An ideal triangle that binds myth, history and nature. This could be the clue for the interpretation of the multiform scenery of the province of Trapani, forever a melting pot of different cultures and great artistic traditions.
To find the superimposition of styles and epochs that make of it a unique territory, it is sufficient to travel from Erice to Trapani, from Salemi to Marsala up to the island of Pantelleria, where important remains enclose millennia of the history of the Mediterranean civilizations. In these places the grandiose man-made works challenge the majesty of nature in its multiple manifestations, from the beautiful and crystalline sea to the magnificent reefs, to the thermal baths born of a now dormant volcanic activity. Sometimes wild and inviolate, the nature of Trapani is also docile and generous. The perfect geometries of rows give sweet grapes, from which vintage wines such as Marsala and Moscato di Pantelleria are made.
Over the entire provincial territory stands out, unmistakable, the profile of Mount Erice, on whose top one can still feel the magic of the ancient medieval village of the homonymous town. Myth and fantasy envelop the history of Erice, venue of pilgrimages and a sacred place for the pagans. The legends tell us that Venus, goddess of beauty and fertility, built here her eagle's nest in which to hide in fog her lovers from the irreverent curiosity of mortals. The town centre keeps intact the charm of an ancient fortified village, with small streets cobbled with paving, court-yards full of flowers and shops selling typical handicraft, like the refined confectioner's where one can enjoy the traditional almond-paste sweets.
At the foot of Mount Erice stands Trapani, a remarkable example of the osmotic blend of different cultures. Here the innumerable peoples that have come and gone in the course of the ages, from the Phoenicians to the Carthaginians, from the Romans to the Arabs and up to more recent times, have left deep marks in the urban tissue. On the coastal section that extends from Trapani to Marsala, the view of the basins for the collection of salt is quite charming; here and there it is punctuated by old mills once used to mill salt, today partly restored and open to visitors.
At the end of the salt road the visitor reaches the lovely view of the Riserva dello Stagnone, Sicily's most extended natural lagoon, where rare species of birds find refuge. In the background there is the island of Mothia, one of the richest and most interesting Phoenician settlements in the world. We are now at the gates of Marsala, a town made famous all over the world by the homonymous dessert wine. In addition to its flourishing wine-producing activity that has witnessed through the years the birth of innumerable cellars, the town offers Punic, Roman, Norman, Spanish and Arab artefacts of great historical and artistic value.
Moving inland, other areas interested in Marsala Doc production are the townships of Salemi and Gibellina. While the former, despite the ruinous earthquake of 1968, has kept an important part of its artistic heritage, Gibellina is reliving as a post-modern art town with futurist churches and a laboratory of contemporary sculpture. Another Doc wine of the road is Moscato di Pantelleria which, in its Naturale and Passito versions, has been produced from Zibibbo grapes from time immemorial on the homonymous island. It is difficult to summarise in just a few lines the beautiful landscapes of the island of Pantelleria. Among the versants of its numerous hills called "cůddie" and the spectacular coasts, it cherishes views and attractions such as beautiful marine caves with silver hues, imposing reefs, dozens of extinct volcanoes and natural saunas. The real symbol of the island is the Caper, labelled Pgi since 1996, that grows ubiquitously behind every rock of the island and that returns in all of its typical dishes, from pesto pantesco to the pâté, served by the inhabitants at every occasion. Even the local houses, called dammusi, are characteristic of Pantelleria; they are built in black lavic rock with a dome-shaped roof, inherited from Arab architecture, often placed side by side to the so-called Arab gardens, high rock constructions without a roof, built to repair fruit trees from the sirocco wind.