The Province of
About sixty mile west of Palermo, on the extreme tip of the island, the Elymians
have occupied and founded settlements since prehistoric time, in the area known as Trapani. They built a
fortress on top of the nearby mount San Giuliano to defend themselves from the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and the
indigenous populations. This city was called Erice and the settlements and the port were used as a trade center and
by the fishermen.
The port of Trapani, because of its curved shape, was named by the Greeks
Drepanon, which means
sickle. Because of the strategic
positions of this port-city, it has been disputed by all the powers in prehistory as well as historic times.
In fact, it was a naval base for the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Saracens and all the nations
that dominated the Mediterranean Sea
Trapani has a population of about 70,000 inhabitants, with an economy based on the canning
industry and fishing, in particular the tuna fishing that is carried out in the traditional manner. Extremely
important to the economy of the province is wine production, including Marsala wine. In addition, the economy
benefits from the trading of sea salt.
The Egadi Islands are part of the province of Trapani and included Pantelleria, famous for
Passito, a dessert wine, raisins and
capers, abundantly used in Trapani’s kitchens and for its medical quality (it is a
When it comes to the table, Trapani is an experience for your senses. How impressive is the
richness of its food, the colorful presentation, the flavors and its variety!
Cuscus alla Trapanese is
made with semolina cooked in a fish broth, as opposed to the North African style in which couscous is served
with meat and vegetable broth. Couscous cooked with water is offered as a dessert by adding milk, toasted
almonds and pistachios, raisin, honey and sugar.
Carciofi a fucuneddu are steamed artichokes stuffed with a combination of chopped anchovies, onions, garlic,
parsley and breadcrumbs.
There, tuna is cooked in every possible way: baked, barbequed, in sauce or fried and the taste is
irresistible. Cernia alla Trapanese is sliced grouper cooked with vegetables and served with puree. The puree is also a
delicious sauce when used as a condiment for spaghetti.
Other pasta dishes include spaghetti all’uovo
di tonno; pasta
seasoned with tuna
fish bottarga (tuna fish
eggs); pasta con aragoste, lobster
sauce with tomato, garlic and herbs; spaghettini con
melenzane, thin spaghetti with eggplants, tomatoes, capers, anchovies,
peppers and olives; pasta al pesto Trapanese; and pasta simply seasoned with fresh, raw garlic, basil
and oil or if you like, mix in chopped fresh tomato. These are some of the pasta specialties you can discover in
every home and in modest local trattorie.
Mazzara, almond paste pastries stuffed
with preserved apricots and citrons; ricotta cream turnovers baked or fried, called cassateddi; sfingi, which are fritters
stuffed with raisins and dusted with cinnamon and sugar; or the cannoli,
which are a special treats for breakfast, a snack or dessert. On the lighter side, combine some
in-season fruit with zabaglione al
Marsala or slowly sip a glass of vintage Marsala wine or Sicilian Gold, a light alcoholic beverage, as
an ideal way to conclude your dinner.