07_luoghiVALDERICE_GAC

VALDERICE

This hill town between Trapani and Erice is situated in a panoramic position where its distinct altitude determines its varied environmental and naturalistic aspects; it descends in fact from a hilly area down to the plains that extend to the sea . On one side it is dominated by Erice, on the other by Bonagia and its rugged coastline and to the south by lush countryside: everything is colourful due to the variety of vegetation and the blue sky and sea .

Having always been a place of transit on the way to higher Erice, Valderice has witnessed over the centuries the passage of all the cultures that have settled in the area (Elimi, Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs …). It seems that Virgil drew inspiration from the setting of Bonagia for some of the descriptions in the Aeneid, and while its agricultural centre developed in the 18th century, around the districts of San Marco and Paparella, it was in the 19th century that the area became a holiday destination for the Trapani nobility who built sumptuous villas which still exist there today.

The territory is characterized by the presence of numerous bagli, rural buildings made up of different structures overlooking a courtyard.

The local population is tied to the cult of ‘Our Lady of Mercy’; legend has it that at the site where a small sanctuary stands, today there was a shrine of the Virgin with miraculous powers, a site of pilgrimage since the 17th century. An icon of the Madonna is still carried in the procession that takes place in September.

Bonagia, a charming coastal fishing village, was one of the places in the province where the tuna slaughter took place, an activity in which faith, rituals and folklore converged: a testimony of this ancient tradition is still found in the old structure of a tunnery (now transformed into a hotel) and a small museum located inside the watch tower attached to the tunnery, which hosts archaeological remains found in nearby waters as well as an illustrious section dedicated to both original and model tools, the work of the tuna fishermen and the phases of the ‘mattanza’ slaughter .

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