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Castellammare del Golfo, Province of Trapani, Sicily

Castellammare del Golfo - whose name can be translated as "Sea Fortress of the Gulf", is so named because of the ancient fortress in the harbor, that also gives the name to the gulf, Golfo di Castellammare. Today the town's economy, previously based mostly on fishing, has undergone a remarkable tourist development, thanks to the beauty of the Gulf, the wealth ot artistic and historical monuments, and the many natural attractions, such as the Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro.

Info

  • Population: about 14,000 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 91014
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0924
  • Patron Saint: Madonna Santissima del Soccorso, celebrated on 21 August
  • Frazioni & Localities: Balata di Baida, Scopello

History

The town rose many centuries BC as a port of Segesta one of the main fortresses of western Sicily, and was known as Emporium Segestanum, when the area was inhabited by the mysterious people called Elimi.

Segesta, under the influence of the Carthagenians, was for long centuries in conflict with the nearby Greek town of Selinunte. When the Greeks left the island and after the Romans defeated the Carthagenians, Segesta declined in power, whereas the ancient Emporium maintained its importance under the Romans.

A new period began with the arab conquest in 827 AD. The Emporium was renamed Al Madarig, and became a stronghold and commercial center of the Saracens, who also established a first tonnara (tuna capture plant).

In the 11th century the Normans defeated the Arabs, and the place began to be called Castello a mare; in the Aragonese period (1281 -1410), the town was a barony of Federico d'Antiochia and an important grain trade port. A remarkable development took place in the following centuries, when the name Castellammare del Golfo began to be used.

Events

  • 21 August, Historical re-enactment of the English attack to the harbor, when the town was miraculously saved by the Madonna di l'assicursu (Madonna del soccorso).

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