CUSTONACI

 

This farming town of about 4,600 is located in the Trapani province; its territory comprises the Monte Sparagio, rising over 1,100m, where a lush area known as the Bosco di Giacalamaro has evolved.

The town was founded in the late-1700s; it currently comprises several administrative divisions and an old centre developed on two orthogonal axis around the central Santuario della Madonna di Custonaci.

The city economy primarily relies on the marble mining and processing. Its Perlato di Sicilia, avorio venato and fiorito, libeccio antico and bottoncino marble types are worldwide famous.

Endowed with a beautiful, unspoilt shore, Custonaci is an attractive destination for summer tourists. Particularly attractive are the seaside resorts of Cornino and Cala Buguto, the former being a lovely fishing village overshadowed by the Cofano Mount. From the coast, a trail facing the mount, winds its way past the 1500s Torre di San Giovanni di Cofano and the Piana di Frassino-Tuono. Two other trails, known as the Scaletta di Frassino and Scaletta di Maruzza, climb up the summit of the mount, skirting two impressive gorges and a splendid Mediterranean vegetation.

The coastline is embellished with various grottoes and caves, among which are the Grotta Rumena and the Grotta Miceli, renowned for both their naturalistic charm and prehistoric relics.

The Mangiapane with a nice courtyard where every year in Christmas a Living Nativity is set up, the deep Maria di Custonaci, the Buffa, the Crocifisso and the Mandorle grottoes are also noteworthy.

A host of old farms and villas with their typical inner courtyards known as baglio are scattered across the area testifying to its old agricultural roots. The Baglio Cofano, within the Riserva Monte Cofano, and the large Baglio Mangiapane, are especially worth-seeing.

The Santuario di Maria SS. di Custonaci has been a major goal of pilgrimages for many centuries. This, erected on an old chapel, was built in different epochs hence combining different styles and features spanning the Gothic, the Romanesque and the Renaissance. Portrayed on a painting of the 15th century is a fine Madonna.