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Trapani, a sickle over the sea

Trapani, a sickle over the sea

The city of Trapani, known as the City of the Sun and Sail, has developed a flourishing economic activity based on the extraction and trade of salt, and linked to its natural position, with the city projecting out into the Mediterranean, and its port, old commercial outlet for Eryx (modern Erice), a mountain town overlooking Trapani.

The economy today is based on the service sector, on fishing (in the past the fishing of red tuna with the “mattanza” slaughter method), on the extraction and export of marble and on activities related to trade and tourism.

Myth has it that a sickle which fell from the hands of Ceres or Saturn, the latter being the traditional patron god of the city, turned into a curved strip of land on which the city was then built. Due to its shape the city was named Drepanon ("sickle "in ancient Greek).

Aeneid, Virgil says that Anchises, the father of Aeneas, died in Drepanum and, after escaping from Dido, the Trojan hero returned there to celebrate the ludi novendiali games. The Elymians, a people based in western Sicily in prehistoric times and for whom Eryx (Erice) was one of the main centres, were probably the founders of the first settlement of Trapani.

The small village of Trapani was to be built on an island divided by a marshy inland waterway and it was used as the commercial port of Erice.

Trapani soon became a city-emporium thanks to its geographical position


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