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North Western Sicily

Continuing west from Agrigento the island seemed to become more empty. We stopped at Sciacca, but once again, I was struck by the fact that virtually none of this area has been developed for tourism.

There are few roads along the coast, and in most areas, none at all. Those that do go down to the coast are small and pot-holed, and here and there are the gaping remains of hotels that have not found customers.

We visited one town that boasted more Greek remains than in Greece, which sounded a bit far-fetched, but the village itself was so depressing we left almost straight away. The beach was full of gravel and stones and reminded me of walking along the coast at Brighton. Maybe it was the wind that put me off. But here we were on a hot day in september, and the place was shut except for one hotel. No beach bars, no restaurants, no shops, nothing.

I'd already booked a room in a hotel at a tiny place called Triscinamare. This again was an odd village. It stretched for a couple miles along the coast, but no road ran along the coast itself. All roads branched off the inner road and came to a halt in sand, rocks, rubbish, and what looked like garages and sheds. This was scarcely a tourist area, yet that is what it was touted as.

The hotel was pleasant enough, but the area itself was dead.

The following day we travelled to Marsala. This was the first town in Sicily that I actually liked. I didn't get lost, and I found my way out when I needed to leave. The food improved immensely, and we seemed to have moved into a different culture altogether.

It was greener at this end of the island. Gone were the brown fields. Every olive grove was set in green grass. And we seemed to have changed to a more African style of things. There was taboulé and tajins on the menu, and people were cooking with couscous instead of pasta. And of course there is the local wine to sample at source: Marsala.

The north-western corner of the island seems to be much more organised than the south-east. There is another airport at Trapani, where the old military airfield has been converted for civilian use. This means the area is served by two airports, as Palermo is only forty miles or so to the east.

Unfortunately, the saga of derelict hotels did not cease. We stayed in a huge place just outside Trapani, which was almost empty. The rooms were huge, the corridors several yards wide, and the view looked onto a courtyard, while the sea reposed at the bottom of a steep hill in the opposite direction, viewed only from the corridors. Architects are strange people.

Scarcely 100 yards up the road was a rather fine empty house. I dont have a contact number, but if anyone is ever in that district and is interested, it is in the town of Valderice, about 300 yards on the left down the road to SantAndrea.

There is a medieval town at the top of the mountain behind Trapani which gives you a view right across to Tunis according to the guide book. (It was covered in cloud the whole time we were there, so I did not see one of my old stamping grounds.) And everywhere you look are derelict hotels. There is a massive one on the eastern side of the mountain. There was another next to my hotel, and there were others wherever I looked.

The scenery can be quite spectacular along the north coast, and the view from a wonderfully sited restaurant across the bay and over the town of Castellammare is quite something.

And if you want a little place overlooking the beach at Terrasini, just a few miles from the airport, and commuting distance from Palermo, there are a few for sale. Here's a view from the window.

I have included some more properties for sale in this area on the next Unique Property Members' pages. To subscribe to the members' section, you need to visit the Unique HomePage.


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