Visit the Salt Works Natural Reserve of Paceco which with its windmills and canals looks like a little bit of Holland!
Paceco is a town situated to the west end of Sicily, in the valley of Mazara about three miles from Trapani.
On a hill at 30-40 meters above sea level, Paceco is a farming town that has been inhabited since the Paleolithic and Neolithic era, in a landscape that bears witness to the presence of an ancient civilization and consisting of Mediterranean vegetation in picturesque scenery.
Paceco is a town with a first-rate artistic and natural heritage. The churches are particularly prestigious, and we suggest you start your visit to Paceco with the Mother Church.
The Mother Church, dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria and dating from 1615-1623, has a nave and holds four paintings of note, donated by Princess Maria Fardella and depicting "Santa Rosalia" and “San Carlo Borromeo”. Art critics consider the works to be among the best in the Trapani area.
The artist is uncertain: Ferdinando Bologna attributed them to Andrea Malinconico (1624-1698), while others argue that they are of the Sicilian school of the late 17th century.
Other churches worthy of a mention in Paceco are the Church of the Rosary, of Baroque style; the church of “San Francesco di Paola”, which has some works by Antonello Gagini (1478-1536); and the Church of Portosalvo.
Just a kilometer away from Paceco you can visit an ancient and historically very important artifact, the so-called Misiligiafari Tower (called the" Tozzazza"), which was for a long time the official residence of the noble Fardella family.
The tower is located in a property of Arab origin called Misiligiafari (the name comes from the term "manzil", meaning a "resting place where one dismounts from one’s horse"), and consists of a fortress located on a hill on the site of earlier Arab and Norman castles.
Salt Works Natural Reserve, Paceco
To enjoy the natural landscape around Paceco head for the Natural Reserve of Salt-Works, also accessible from Trapani and Marsala.
The reserve has a landscape among the most interesting to be found in Italy. Your visit can be enjoyed in a tranquil atmosphere among the water, canals and mills, while walking along listening to the calls of many varieties of birds that inhabit the salt marshes.
The environment is home to the plants that have adapted to these unusual saline conditions and along the water channels there are interesting plants such as the "Posidonia oceanica”, and several rare plant species such as the “calendula maritima”, and the so-called “mushroom of Malta.”
The Reserve is also of exceptional importance for its fauna. About 200 species have been identified, among them herons, gulls, flamingos, spoonbills, marsh hawks and more than 5,000 ducks that have found refuge here.
The Natural Reserve is also home to the “Salt Museum” that exhibits typical equipment used in the the work that took place in the salt-works.
After your peaceful stroll through the reserve, stop at one of the many small local restaurants in the region around Paceco to sample the "busiati", fresh pasta with tuna sauce, mint and almonds, the couscous with fish "alla trapanese”, "spaghetti" with mullet and lobster soup, all with accompanying wines produced in Paceco, among the best of Sicily, as are its famous "yellow melons."
See also Paceco history and etymology.
Selected places to visit near Paceco, Italy
See the Sicily guide for more travel ideas...