Trapani sightseeing

The sights of Trapani, Sicily

The two most significant sights are inland on Via Conte A. Pepoli in the newer part of town (take bus 25), but you get a lot more historic character wandering the scythe of land that contains the historic city.

The Museo Regionale Pepoli, in the ex-convent of the Camelitani at Via Conte A. Pepoli 200 (tel. +39-0923-553-269,, spans the 13th to 19th centuries with painting (Titian, Ribera, Francesco Solimena), sculpture (Antonello and Vincenzo Gagini) and decorative arts (17th-century terracotta presepio figures, and majolica from across Italy, including a locally-produced 17th-century floor scene of fishermen). It is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 1:30pm and 3 to 7:30pm, Sunday 9am to 12:30pm. (Adm)

Across the street is the entrance to the church of SS. Annunziata (tel. 0923-539-184). You enter near the altar end, and behind the altar area, beyond an arch with Gagini statues, is a chapel containing the revered Madonna of Trapani statue, possibly carved by Nino Pisano. The devout circle behind to stroke her marble robes and the silver wings of her angel companions. In the nave, head to the last chapel on the left, the nicely decorated Cappella dei Pescatori which is almost all that survives from the 15th-century incarnation of this church. The church is open 7am to noon and 4pm to 7pm (8pm in summer).

Corso Vittorio Emanuele is a pleasantly wide pedestrian street arching down the spine of Trapani's sickle-shaped old city, starting at the 1672 Palazzo Senatorio (or Cavaretta) that blocks off the landward end at the perpendicular Via Torrerarsa. But before we head down the Corso, walk behind Palazzo Senatorio to Piazza di Saturno, with the tourist office, a 14th century Fountain of Saturn, and a geometric rose window in the facade of the always-closed S. Agostino, a Knights Templar church from the 14th century. If, facing the Palazzo Senatorio, you turn left up Via Torrerarsa, you'll come out at the busy fishing docks and the 19th-century loggia under which the morning catch is sold.

The first church Corso V. Emanuele passes on the right is the 17th-century Collegio dei Gesuiti, whose theatrical baroque facade by Natale Masuccio incorporates snarling masks and groaning telamons. A bit further up is the Cathedral of S. Lorenzo, with a classically-styled baroque portico just a little too grand for the size of the street (and for the church inside, for that matter, though the stuccoes are nice), and you can't quite step back far enough to take it all in. Walk two blocks left on Via Giglio to see the majolica dome and eroded saints on the facade of Purgatorio church (tel. +39-0923-21-321), where they store the 17th-century misteri, figurative groups crafted of wood and papier-mâché that are paraded through the city on Good Friday. The church is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9am to 1pm.

The squared-off 1673 Torre di Ligny at the tip of Trapani's sickle hosted anti-aircraft guns in World War II but today houses a small Museo di Mare/Preistorico (tel. +39-0923-22-300). The ground floor is a hodgepodge of obsidian arrowheads, lion claws, hippo molars, and hyena poop (and, in a twist of irony, the skull of a giant dormouse and femur of a dwarf elephant). Upstairs is a collection of Roman and Carthaginian pots fished from the sea, all the more fascinating for being encrusted with barnacles and coral. There are great views of the Egadi Islands from the roof terrace.

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