|Through nature between land and sea|
|The countryside overlooked from Erice consists of a wide valley leading to uncontaminated areas, where the marine and terrstrial environments meet and merge, providing the visitor with a series of alluring sights, from lovely coves to picturesque villages.|
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Here one can set off on a fascinating journey, starting from Valderice.
Situated on a hill and nearly jutting out to the sea, the town is surrounded by a pine forest which in summer hosts cultural event in its beautiful outdoor theatre obtained from a closed-down quarry.
On the coast the old tower of the Tonnara di Bonagia, today turned into a museum, testifies to the former business activities linked to the tuna fishing and processing industry.
Going further along the coast one can see the imposing mass of Mount Cofano rising sheer from the sea. The palolithic cave of Scurati, which opens on its slope, serves as the seat of a charming living crib every Christmas.
Higher on the mountain lies Custonaci, one of the most famous Italian centre of marble industry, which overlooks the valley from its beautiful Santuario della Madonna.
The promontory of San Vito lo Capo shares its name with the beach and the fishing village which developed around an old Saracen fortress, later turned into a shrine dedicated to San Vito. Tourism is the chief activity of this region. The climate, the beach, the sea, the lanes full of flowers, the intense scents and the breathtaking viws provide the visitor with unforgettable memories.
Between San Vito lo Capo and Castellamamre del Golfo the hillsides, gently sloping to the sea in a myriad of little coves, herald the beginning of a natural reserve, the Riserva naturale orientata dello Zingaro.
Narrow paths, specially laid out on the slopes, lead to the sea or climb up the hills, making it possible to sight one of the most intact Mediterranean ecosystems.
This area is the nesting territory for dozens of avian species: peregrine falcons, Bonelli's eagles, buzzards, kestrels, kites and other birds included in the red of endangered species. The reserve is areal oasis of biodiversity, also rich in many rare native plants like the dwarf palm, the symbol of Zingaro, which spontaneously grows in every recess and declivity.
In the middle of the reserve the prehistoric cave of Uzzo attests to the first human settlements in this area.
Strarting from the small village of Scopello, developed around an old Baglio, it is possible to set out on a wide-ranging journey, visitng the old tonnara, with its magnificent view on the cliffs, and then having a look at the pottery workshops.
The coast is characterized by the white shingly beach of Baia di Guidaloca, which is part of the amphitheatre-shaped Gulf of Castellammare.
This gulf, which stretches from Capo San Vito to Capo Rama, hosts the town bearing the same name at the foot of its southern rocky slopes.
The town's main activities are closely related to the location and development of the port, which lies in the place of the old emporium of Segesta.
During the Middle Ages Castellammare developed around the castle near the sea, and this older past is still detectable today. Originally a drawbridge must have linked the castle to the town.
Going away from the coast up to slope of Mount Bonifato, the town of Alcano is worth a visit, to admire the Castle of Conti di Modica, the Mother Church, the wonderful Church of SS. Paolo e Barolomeo and the superb Basilica of Maria Santissima Assunta. Moreover, one can taste the famous Bianco d'Alcamo white wine and go for an invigorating walk in the nearby woods called Bosco d'Alcamo.
Texts and photos, gently permitted, are property of A.P.T. Trapani - www.apt.trapani.it
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