanship is of good quality, including ceramics and rugs of a thousand colours; the traditional conventual sweets and pastries are delicious, the variations of almond paste, the Genoese pasties stuffed with milk cream, whose scents spread through the streets, an irresistible appeal.