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San Vito Lo Capo, Province of Trapani, Sicily

39 km from Trapani, the small town is situated on a bay at the foot of Monte Monaco between Capo San Vito and Punta Solanto. The town is a jewel of the Arab-Norman architecture, as well as a great destination for summer tourisms thanks to its white, fine sandy beaches and crystalline waters. Every summer the Cous-cous festival is also kept here, a cuisine competition with traditional dishes of the Arab and Sicilian traditions.

Info

  • Population: about 3,900 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 91010
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0923
  • Frazioni & Localities: Macari e Castelluzzo.

History

The commune was established only in the late 18th century, but the area was inhabited since very ancient times, as shown by arheological findings of the Paleolytic and Neolytic times in the many grottos opening on the sea. There is a legend of an ancient settlement of the 4th century BC, called Conturrana, which for some geological disaster fell into the sea.

The Saracens had a settlement here, and on that fortress a chapel was later built in the 13th century dedicated to San Vito. A legend says that the 20-year old Vito, born at Mazara del Vallo and persecuted at the time of Emperor Diocletianus, took refuge with his nurse Crescenza in a small village in this bay, which was buried in a landslide. To the sight, Crescenza was petrified, and a chapel was built on the spot, thanks to the many miracles recorded. The Sanctuary became also a fortress to protect the many pilgrims.

Then in the 18th century peasants and fishermen started to build their homes around the fortified Sanctuary, which gave rise to the town of San Vito Lo Capo.

What to see

  • The Museo del Mare, with important relics from the sea bottoms, and items from a shipwreck of Norman times.
  • 19th-century Palazzo La Porta, with fine majolicas and a luxuriant garden.
  • The Riserva Naturale dello Zingaro, which can be visited only on foot along well-kept paths, leading also to the Grotta dell'Uzzo, wherre traces were found of some of the earliest prehistoric settlements in Sicily.

Where to stay