Castellammare del Golfo
Castellammare del Golfo is an important rural and commercial centre – placed slightly sloping right at bottom of its homonymous gulf – situated on the north-western coast of Sicily, exactly 70 Km away on the western side of Palermo. Castellamare was the seat of the ancient Segesta’s emporium and the chief landing-place to Erice and Segesta. In 827 A.D. – under the rule of the Arabs who built up their fortress there – Castellammare became an invincible stronghold. In the following centuries the present “castello a mare” was enlarged and fortified by the Normans. A splendid coast – rich in little creeks with low soundings together with rough rocks and needle-shaped marine crags lapped by crystalline waters – is characteristic of the natural environment of the Gulf of Castellammare. Under the historical and architectural point of view the “bagli” (courtyards) together with the “torri” (guard towers) and the “tonnare” (places where the tunny-massacre occurred) are the most characteristic signs of the territory of Castellamare. Worth visiting are: the Castle, the Mother Church, the “Al Madarig” flight of steps, the seafaring activities’ museum. In the outskirts: the ancient village of Scopello, suggestive rural little hamlet settled around a peculiar “baglio” (courtyard) tracing back to the seventeenth century; the “Tonnara di Scopello”, ancient seafaring hamlet built up by the Arabs right on the very site of the mythic town of Cetaria; the “Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro” (Natural Reserve), an authentic natural paradise surprisingly still surviving in the integrity of its extraordinary and primitive beauty.