CASTELLAMMARE DEL GOLFO
Set in the beautiful Bay of Castellammare stretching from Capo San Vito to Capo
Rama headlands, the town once was the main port and principal trading post for the ancient cities of Segesta and Erice. In the centre of the town stands the medieval castle which gave it its name. Today, Castellammare del Golfo is a renowned holiday resort.
Alcamo – Approx 11km to the south. The name of the town is suggestive of the 13C poet Cielo d’Alcamo, author of a well-known work entitled Rosa Fresca Aulentissima (The Fresh Fragrant Rose), one of the eariest texts to be written in Italian. One glance at the landscape, populated with vineyards, is likely to prompt more basic – though no less pleasant – associations with the local dry white wine which bears the town’s name. The towns churches contain works by members of the Gagini family (16C) and by Serpotta, one of the Sicilian masters of the Baroque. The main works are to be found in the churches of Santa Oliva, San Francesco d’Assisi, San Salvatore and the imposing Chiesa Madre, the main church, which has a fine 15C chapel.
Overlooking Piazza Repubblica, which has been laid out with gardens, is the Castello dei Conti di Modica. The castle, built for the Counts of Modica in the 14C, is rhomboid in shape and has two rectangular and two round towers. Gothic two-light windows pierce the northern side.
Something to whet the appetite
A few kilometres southeast of Alcamo, in the direction of Camporeale in the district of Virzě, is the Cantina Sperimentale Istituto Regionale della Vite e del Vino, the Regional Experimental Vine and Wine Institute where a considerable number of innovative wines can be tasted.