Trapani info tourist


  Narrowly situated between the sea and Mount Erice, the ancient Drepanon developed around its port. Originally it was a Sicanian village and it then became a small, fortified town where traders, fishermen and craftsmen from diverse populations lived for centuries, such as the Elyminians who populated Erice and a small group of Ionians. It was a small seaside town founded by the Phoenicians who sailed across the Mediterranean seas and made Trapani a trading Empire. From the IX Century BC the Phoenicians lost their independence and settled in the western Mediterranean. They founded Carthage and reinforced Trapani, transforming the latter into an important port for the control of various trading goods. In this period the history of Trapani is indissolubly linked to that of Carthage. The town assisted in the great naval battles between the Carthaginians and the Romans: the battle of 249 BC that witnessed the defeat of the Roman float, and the battle of the Egadi in 241 BC which allowed the Romans to occupy Trapani. The Roman period notably penalized the town which lost its political autonomy, land ownership and endured new taxes and impositions. In 395 Sicily, and Trapani itself, were taken over by the Western Roman Emperor. These were difficult years, also because of the numerous Barbaric invasions. The town was reborn under the domination of the Arabs who began their occupation of Sicily in 827.

The Arabs called Trapani Itrabinis, Tarabanis, Trapanesch and their presence significantly marked the town: in architecture, agriculture, art, language and culture. The port was enlarged, new districts were built and small ownership was reintroduced. The Arabs also introduced new productions; they built hydraulic-engineering works; revolutionised the fishing techniques, and brought the port back to its original splendour. In 1097 Trapani was conquered by the Norman Ruggero. This was yet another period of great prosperity for the land. The port enjoyed duty free trade, and the town began hosting consulates of the most important traders from Geneva, Pisa, Venice, Florence, Amalfi and Catalonia. The Roman Catholic religion became the official religion under the Normans. In the Suevian period, beginning from 1194, the importance of Trapaniís port was confirmed. Under the reign of Carlo díAngioí, Trapani endured a period of difficulty due to heavy tax pressures. The Sicilian Vespri of 1282, in which numerous notables from Trapani participated, brought the Angionian domination in Sicily to an end. This is when the Aragonese domination began.

 The town experienced a new urbanisation under Giacomo II of Aragon. Carlo V further developed the activities of traders and craftsmen. The Spanish domination ended in 1713. After the brief Sabaudian and Austrian dominations, from the second half of the seventh century, the Bourbonist reign began and governed Sicily until 1860. In this period the people of Trapani dedicated themselves to commerce and industry. Naval activity flourished, as well as the tuna and salt industries. While it proved to be disinterested in the 1820 insurrection, Trapani participated in the 1848 revolts. In 1899 King Umberto I bestowed the town with a gold medal for the events of 1848.



The town made an important contribution to the unification of Italy and confirmed its importance in the sectors of agriculture and food. However the geographical distance from the big markets brought an inexorable decline which was accentuated even more in the first years of the twentieth century and during the First World War. Yet the cultural and political activities remained particularly vivacious. During the twenty years of fascism the economy of the area marginally improved. The Second World War severely affected the town with the destruction of the entire district of San Pietro, the oldest part of Trapani, and of Garibaldi Theatre which was built in 1849. The town suffered twenty-eight air raids and was thus the ninth most bombarded town in the country. On 22 July 1943 the allied troops arrived in Trapaniís Square and found a population enduring dramatic living conditions. The difficult reconstruction period between 1950 and 1965 brought the town to re-establish industrial and commercial activities.
The earthquake of the Valley of Belice in January 1968 once again provoked repercussions and damage to the town of Trapani.