is perhaps the more evocative and colorful place of the entire gulf
It is a small village risen at the end of the 18th century around
the "baglio", on a previous arab country house. In the
low-lying wonderful cove limited by the stacks and protected by
old towers, there is the "tonnara" (thunny-fishing structure),
known since a long time ago (it is mentioned in documents of the
year 1200); it has worked until few years ago, together with the"baglio",
the buildings and the warehouses. Upon the bay of Guidaloca is set
a 16th century cylindrical tower.
The name of Scopello probably derives from the Greek
"scopelos" (rock), from the Latin "scopellum"
(rock) and from the arab "iscubul iactus" (high rock).
It has been inhabited since the prehistoric period (finds discovered
in the caves of the inland document the human presence, starting
from the palaeolithic period), the zone has been known since ancient
times because of the abundance of tunnys, which were fished in its
sea, so much that the Greeks called it "Cetaria", that
means "earth of the tunnys".
The Arabs founded there a country house, which was inhabited by
fishermen and shepherds and, in 1235, Frederic II the Swabian, after
having annexed it with all the feud to the city Mounte San Giuliano,
granted the property to a group of settlers of Piacenza, who soon
left because of the continuous piratic incursions. In those centuries,
in fact, the pirates who infested the low Mediterranean sea, used
the bay of Scopello as a base for their raids: mooring the ships
behind the stacks, they were practically invisible from the open
The towers give to the landscape a mystery halo and a fascinating
atmosphere, which mixes together nature and history. They go back
to different ages and they were part of a system of defense and
communication distributed along all the perimeter of the Sicily:
communicating among themselves through the fire, by night and with
the smoke during the day, all the island could be informed in very
little time of every military new.
The oldest, probably built up by the Arabs to protect the "tonnara",
is the one that rises on the stack that was once connected to the
mainland, which could be approached through a bridge or probably
a scale that was carved in the rock itself
The Doria tower, from the name of the Spanish nobleman who let it
build on the terrace that faces the bay, goes back to the XVII century.
Another one, the Bennistra tower, is the one built in the XV century
on the top of a mount in the south of the "baglio" and
that dominates from its exceptional point of observation the entire
gulf of Castellammare.
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