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SCOPELLO
scopello sicilia sicily
Scopello is perhaps the more evocative and colorful place of the entire gulf of Castellammare. It is a small village risen at the end of the 18th century around the "baglio", on a previous arab country house. In the low-lying wonderful cove limited by the stacks and protected by old towers, there is the "tonnara" (thunny-fishing structure), known sine a long time ago (it is mentioned in documents of the year 1200); it has worked until few years ago, together with the"baglio", the buildings and the warehouses.
You can reach it from Castellammare driving through the state street 187 in the direction of Trapani, deviating at Km 32.4, passing the bay of Guidaloca on which there is a 16th century cylindrical tower. The name of Scopello probably derives from the Greek "scopelos" (rock), from the Latin "scopellum" (rock) and from the arab "iscubul iactus" (high rock). It has been inhabited since the prehistoric period (finds discovered in the caves of the inland document the human presence, starting from the palaeolithic period), the zone has been known since ancient times because of the abundance of tunnys, which were fished in its sea, so much that the Greeks called it "Cetaria", that means "earth of the tunnys".
The Arabs founded there a country house, which was inhabited by fishermen and shepherds and, in 1235, Frederic II the Swabian, after having annexed it with all the feud to the city Mounte San Giuliano, granted the property to a group of settlers of Piacenza, who soon left because of the continuous piratic incursions. In those centuries, in fact, the pirates who infested the low Mediterranean sea, used the bay of Scopello as a base for their raids: mooring the ships behind the stacks, they were practically invisible from the open sea.
The towers give to the landscape a mystery halo and a fascinating atmosphere, which mixes together nature and history. They go back to different ages and they were part of a system of defense and communication distributed along all the perimeter of the Sicily: communicating among themselves through the fire, by night and with the smoke during the day, all the island could be informed in very little time of every military new.
The oldest, probably built up by the Arabs to protect the "tonnara", is the one that rises on the stack that was once connected to the mainland, which could be approached through a bridge or probably a scale that was carved in the rock itself The Doria tower, from the name of the Spanish nobleman who let it build on the terrace that faces the bay, goes back to the XVII century. Another one, the Bennistra tower, is the one built in the XV century on the top of a mount in the south of the "baglio" and that dominates from its exceptional point of observation the entire gulf of Castellammare.