INSIDE TRAPANI HISTORY

A stay in Ligny B&B is a dive in the past of Trapani town, among myth, histories and legends. Our location is at 100 metres from Ligny Tower and at 300 metres as the crow flies from the Colombaia Castle and from the Nasi little villa. From the north-east  terrace it is possible to see Erice, Saint Giuliano Gulf, the ancient protecting walls of the town and the sea that was the scenery of the Drepanum famous naval battle

 

Trapani

Describing Trapani, Masuccio the Salernitano declared: “it is almost nearer to Africa than to the Christian land”. In fact the origins of the town are deeply bound to the origins of the first inhabitants of “magreb” and of the middle oriental coast  that overlooks Mediterranean Sea.
Differently to the other Sicilian places, that  suffered all , more or less, the Greek Colonization, Trapani remained always bound to the Phoenicians before  and after the Carthaginians, thanks chiefly to a people, whose origins are yet uncertain: Elymians.       
According to the most diffused interpretation, going back even to the Syracusen historian Tucidite, Elymian people were born by the union of small colonies, survived to the destruction of Troy, with the  indigenous people (“sicano” people) and with the other colonizers coming from Tiro and Sidon.
One of the legend that concerns the foundation of the town, at the centre of an intense historical and archaeological debate also nowadays, makes Trapani one of the most important place of the ancient history, identifying it with the legendary Scheria, the ancient capital of the Feaci people, the last stop of the fantastic tour of Ulysses.
In fact the first who identified Trapani with Scheria, was Apollonio Rodio in his Argonautiche: “Drepane, an holy nurse of  Feaci”. The Feaci, about whom we  know something by reading Odyssey, were the real inhabitants of Scheria, central place in all epos.

For further news:
The history of Trapani (ita)
The history of Trapani(eng)
The history of Elyms (ita)
The History of Elyms (eng)
The theory of Trapani about Odyssey (ita)
The theory of Trapani about Odyssey (eng)

 

The rock of “bad advice”

Trapani people with this denomination, refers to the north-west point of the town, a cliff that arises on the surface in the back of Ligny Tower. In particular, it is told that in origin the last part of it, whose shape faintly seems  an ancient sailing boat, was a pirate boat that was attacking the town. That enterprise was not carried out thanks to The Holy Vergin  of Trapani, whose  help was demanded by the prayers of the inhabitants, She  turned that boat into rock. A very similar story is told in one of the songs of  Homer, where  the bard tells the return to Scheria of the boat which brings Ulysses to Itaca, that was also turned into rock at the entrance of the port for the will of Neptune. This tesis is part of the arguments  that agree to the theory of Odyssey in Trapani first exposed.

 

The battle of Drepanum

With the term“Battle of Drepanum or of Trapani” it is meant a naval battle fought between Rome and Carthage during the First Punic War. It was in 249 b. C. and the  fight took place near the coast of Drepana or Drepanon as it was called the Sicilian town. It exactly seems that the part of sea where the two enemy fleet fought corresponded to the Bastion of Saint Ann, between the actual location of Ligny Tower and the square of the fish market. And exactly the part of the coast upon which our B&B overlooks. 
Among the authors that wrote about this epic battle, we quote Polibio, who describes in this way the decided superiority of Carthaginians in fighting: «They were the best in the speed of sailing, in the excellent quality of the ships and in the ability of the crew, and they were helped much by their position because their ships were disposed in the open sea.»

For further news:
The battle of Trapani (ita)
The First Punic War (eng)

 

Il Bastione di Sant’Anna

The Bastion of Saint Ann, also called of the Imperial, was ordered to build by Charles V in 1945, as the closing of a door of the town. After it was ordered to enlarge by the prince of Ligny and so completed in 1673. Its building took part in the strategy of enlargement and defense of the town started under the viceroy Pignatelli and continued with the viceroys Gonzaga. It was Charles V, who defined Trapani “ the key of the reign”, that completed the Bastion. Together with the Bastion of the Impossible, this defense castle reminds the times when Trapani had to defend itself by the pirates' attacks that came from the north coasts of Africa.

the bastion of  Saint Ann can be seen by the north terrace of our b&b and can be reached and visited  (on the days in which it is opened to people) in about two minutes.

 

The little church of Saint Liberale

The church of Saint Liberale was built before Ligny Tower, from which it is  about 100 metres away. It was built because of the require of the coral-divers, who represented one of the most important social class of Trapani in that period.  The legend tells this act of devotion is due to the capture and the death of a coral-diver of Trapani. This man, too near to the Tunisian coasts, was kidnapped  and  executed. It tells that, on the same day of the  martyrdom, another group of divers of Trapani did a miraculous fishing, coming back to Trapani  with their little boats full of corals. Very soon the coral-diver's sacrifice was associated to the miraculous fishing, and it was decided to build the Church. Saint Liberale can be seen from the north terrace of our B&B, in fact it is only 50 metres away from its main entrance.

 

Ligny Tower

Ligny Tower was built in 1671, by the viceroy Claudio Morando, prince of Ligny. The project was part  of the continuation of the defence works of the town, which was always exposed to the attacks of the raceships. During the years the tower was used as lighthouse for assistance to the hundreds of ships which sailed in the two ports of the town.

Since 1983, on alternate fortune, the tower has given hospitality to the Prehistorical Museum of Trapani, where there are prehistorical finds. The most part of those finds was discovered in the territory of Trapani, in the province of  Palermo and in North Africa (Algeria and Tunisia). In particular it is possible to admire Neolithic handmade, Elymian and Greek ceramics fragments, points of Paleolithic spears.

The tower gives the name to the whole district and to our B&B. It can be seen by the south terrace and it is 50 metres away from our entry.

 

The Colombaia Castle

The Colombaia is probably the oldest and the most known symbol of Trapani (with Ligny Tower). There are a lot of legends concerned its first building, even if the historians agreed to assign the foundation to Amilcare Barca (Hannibal's father, the leader who went through the Alps by elephants and won  the Romans). It was the First Punic War (about which we have just told the battle of  Drepanum).
Later enlarged by different rulers (till the Normans, who built the central tower), it was also used as prison up to the Second World War.
Since some years it has been tempting the recovery of the tower, but yet it is not seen any results.
The castle and the tower (called Peliade) can be seen from the south terrace of our B&B. Nevertheless  nowadays the tower is not visitable.

For further information:
History of the Colombaia castle (ita)

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