Trapani is a lively and historic port. The Carthaginians made it into a naval port at the beginning of the First Punic War in 260 BC, but it was soon taken by the Romans, under whose rule it languished in obscurity until the 9th century AD, when it thrived again under the Saracene.
Trade and commerce prospered under the Normans, too, as well as under the Aragonese in the 15th century, when the great salt fields were laid out.
In front of Trapani’s town gates lie giant salt fields, with the windmills that have become an icon of this part of Sicily’s coast. Salt production began in the 15th century under Aragonese, who laid out these salt fields that were to become Trapani’s main industry for several centuries. A museum explains their workings with old tools and signage that bring the fields to life.