ATTRACTIONS IN SAN VITO LO CAPO AND SURROUNDINGS

The towers of San Vito Lo Capo, especially the so-called Torrazzo” tower, and the Sanctuary and templet dedicated to St. Crescenza in the Arab-Norman style are worth visiting. In summer, concerts and meetings take place in the famous “via Savoia”, situated near the square and the Sanctuary. The Sea Museum (via Savoia 57) is also worth visiting. The museum houses some important archaeological finds from sea, especially a wreckage of the Arab-Norman ship lying on the seabed in front of the lighthouse.

The new town hall Palazzo La Porta is also in via Savoia. The nineteenth-century palace has the main characteristics of contemporary architecture, such as the marvellous majolica tile floors or the stone atrium. A lot of exhibitions and cultural events often take place against the setting of the luxuriant garden behind the palace.

The crystalline water and the very white beach frame San Vito Lo Capo, the pearl of the Mediterranean Sea. In 2011, San Vito Lo Capo beach was voted as the most beautiful beach of Italy and deserved also a position among the top ten beaches in Europe.

 

Caves and places of archaeological interest

The surroundings of San Vito Lo Capo are scattered with caves and small bays. Line engravings of a likely magic nature and two graffiti portraying deers are carved on the walls of the so-called “Grotta del Racchio”. Prehistoric graffiti, paintings and lithic materials have been discovered in the “Grotta dell’Uzzo” (Zingaro Nature Reserve). Neolithic labyrinthine drawings, sun symbols and anthropomorphic figures are painted red in the “Grotta dei Cavalli”.
Near the “Tonnara del Secco” (where tunny-fishing nets were) there are old “vasche cetarie” of the 4th century b.C., basins where the very fine “garum” (fish sauce) was prepared to satisfy Roman gourmets.

Sea and beaches

Beautiful beaches and small bays make San Vito Lo Capo a very pleasant tourist destination. The clear, limpid sea and the fine sand studded with fragments of red coral characterize San Vito Lo Capo beach.
Saint Margherita Bay, situated on the west coast of the village, is made up of pebble small bays, a big beach, the so-called “red bay” and “left-handed bay”, the cliff of “Isulidda” (Sicilian word for “small island”) and Macari beach. The staggering transparency and uncontaminated nature make the coast a little bit of Paradise on Earth.
Last but not least, Zingaro Nature Reserve is worth visiting, easily reachable from “Tonnara del Secco”. The Nature Reserve was the first in Sicily to be recognized. The magic atmosphere frames a kind of living naturalistic museum on the northwest coast of Sicily, where steep promontories and Mediterranean maquis stand out against the turquoise blue sea swarming with hidden life.

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Monuments and museums

Situated halfway between San Vito Lo Capo and Zingaro Nature Reserve, “Tonnara del Secco”, today in disuse, consists of storerooms once keeping nets or boat guards, of a built-up area where the crew slept and of a tunny-fish factory. Near the “Tonnara” there are the remains of old “vasche cetarie” of the 4th century b.C., basins where tuna was processed to prepare the very fine “garum” (fish sauce), particularly appreciated by Roman gourmets. This scenery has recently been the setting of some instalments of the famous movie series “Il commissario Montalbano” and of the Italian work of fiction “Cefalonia”.

In the direction of Trapani St. Crescenza’s Chapel is worth visiting. Its small square plan and the impressive cupola show the Arabic, Norman and Gothic influences of the typical fifteenth-century architecture in Trapani. According to an old popular belief, St. Crescenza, St. Vitus’s wet-nurse, could send fear (“u scantu” in Sicilian) away from people that had thrown a stone into the chapel.

Last but not least, silverware, liturgical furniture and holy works of art dedicated to St. Vitus are kept in the Sanctuary museum in the town centre. The museum holds the sixteenth-century wooden statue of Mary Immaculate sculpted by an unknown Sicilian artist, once protected in the “Tonnara del Secco”. The large terrace looks out to sea and town and lets tourists enjoy the view of the triangular shaped tower next to the Sanctuary, built to defend the village against pirate raids at the end of the sixteenth century.

 

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