Castellammare del Golfo

In Castellammare del Golfo, history, nature and good food come together and accompany the traveller during his stay to discover an authentic Sicily, amidst nature reserves, crystal-clear sea and unforgettable scenery.

The small town of Castellammare del Golfo is located in the province of Trapani, a short distance from Palermo and San Vito lo Capo, and includes some of Sicily's most evocative places such as part of the Riserva Orientata dello Zingaro (Oriented Zingaro Nature Reserve) and the Tonnara di Scopello (Tuna fishery). The peculiarity of Castellammare del Golfo is its panoramic position: it rises, in fact, right on the slopes of Mount Inici, lies gently on the gulf and is bordered to the west by Capo San Vito, making it a favourite destination for travellers from all over Italy and beyond. The town was known since Greek times, although its most important landmark, the Castle on the Sea (from which it takes its name) dates back to the Arab-Norman period, later rebuilt in the 14th century by the Aragonese. The coast includes low, sandy beach areas and rocky stretches where it is possible to find coves with clear water, especially north-west of the town. The latter is characterised by an alternation of wide, airy streets flanked by narrow lanes, long flights of steps and small winding streets that bear witness to the ancient urban layout: this picturesque mixture makes for pleasant walks and visits to the town where there is no shortage of vantage points with views over the gulf.

The typical dishes of Castellammare del Golfo are those of Trapani cuisine, made up of tasty foods where the sea and Mediterranean products are the protagonists. Busiate alla Castellammarese, are a type of long pasta similar to fusilli to be eaten with squid, capers and anchovies. Tuna and swordfish are of excellent quality and, in addition to seasoning excellent first courses, are unmissable on the grill. Swordfish can also be found rolled up, stuffed with breadcrumbs, capers, citrus peel and pine nuts: a real delicacy. Definitely not to be missed is a taste of Trapanese couscous, made with fish and seafood, and pasta with Trapanese pesto, a variation of the classic pesto with the addition of local tomatoes and almonds. On summer days, then, you must try Trapanese caponata, a dish made with aubergines, onions, tomatoes, pine nuts and toasted almonds, delicious eaten on its own or with freshly baked warm bread. But did you know that Castellammare del Golfo is also famous for its truffles? This is found on Mount Inici and is much appreciated in salads and first courses. As for desserts, you will be spoilt for choice: you should definitely try those made with almond paste, sometimes enriched with chocolate or pistachios, and cassatelle: sweet, fried pastry filled with soft ricotta and chocolate drops. There is no shortage, of course, of cannoli, cassate and fruit granita, fresh, creamy and with a genuine, authentic flavour.

In Castellammare del Golfo, the year ends on a high note with the appointments of the Christmas calendar dedicated to concerts and musical performances, in the evocative setting of the historic centre where the now characteristic markets are arranged in an atmosphere of festivity and joy. A very special event linked to ancient crafts and, in particular, to the art of embroidery is Filo in Festa, organised in June: on this occasion, events, exhibitions and embroidery courses are organised to valorise and make known one of the city's oldest traditions. A much-awaited event, then, is the festival dedicated to the patron saint, the Madonna del Soccorso: the festival is held from 19 to 21 August and the most evocative moment is the Historical Re-enactment of Nostra Principalissima Patrona, which tells of the attack on the port by British ships, averted thanks to the intervention of the Madonna del Soccorso. Another event not to be missed is the Pani Cunzatu Fest, in September in the village of Scopello, where the traditional bread seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, tomato, cheese, anchovies and spices is celebrated to the rhythm of Sicilian folk music.

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