San Vito lo Capo: Beaches, what to do and where to eat
Sicily is full of characteristic places, where naturalistic beauty blends with history and tradition. Among the most famous places is San Vito lo Capo, a town in Trapani that attracts millions of tourists every year.
Historical notes of this place
The first traces of an inhabited center date back to the 4th century BC, although some finds from the area also belong to previous eras. The center from which the growth of this town started is the chapel dedicated to San Vito martyr, who escaped from Mazara to Mount Erice to escape the persecutions of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
Many miracles are attributed to this saint and to Santa Crescenzia, to whom a chapel is later dedicated. For this reason, what was initially a simple chapel in homage to San Vito became a fortress-accommodation for the many pilgrims who came to visit it. Towers then began to be built to spot the Barbary pirates who attacked the fortress and, over the years, even more and more homes.
The city then welcomed people of all kinds from the religious, political and military spheres, since it aroused interest from all these points of view.
The Beaches of San Vito lo Capo
Among the excellences that San Vito lo Capo presents there are obviously its beaches, among the most beautiful not only in Sicily but in the entire Italian peninsula.
The first to mention can only be the Spiaggia del Bue Marino, awarded in 2016 by Legambiente as the most beautiful beach in Italy. A stretch of cobbled coast, bathed by a crystalline climate, surrounded by boundless vegetation and offering a breathtaking view.
Near the Bue Marino beach is the Isulidda beach, a secluded place surrounded by caves on the water that can attract snorkelers.
Another very interesting beach is that of Macari, which takes its name from the village of the same name on the outskirts of San Vito lo Capo. Its long coastline alternates between cliffs, sandy areas and others of pebbles, thus responding to every kind of possible taste of tourists.
What to visit beyond the beaches
If San Vito lo Capo is one of the stops of your holiday in Sicily, it is almost mandatory to stop at the Capo San Vito lighthouse (1.5 km north of the Trapani municipality). It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Mediterranean, which since 1859 has signaled to sailors the rocky shoal that is right in front of San Vito.
While remaining within the municipality of Trapani, a monument of great importance is the Sanctuary of San Vito. Born as a small chapel in homage to San Vito martyr, over the years it has undergone transformations due to its military, religious and civil function.
Another extremely interesting building is the Chapel of Santa Crescenzia. Built in the 13th century, it was named after Santa Crescenzia or the nurse of San Vito. The structure has an Arabian style, but there are also architectural features belonging to the Gothic and Norman styles.
Visit to the Zingaro Reserve
Near San Vito lo Capo, a place of great interest for nature lovers is the “Riserva dello Zingaro”. One of the most important Italian reserves, which hosts an infinite number of species of both flora and fauna. The original landscape was mostly composed of evergreen Mediterranean forest, while currently there are many other species such as the garrigue and the dwarf palm. In terms of fauna, there are 39 species of birds, mammals (rabbit and fox are the most common) and coastal marine fauna.
Alternatively, it can be pleasant to go to the Tonnara del Secco: a place where, next to the current buildings, there are also the remains of the fish processing plants. An ideal place to take a bath, not surprisingly also chosen as a location for several films.
What and where to eat
The cuisine of San Vito lo Capo is influenced both by the Sicilian tradition and by that of North Africa, given its geographical position. The most important of the typical dishes is in fact couscous, also called couscous di San Vitu or couscous from Trapani. It can be prepared in several versions, with fish broth or with the addition of vegetables. Two other characteristic dishes of the area are the ricotta ravioloni (served with fish broth and a “sprinkle” of pecorino cheese) and the sweet and sour tuna (prepared with white onions).
To better enjoy these and other dishes, Rais is one of the most recommended restaurants. It is a place that revises traditional cuisine in its own way, without obviously losing their quality. Il Giardino dei Lumia and Ristorante Gardenia are two other names to keep in mind, with typical dishes of the area and excellent value for money.
To taste these dishes, you can go to the Taverna Azzurra (historic place in the city that offers Sicilian home cooking) or to the Trattoria da Totò. To try all the goodness of Palermitan desserts, we recommend the Pasticceria Costa instead.
How to get to San Vito lo Capo
Starting from Trapani, it is possible to reach San Vito lo Capo by car through two itineraries. The most beautiful is the coastal one, along the Trapani-Erice seafront. From Trapani airport, however, it is more advisable to take the motorway link towards Trapani and follow the signs for Valderice through the provincial road 187. San Vito lo Capo can also be reached by bus, thanks to lines that depart from both Trapani and from Palermo.