Castelvetrano, near Trapani, epitomises history, beauty and culture.
To fully appreciate the unique character of this town, let’s explore its historic centre, which still retains a certain aristocratic character due to its ancient history, to the Tagliavia family, the former lords of the town; an atmosphere of nobility that has never waned.
Let’s immediately go in search of the Church of San Domenico, built in 1470 by the Tagliavia family and completed by Don Carlo d’Aragona.
Entering the church, we immediately understand the meaning of this nickname: the Sistine Chapel of Sicily, with rich and harmonious decorations and splendid stucco work by Antonio Ferrara.
Our walk continues with a visit to the Chiesa Madre, which we can recognise by its beautiful 16th-century rose window. Inside, the church contains a wooden panel depicting the Madonna della Misericordia, while the nave is covered with paintings of effigies, coats of arms and musical instruments.
The beautiful Sicilian Baroque Fountain of the Nymph, a few steps from the church, will not go unnoticed. It is 10 metres high and consists of four tiers of basins: in the last one, positioned at the top, sits a nymph holding a wineskin from which water flows. In the city you will hear this monument referred to as the “Ninfuzza di li cannola” and its importance is not only artistic; when it was built it was, in fact, a state-of-the-art piece of technology.
Leaving the city, we move west to reach the Byzantine Cube of the Holy Trinity of Delia, still a masterpiece of Byzantine-Norman art. The cube is still well preserved, protected against the elements and the ravages of time.
Like all Byzantine cubes, the church is characterised by three external apses; while on the opposite side of the building, there are three doors, two lateral and one main door: the main door was reserved for men, the others for women who took part in the celebrations from the sidelines.
Before leaving Castelvetrano, we look out for the famous black bread, made from Tumminia durum wheat flour, one of Sicily’s ancient grains.