Salemi, nestled on the hill of the Belice Valley, surrounded by the glimmering green of vineyards and olive groves, rises around its Norman-Swabian Castle. The village, that bears the mark of Medieval style, is right in the middle of Trapani area and looks delightful with its maze of stone-paved narrow streets, quite like a parlor. Due to its particular charm, it joins the club of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy“.

The ancient Halicyae, as the town was once called, has passed through every historical event related to the oldest settlements in Sicily. From the Elymians onwards, it met the legendary Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Goths and Byzantines,  but its current name comes from the Arabian word Salam, which means peace.

The Arabs brought spices, such as saffron, clove and cinnamon, which joined the local natural flavourings like  lemons, oranges and peaches as well as thyme and oregano, belonging to the rich spontaneous vegetation of the Mediterranean scrub. In other words, the deliciously fragrant essences and the colors that make Sicily a large and varied land.

The history of Salemi can be traced along the narrow streets that lead to the Giudecca, the Jewish old area, or through its Islamic district named Rabato, or also visiting the Norman  Swabian Castle and the remains of its ancient Cathedral. But you cannot miss the Museum of Sacred Art, in the former Jesuit College, which houses, in its wonderful rooms, a copy of the House of Loreto, so perfectly  reproduced  and delightful with its frescoed vaults and the statues by Laurana and Gagini!  The Museum of Risorgimento  and the poignant Museum of Mafia are worth a visit.

Such an important history has not passed in vain, but has left a well-preserved and usable evidence in the archaeological areas of Mokarta, Monte Polizo and San Miceli, as well as in the Ancient Fornace Sant’Angelo.

This fascinating artistic heritage is today enhanced by the Museum Network of Salemi which includes, as in a single museum, all the artistic, cultural and natural resources of the town, within the broader and more ambitious project of the Belicina Museum Network which involves the whole territory of Belice.

Salemi still preserves the ancient tradition of devotional loaves. On the occasion of the religious feasts dedicated to San Joseph, on March 19, Sant’Antonio Abate, on January 17, and San Biagio, on  February 3, local people prepare special artistic loaves having an elaborate baroque style.

Not only grandmothers, but also pastry chefs and bakers of Salemi have the task to carry  on the tradition and repeat the old, heady scents of the Feast foods by preparing cudderedde and cavadduzzi (special loaves prepared for San Giuseppe and  San Biagio festivals).

But, hereabouts, the Mediterranean diet reaches its apotheosis in the busiata, a handmade pasta shape that is twisted around a spindle (hence the name). They can be seasoned with different sauces.

At short distance from here, we find some wonderful and evocative places like Segesta e SelinunteMothia, the Stagnone Nature Reserve, Marsala, Scopello, San Vito Lo Capo and Erice.

busiate alla trapanese -ph.Robianni

busiate -ph. Robianni