The Tonnara on dry ground, now disused, was a facility needed to support the Tonnara (system of boats and nets) at sea for the fishing of tuna.
The ‘Tonnara del Secco’ had warehouses for storing nets, shelters for boats and cottages for the accommodation of crews, as well as a plant for processing tuna.
The first official news of the San Vito Tonnara date back to 1412, when King Ferdinand gave permission for the fishing of tuna in the sea of San Vito.
In the sea of San Vito, the nets for catching tuna- which in spring were numerous in the waters of the Castellammare Gulf – were dropped from the 15th century until 1968.
Today the traditional “mattanza” (slaughter), a term which indicates the bloody ritual killing of tuna in the so-called death chamber, is no longer practiced.
A few metres from the building are the remains of ancient cetariae (fishponds) , dating from the 4th century BC, in which they processed fish, including tuna, to achieve the prized garum (fish sauce), much appreciated by ancient Romans.