Where is Terrasini?
The town of Terrasini is located in the province of Palermo and it overlooks the sea, more precisely on the Gulf of Castellammare.
Known, in fact, for its beaches, for its sea and hills. Famous for being considered the Sicilian city of love.
It is located about 15 minutes from Palermo airport, so it is an easily accessible destination for anyone intending to visit it.
Its coastline extends from Ciucca to the beach of San Cataldo. This means that there is a huge choice regarding tourism in the summer season. There are both beaches and rocky bays. This diversity also makes the marine landscape different within the same municipality.
The history of Terrasini
The history of this city is very ancient. Already from the Neolithic the area was settled, proof of this are the archaeological finds found in the cave of Cala Porro.
In this cave several finds have been found ranging from the Neolithic to the Roman period. Another interesting thing about this site is the fact that in the various deposits continental layers alternate with layers of marine sand.
This is because the cave is about 3 meters above sea level and was submerged under the sea for many periods.
The history of this place is told by the findings of archaeologists.
Worthy of note is the discovery of some remains of Roman settlements in the neighboring areas, including the remains of two Roman boats, one from the 3rd century B.C. and one of the 1st century. A.C.
These boats, both probably coming from Spain, contained amphorae of Garum (a fish sauce which was one of the favorite dishes of the Romans).
The presence of these boats, which were centuries apart from each other, is by no means accidental. It is very probable that the boats stopped in this area to restock, above all with fresh water, thanks to the Favarotta spring which flows into the sea in this very place.
There are several interpretations of the name Terrasini.
The first is that of the historian Gioacchino Di Marzo. The name derives from the fact that Capo di Rama, together with Capo San Vito, gives life to the Gulf of Castellammare “Sinus Aegestanus”. This area was called “Terra Sinus” that is land of the gulf.
Another theory has it that the name derives from “Terra Sinorum”, i.e. mooring land.
The history of this place is linked to the fact that it was already a feud since the Norman era. Upon his arrival in Sicily, Count Ruggero instituted the feudal system. These places were assigned to Rodolfo Bonello for his merits in battle.
From 1282 to 1357 the feud was granted to Palmerio Abbate and his family.
From 1387 the feud was in the hands of the La Grua family.
The succession of different properties of the feud led it to the official birth of the municipality, declared by Ferdinand II of Bourbon on October 24, 1836.
Nature as an attraction
The area in question, from the point of view of nature, has a strong impact. The difference in views, just a few steps from each other, makes this place a strong tourist destination.
Very close to Terrasini we find the Capo Rama Oriented Nature Reserve. This nature reserve was established by the region in 2000 and is entrusted to the WWF.
The fauna present in the area is very varied, including birds, foxes and different reptiles. The large presence of caves means that there is also a strong presence of bats.
Another important reference is the promontory of Capo Rama. This place is included among the places of geological interest with a high naturalistic value.
Obviously from a point of view of nature the sea is the master.
What to see in Terrasini, Palermo
This city has several tourist attractions, below I will try to describe the main ones.
This place is the nerve center of this city. Paved with Custonaci marble, it is over a 100 meters long.
Full of clubs, it allows tourists to make an interesting stop, surrounded by historic buildings dating back to 1600-1700.
Dominating the square we find the Duomo building.
Villa of San Giovanni
Adjacent to the Piazza del Duomo we find the municipal park.
This place is very important in the city because it provides a large green space within the city life.
World famous for its fountain, built in such a way that the tap appears to levitate.
The church of Maria Santissima delle Grazie is the main monument in Terrasini. Built in 1700, it is the largest church in the gulf of Castellammare. At the beginning the church was designed for the sense of competition with the municipality of Cinisi. A noble figure, almost certainly from the La Grua family, decided to build the largest church in the area.
The population of Cinisi tried in every way to put a spanner in the works during the construction. However, the building was completed in the mid-18th century. The work did not include the two bell towers.
The bell towers were built in the early 1900s in the Baroque style.
The interior has three naves. Above all, the statue of Maria delle Grazie stands out, which is carried in procession on 8th September.
Beyond this, the church is full of works by Sicilian artists of high quality.
Another element of attention is the fantastic organ dating back to the 18th century.
This is another of the main monuments of the city. The palace was the summer residence of the La Grua family.
The family is directly linked to local history. This is because it was the owner of the feud for several centuries.
Now this building is the seat of the municipal library.
The palace dates back to the 1800s, built by Don Vincenzo Grifeo. The building was soon after bought by Henri d’Orléans duke d’Aumale. Henri d’Orlèans was the son of Louis Philippe d’Orléans, King of France.
Today this building houses the Regional Museum of Natural History and a permanent exhibition of the Sicilian chariot.
The Museum is divided into three sectors: Naturalistic, Ethno-anthropological and Archaeological. It boasts a collection of more than 500,000 pieces. This makes it one of the largest nature museums in Italy.
Obviously a strong tourist interest is also given by the permanent exhibition of the Sicilian chariot. The Sicilian chariot is one of the main symbols of Sicily. The decorations, which this chariots presented, are one of the most significant artistic representations of the Sicilian tradition.
Palazzo La Grua
18th century palace built by the La Grua family. As already mentioned, this was the most important family in the history of Terrasini.
Today seat of the Town Hall of the city.
It no longer has its original appearance as it was renovated during the middle of the last century.
In Piazza Falcone e Borsellino we find the Monument to the Fallen.
This monument was a gift from citizens from Terrasini residing in Detroit.
It is composed of a marble stone on which the names of the fallen in the two world wars are engraved.
Above all we find a winged figure holding a laurel wreath.
Among the sites of high historical value there is Villa Fassini. Built in Art Nouveau style, it is a symbol of this style on the island.
This residence owes its notoriety also because it hosted the first municipality in Italy.
Built by Ernesto Basile, it is one of the first Art Nouveau buildings in Italy.
In the 70s it hosted a hippy commune. Founded by Carlo Silvestro, music journalist and poet. People from all over Italy and also from abroad came to inhabit the commune.
The monument is an important piece of history. The tower of Capo Rama was erected in 1400 on top of the homonymous promontory.
It is located within the Capo Rama Oriented Nature Reserve.
It was built to intercept pirate ships. Once the boats were sighted, their presence was signaled by the light of the lighthouse.
The Capo Rama tower is the westernmost of what was once the system of 11 towers controlled by the Senate of the City of Palermo.
Other parts of this articulated sighting system are: Torre Alba, Torre Toleda and Torre di contrada San Cataldo.
The city of love
Terrasini is also known as the Sicilian city of love. This appointment is a direct derivation of the beautiful sunsets and breathtaking views that are the backdrop for couples’ travel. Not only this, the various administrations have also contributed to this appointment.
There are several artistic installations that have love as their theme. Beyond the various signs with “the obligation to kiss” we find many artistic works.
We remember: the mended broken heart of Luigi Abbate, the red benches towards the sea, the giant inscription Love and the giant bolt.
The beaches of Terrasini
One of the main attractions of the municipality of Terrasini is the sea. By making a few kilometers you have a wide range of choices regarding the beaches.
I will try to indicate those that in my opinion are the most interesting.
Surely the most famous is Praiola, a free beach with fine sand and a wonderful sea.
Completely changing the type of coast, another piece of advice are the cliffs of Cala Rossa. Ideal place to dive.
Going outside the municipality of Terrasini, but always remaining nearby, I recommend: Magaggiari (Cinisi), Ciammarita (Piano Inferna Marina), the beach of San Cataldo (Trappeto), Capaci (Capaci) and Castellammare del Golfo.
How to get to Terrasini
To get to Terrasini the closest connection is the Palermo airport (about 15 min). Besides this, the city is easily reachable from the other Sicilian provincial capitals. This is precisely because it is very close to the airport and therefore very well connected.
Terrasini for a holiday in Sicily
Whatever your choice for traveling to Sicily, my advice is to consider this city.