History of Scopello and the surrounding area.
A red rock that looks out towards the east: here lies the ancient village of Scopello (from greek: Skopelòs: rock), a few kilometres from Castellammare, a small town near Trapani.
Scopello is a seventeenth century courtyard surrounded by a few houses standing very close together, a small paved square, a stone drinking-trough.
The natural reserve of the "Zingaro" stretches between Scopello and S.Vito lo Capo. The imposing mountains, the deep indentations and the wide valley that look out towards the sea, constitute the 1600 hectares of uncontaminated nature of the reserve. Headlands, cliffs, coves, little white-pebbles beaches and caves succeed in quick succession for 7 km along the coast, which is considered to be of great scientific and environmental interest.
The prehistoric reperts of the oldest settlements of the area of Scopello, were found inside the cave Uzzo, located in the natural reserve of Zingaro and date back about 12,000 years ago. Archaeological excavations began in the 70's in the same cave led to the discovery of a Mesolithic cemeteries of the most significant in Italy.
Throughout the north-west coast of the island since time immemorial have lived several people coming from distant Mediterranean countries and probably from Asia Minor.
The Elimi (population composed largely of refugees Trojans) occupied these quarters until the Roman conquest, and founded the nearby city of Erice and Segesta. Bays and natural harbors that characterize the coast, have fostered the commercial development of cities elime.
Castellammare del Golfo traditionally historic "Aegestensium Emporium" (Cicero)," Segestanorum Emporium" (Strabo and Polybius) is believed to have been the port city of Segesta; This possibility adds another hypothesis which states that the river was Guidaloca emporium and port city elima.
In fact, according to some historical evidence, in the river Guidaloca ships stocked up on firewood, grain and foodstuffs.
Throughout the area there are many testimonies of the past and of ancient civilizations such as the columns kept submerged by the sea in the Bay of Guidaloca, the reperts from the second century B.C. the sixteenth century A.D. inside the itinerary underwater archeology at the Faraglioni of Scopello, watch towers, the old tuna-fishing and rock-hewn tomb.
According to authoritative sources, the fishing of the tuna in this territory was still practiced before the advent of the Romans and, near the actual Tonnara of Scopello, the mythical city of Cetaria extended him, so call for the exceptional abundance of fishes pelagici of its sea.
Of the city of Cetaria and her tonnara disappearances, mysteriously know today few, or almost nothing. It foresees in the Roman period, the city of Cetaria was represented by Tolomeo (astronomer and mathematician greco100-178 AD around) in its geographical Sicily.
Some historians think that in the today's site of Scopello the ancient disappeared installation is identified. The Faraglionis of Scopello in fact they are found in a position of natural shelter by the winds, to exception of the wind of east-north and east. This natural harbor he has already been probably a place of anchorage in ancient epoch, he can be deduced it by the different typologies of amphoras and manufactured articles (Greek ceramics, “puniche”, Africans and Spaniards) present in the "Submerged Museum", the itinerary Archaeological Scuba diver proposed by Cetaria Diving Center.
Unfortunately, because of the scarce historical information, precise news is not had on the fates of the city of Cetaria and they can formulate only some hypotheses. Among these, the possibility that the city was destroyed by the Arabs conquerors (Arabic unloading Mazara of the Go AD it 827) which, they reconstructed and they reused the tonnara handing down in the centuries this noble art. The last mattanza (fishing of the tuna) some tonnara of Scopello has happened in the eighties. The "Cialoma" (song propitiatory of the “tonnaroti” (fisherman) to increase their strength in to throw on the nets) it still echoes among the stores that guard the equipments and the boats, still in perfect efficiency.
In a document compiled in Greek language of the year 1097 it appears for the first time the name Scopello, but according to the historians it seems that this place still had such name before the Arabic domination (Yaqût quotes in fact 'Usqobul or 'Isqubul, city on the coastline of Sicily). In 1200 the feud of Scopello was granted by the emperor “Federico II” to a colony of “piacentini” (inhabitants of piacenza city emigrated from the Lombardy and driven by Oddo of Camerana). The new farmers erected a tower to watch of the tonnara (tower of the tonnara of Scopello) but later few years had to abandon that place because of the numerous raids of the pirates and the pirates.
In the XVI century the real architect “Camillo Camilliani” at the end of a difficulty trip for the Sicilian coasts infested by the pirates, proposed in the territory of Scopello and the “Zingaro” the construction of new towers of sighting and, the restoration and the fortification of those already existing
The tower Scopello was built (or tower Doria) and the tower of the “Impisu”. You already existing tower of the Uzzo (today seeds destroyed rises in the cove of the Uzzo, inside the reserve of the “Zingaro”), she was reconstructed and strengthened.
Her construction, together with the tower “Bennistra” sita above the ancient suburb of Scopello, and the tower of “Guidaloca” posts on a high ground of the bay that brings the same name, it is antecedent to the trip of the Camilliani in the year 1583.
Described in 1700 by the marquis of “Villabianca” as tall and imposing, the tower of the Uzzo was furnished of a staircase of rope of sixty steps, used for saving "people and soldiers" from the attacks of the pirates.
To Scopello same years ago it was possible to admire the eagle "Borbonica" painted on the arc of the door of the "Baglio", while the wood of Scopello, once resides of bucks, wolves and wild boars, he remembers the wisecracks of hunting of "Ferdinando III" of Borbone, that he elected it to the real backup rank.
Defeated the Borbonis, and for many years after the unity of Italy (1860) and up to the end of the forties, Scopello and the mountains of the "Zingaro" they stayed for a long time shelter of fugitives and legendary brigands.
Theater of historical stories, Scopello and its territory are wound by a halo of mystery fed by the legends and by the stories of the old ones of the country.
Places soaked with charm and magic the places of medioevo that recall distant epoches; epoches of raids barbaresche, of heroic deeds, of pirates and ships predators.
Vittorio Ballerini: Cetaria Diving Center