The tour we propose today runs through the western Sicily which is made of: Palermo, Agrigento, and Trapani. Let’s begin with Palermo, the regional capital!
Not only the largest and most important Sicilian but also the Italian Capital of Culture in 2018: it is Palermo, which earns this title thanks to its countless sites of historical, artistic, and cultural interest. Here are the most relevant monuments!
- In the “Cattedrale Metropolitana Primaziale Della Santa Vergine Maria Assunta”, seven architectural styles, Byzantine, Romanesque, Norman, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical merge. From 3 July 2015, it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage;
- The “Cappella Palatina” is a three-aisled basilica located inside the architectural complex of the “Palazzo dei Normanni”. It is famous for its mosaics, especially for the Christ Pantocrator (in the apse) and for those inside the dome;
- The “Palazzina Cinese”, the ancient royal residence of the “Borbone delle due Sicilie”, which was realised by Giuseppe Venanzio Marvuglia;
- The “Teatro Massimo Vittorio Emanuele” is the most massive lyrical theatre building in Italy and the third in Europe (after the Opéra National in Paris and the Staatsoper in Vienna).
Palermo means culinary tradition too: just think of cannoli, cassata, and its typical street food: ” pane e panelle”! A sesame seed bun filled with the traditional chickpea flour fritters. And don’t forget to try a simple, tasty sandwich just with salt, oregano, and Olio Val di Mazara DOP!
You can’t quit visiting Monreale and Cefalù: the first one with the “Cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova”, the second one with the “Basilica Cattedrale della Trasfigurazione”, both famous for their breathtaking Byzantine mosaics.
When you say “Agrigento”, you immediately think of the “Valle dei Templi” with the archaeological remains of ten Doric temples, three sanctuaries, and numerous necropolises, as well as unique hydraulic works such as the Kolymbetra Garden and several hypogea, including one that you can visit.
Few minutes, and you reach “Scala dei Turchi” (literally, Turkish Stairs), a rocky cliff on the coast of Realmonte little town. It’s a truly unique place in the world which is so-called because in the past it was a safe harbour for the pirates (conventionally, Turks).
And don’t miss a fish barbecue seasoned with Olio Val di Mazara DOP, which is produced in the Agrigento province!
The province of Trapani hides several treasures, starting from the “Riserva Naturale Orientata Saline di Trapani e Paceco” (almost 1000 hectares) which offers shelter to numerous migratory birds species and where the ancient activity of the salt extraction is carried out.
In Castelvetrano there are the ruins of Selinunte, an ancient Greek city. The archaeological park areas are the Acropolis (with temples and fortifications), the necropolises, and the three hills: the eastern one (with temples), the Gàggera (with the sanctuary), and the Manuzza (with the ancient settlement).
Let’s not forget Segesta, whose archaeological park with the Doric temple and the theatre, which is partially excavated in the rock, is particularly interesting.
Last but not least: Erice, a charming medieval town. Walking through its streets, you immediately notice the Cyclopean walls (8th and 7th centuries BC). And don’t miss the “Real Chiesa Madrice Insigne Collegiata”, a stunning gothic cathedral.
Two DOP oils are produced in Trapani province: the Extra Virgin Olive oil Valli Trapanesi and the Extra Virgin Olive oil Valle del Belice.