9 August 2012
Scopello: a slow pace weekend in Sicily
If this summer you’re opting for a beach holiday in Sicily, you will actually be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking great beaches and interesting things to do. But if you’re heading towards the area of Trapani or Palermo, keep on reading for some tips on something you definitely shouldn’t miss: Scopello, a funny name for one of the most peculiar towns in north-western Sicily, where time seems to have stopped and you will experience an appealing, and veeery slow- pace, anticlockwise tour.
Scopello is the name of this pretty stone town, a short drive from the homonymous beach. It is a feudal village near the coast between Castellamare del Golfo and San Vito Lo Capo, 7 km away (west of Palermo), and is very close to the Zingaro nature reserve, which means you get history, beaches and nightlife all within a 10 Km radius.
Scopello means “rock” (derived from the Greek word scopelos), and as the town itself looks like an ancient stone village, where time stands still, and the beach, too, being stony round the edges and all, you will understand how this cute name is perfectly suited to the place.
Actually, all the beaches of the area are quite “rocky,” that is, with stones not sand, but once you get closer to the water, the stones clear and it’s sandy below and above the waterline.
This is the ideal destination for a relaxing… weekend, not more, otherwise you’ll get bored. The town can be toured within a couple of hours, or less, all the rest must be spent enjoying the crystal clear waters, the caves, the sun, and the faraglioni, rock towers in the sea!
The settlement consists of a historic baglio – a centuries-old square, fortified courtyard with a strong gate and surrounded by walls which nowadays hosts restaurants, café tables, and souvenir shops – named Baglio Isonzo, and a couple of attractive little lanes where you’ll also find some hotels of Scopello and a couple more restaurants.
Two medieval watchtowers guard the nearby coast, and a third tower stands up by the village to unify the wider views. In the small rocky bay there is a faded old tonnara, a tuna fishery, an important part of the history of Sicily. The Tonnara di Scopello was closed down in the 1980s, and now, thanks to the fame it has gained following lots of publicity and especially the shooting of films here, including Ocean’s Twelve, the owners have decided to renovate the buildings and close them off to the public, instead offering accommodation and hosting functions.
A weekend in Scopello with be fully enjoyed if combined with a trip to the Zingaro nature reserve, or to the larger pebble beach at Guidaloca, nearby, where you’ll find more facilities. The icing on the cake will be a lunch in the baglio courtyard or at a panoramic restaurant table high above the faraglioni with seafood and couscous, excellent in this part of Sicily.
Photo by ezioman