Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily
Even on your first visit to the stunning sea resort of Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily, parts of it seem warmly familiar. That may be because such is its star allure that scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster Oceans 12, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, were filmed here.
The 2005 movie sparked fresh interest in Castellammare del Golfo and in this corner of Sicily, from tourists to Italy as well as Italian real estate investors. Here at Homes and Villas Abroad we have Castellammare del Golfo real estate starting typically at around €80,000. However, we often list bargain property for sale here, albeit needing restoration, from just €40,000.
But visitors have long been drawn to this part of Sicily for its stunning landscapes, its beautiful azure waters, white sandy beaches and its rich history. For decades tourism has been a mainstay of the local economy. One of the areas key attractions is the 4,000-acre Lo Zingaro Natural Reserve, which includes more than four miles of splendidly unspoilt coast as well as peaks such 3,000ft Mt Speziale.
And a mere 20-minute drive from Castellammare lies the ancient ruins of Segesta, including a 2,500-year Greek temple said to be among the best preserved anywhere in the world. From the site of the ancient city, some 1,020ft above sea level, you get a stunning view of the countryside beneath you, stretching all the way to Castelllammare and the sea. Then there is the seaside town of Scopello, a scenic 15-minute drive away, which is known for its ancient tonneries.
But there are also ample attractions in Castellammare itself. Its best-known is the large medieval fortress on the towns pretty marina and from which the town derives its name (Castellammare del Golfo translates as sea castle of the gulf). The fortress, which dates back more than 1,000 years, also houses a lively museum that charts the history of the monument and surrounding town.
If youre here to view property in Castellammare del Golfo or even just for a seaside break, a number of hotels also overlook the marina. Its a truly spectacular sight opening your windows in the morning as fishermen put out to sea, the sun rising over the Tyrrhenian coast. In the evening the promenade is also ideal to stroll along and is dotted with inviting bars and restaurants. Freshly caught seafood, naturally, is a speciality.
The town also boasts numerous characteristic churches that testify to its centuries of history, principal of which is the Madonna del Soccorso Cathedral, which features 15th century frescos. Getting here is pretty easy too, with Castellammare del Golfo handily placed for Palermo airport, 30 minutes to the east, and Trapani-Birgi airport, 45 minutes in the opposite direction.