Today, villas in Sicily offer peace and tranquillity. However, in the past the coast was often attacked by Barbary pirates!
Sicily is a stunning island off the coast of the southernmost part of Italy and only 100 miles away from the coast of North Africa. It has had a chequered past, with many different civilisations invading and each leaving their own distinct mark on both the language and food. It is a truly fascinating and beautiful place to visit on a holiday.
The Stunning Western Coast
There are many excellent villas in Sicily to choose from all over the island, but the western coast is particularly lovely, being away from the busier tourist areas. Trapani has one of the loveliest stretches of coastline in all of Italy. Here it is possible to experience the peace and tranquillity of the region and swim in the immaculate crystal blue waters. There are also some protected natural reserves where you can find different walks, discovering beautiful beaches, flowers, cliffs and caves along the way.
The small seaside town of Cornino is overlooked by Monte Corfano, which forms part of the Monte Cofano Natural Reserve, and has a small, protected bay where you can swim in the stunningly clear water. This is a wonderful place to visit to enjoy invigorating hikes along the unspoilt coastal path. Villas in Sicily situated within access of this lovely area are ideal to use as a base for further exploration.
Nature and History
The nearby nature reserve is not just astoundingly beautiful, there are some fascinating archaeological sites to visit as well. You can explore caves that were used as prehistoric settlements and, in the 9th century, by religious hermits. More recently, during the Second World War, they were used as shelter by refugees. The remains of fortifications built in the 16th century to protect the coast from Barbary pirates can be found at either side of the peninsula. During the 1500s to the 1800s Barbary pirates from North Africa caused fear and panic among the Mediterranean population, resulting in many people abandoning the coastal areas.
One of the highlights of the area is the Egadi Islands (Isole Egadi). Another advantage of renting one of the villas in Sicily in this region is that these islands can be visited by ferry from Masala or Trapani. Favignana, the largest of the three islands, is often referred to as ‘la grande farfalla’- which translates to ‘the large butterfly’, as its shape resembles. The islands were all bought by the Sicilian Florio family, in 1874, as an investment relating to the tuna trade.
There are plenty of wonderful opportunities to try scuba diving here, as the sea is so wonderfully clear. There are also sea caves to explore if you decide to go diving, such as Grotta Azzura, Grotta dei Sospiri (Grotto of sighs) and Grotta degli Innamorati (Lovers’ Grotto). These spectacular caves can also be accessed on boat tours.
Perhaps the most exciting thing to see on the smallest of the Egadi Islands – Levanzo – is the cave drawings at the Grotta del Genovese. The prehistoric images of bison and deer and depictions of tuna, a dolphin, men and women are well worth the trip. The wall-art could date back 13,000 years and the location is thought to be a place where religious rituals took place.
Activities such as hiking, swimming, diving and experiencing the incredible history of this part of the island are, in fact, a very small taste of what is available. If you choose any of the beautiful villas in Sicily along the western coast, you’ll be truly spoilt with a magical combination of magnificent scenery, culture and wonderful food and drink. What more can you ask?
About the Author
Jonathan Magoni is Senior Manager of Cottages to Castles, a family owned company specialising in high quality holiday villas, apartments and cottages in Italy.
Where to stay in Trapani
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