Marsala to Palermo
View of the salt pans and windmills at Trapani.
Starting from the Sunrise in Sicily B&B that's situated on the coast road (The Salt Road). There are roads in Sicily, such as this one, that leave you stunned by an array of landscapes featuring the widest possible range of colors. The green of the Mediterranean scrub, the brown of the patches of earth which at times becomes ocher, the infinite shades of blue in the sea, and the white of the salt pans. There, where the sea meets the earth, you will find the “Via del Sale” (The Salt Road). What a great way to start the day. Just 5 minutes from the start is the museum of salt. Here you can visit a windmill and walk amongst the pools of salty soup. There are around 50 windmills along this stretch of coast to Trapani, some of the salt mills grind salt to powder, while others are used to transfer water from the salt pans and back into the sea in order to further the evaporation process. Salt has been produced along this coast for over 3000 years.
Mount Erice that stands at 751 m dominates the landscape as you head north through more salt pans and piles of gleaming salt looking more like snow. Through Trapani and climb the twisty road that takes you up Mount Erice. There are a number of viewpoints offering fantastic views in front of and behind you. The medieval hilltop village of Erice is at the top and by turning right at RP 17 you can visit Erice.
The second most exciting way to get to Erice is by taking the cable-car (funivia) which climbs from the outskirts of Trapani to the town wall of Erice, its station just outside Porta Trapani, the gateway into the old town.
Erice is famous for its almond biscuits and pastries, proudly stacked up in the windows of several pasticcerie. There are also plenty of snack and souvenir shops aimed at the tourists who arrive each day to explore the medieval lanes. The best places to enjoy a sit-down and a drink are the cafe-bars in Piazza Umberto, and the panoramic cafe in the park by the Castello di Venere. Erice is often lost in swirls of mist and cloud, so a view isn't guaranteed. Locally these clouds are called "kisses of Venus" - a notion whose romance perhaps goes some way to compensating for the lost panorama!
Having climbed Mount Erice from the south, the route now descends the northern side on a twisty road with hairpin bends offering fantastic views towards Mount Cofano, not as tall at 659 m, but like Erice, Cofano is another mountain whose toes touch the water making a this section of coastline spectacular. At the foot of the mountain as you enter the hamlet of Cornino, there are several places to stop for a coffee or maybe lunch. It's then onto the incredible ancient village in a cave that's just a few minutes away.
Grotta Mangiapane (Mangiapane Cave) has an ancient, now deserted village set inside the cave and is a little-known, yet rather unique attraction and worthy of a visit. It’s called Grotta Mangiapane as it takes its name from the family who lived in tiny houses inside the cave from 1819 to the 1950s. The Mangiapane were a Sicilian family of farmers and fishermen who, besides the houses, built a stable for animals, a wood oven and a chapel, as they led a simple life, enjoying the breathtaking view of the Gulf of Erice. Grotta Mangiapane is one of nine caves known collectively as Grotte di Scurati, located within the nature reserve of Mount Cofano. The Grotta Mangiapane is the largest of the nine caves: it’s 70 m high, 13 m wide and 50 m deep. The Scurati Caves were an ancient prehistoric settlement and are now a speleological site. Traces of human presence in the caves have been dated to the Upper Paleolithic (36,000 to 10,000 years ago), and include flint tools and graffiti on the walls.
Leaving the caves behind, you will head inland and pass vast quarries that appear to be eating the mountains away, the dust on the roads showing it's a thriving industry. A little further and you'll pass Monte Sparagio and at 1110 m, it's the highest in this region. After reaching Castellammare del Golfo the route joins the A29 briefly and after 10 minutes you head into the hills towards Palermo. This is a great road if a little bumpy that has beautiful scenery as it winds it's way through valleys and the village of Montelepre and onto the outskirts of Palermo at Bellolampo. Here there are sets of 4 and then 3 hairpin bends going down to the city and port of Palermo.

The route visit the nature preserve of Monte Pellegrino. The mountains and surrounding sea make Monte Pellegrino in Palermo a wonderful tourist attraction. The set of 4 hairpin bends going up the mountain and another set of 10 to go back down again, plus the spectacular views of Palermo is why I added it to this route. At the top is the Santuario di Santa Rosalia, a church built into a cave. Santa Rosalia is credited with having saving the city from a deadly plague, and she is known to the locals as La Santuzza, or their “Little Saint”. She lived most of her life in a cave on the mountain, praying for the souls of the city after she retreated there in 1159. In 1624, her purported remains were uncovered, and they are housed in a small chapel built around her cave home. Inside the chapel, there is a small statue of Santa Rosalia from the 17th century. Looking at it, you may feel a sudden speck of damp. The roof of the cave drips water along a special steel cobweb designed for drainage, and it is considered good luck to be dripped on as the liquid is believed to be miraculous. From Monte Pellegrino pictures can be taken of the whole of Palermo, the vast stretches of the Golden Shell Valley, or the rich blues of the Tyrrhenian Sea. You’ll get postcard worthy vistas and the perfect self-portrait to share with the folks back home.

Palermo is the end of this route and also of a tour that has travelled down the west coast of Italy, around Sicily and arrived here. This route passes the entrance to the ferry port for your onward travel plans, or follow it to the end RP for a small hotel with parking.





RP 4. Take a tour of the salt pans from the museum of salt.
RP 22. Great view of Monte Cofano standing proud at 659 m.
Useful links:
Sunrise in Sicily B&B
Casa Marconi Hotel, Palermo
Ferry booking agent

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Nick Carthew - (MRA Senior)
Sicilie
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Sicilie", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (Neapolitan: Regno d’ ’e Ddoje Sicilie; Sicilian: Regnu dî Dui Sicili; Italian: Regno delle Due Sicilie; Spanish: Reino de las Dos Sicilias) was a kingdom located in Southern Italy from 1816 to 1860. The kingdom was the largest sovereign state by population and size in Italy prior to Italian unification, comprising Sicily and all of the peninsula of Italy south of the Papal States, covering most of the area of today's Mezzogiorno. The kingdom was formed when the Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples, which was officially also known as the Kingdom of Sicily. Since both kingdoms were named Sicily, they were collectively known as the "Two Sicilies" (Utraque Sicilia, literally "both Sicilies"), and the unified kingdom adopted this name. The King of the Two Sicilies was overthrown by Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860, after which the people supposedly voted in a plebiscite to join the Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia. The annexation of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies completed the first phase of Italian unification, and the new Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861. The Two Sicilies were heavily agricultural, like the other Italian states.
4018
Amount of visits (Sicilie)
4
Amount of routes verified by RouteXperts (Sicilie)
56
Amount of downloaded routes (Sicilie)
Route collections
The route collections by MyRoute-app are collections of multiple routes that belong to each other and checked by MRA RouteXperts. All routes are identical for TomTom, Garmin and MyRoute-app Navigation.
11
Routes
2491.09
Kilometers
58.22
Hours
View route collection An epic tour down the west coast of Italy to Sicily
About this route collection
This tour of 11 routes has been designed to take you to many of the well known sites in Italy, it even includes some lesser known sites that I think you'll enjoy too.
When they can, the routes will take you as close as you can get to the sites, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa just 100 m from where you park, or the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence where you'll pass right by the end of it and one route takes you as far as you can go up the active volcano Mount Etna.
I said this is a tour of 11 routes and not 11 days because I think you should stop an extra night at one or two places to really enjoy everything that Italy has to offer. For instance; an extra night at La Spezia gives you the opportunity to visit the famous chain of five picturesque seaside fishing villages known as the Cinque Terre. An extra night at the volcanic crater lake - Lake Bracciano, will allow you to take a short train ride into the city Rome to see all of her sights. I'd like an extra night at Salerno to ride the Amalfi Coast road again and another at Cefalu on the island of Sicily to enjoy the spectacular coastline.
What better way to discover amazing Italy than on a road tour? With 80% of world heritage sites, an Italian road tour surely promises an experience worth living!
From a motorcyclist’s point of view, Italy is among the best places in the world to ride. Twisty roads, close distances between sea, hills and mountains – you only need to ride a few miles and the landscape changes completely. Excellent food, good weather and reasonable costs make Italy an attractive touring place for bikers. Reasonably priced hotels and B&Bs; have been used with links to these on each route review.

Route highlights:
Route 1: The Italian Riviera and Portofino.
Route 2: Pisa, Florence and Siena.
Route 3. Volcanic crater lakes and the Tuscany landscape.
Route 4. Twisty roads through the foothills of the Lepini mountains.
Route 5. The Amalfi Coast road.
Route 6. The equally spectacular Cilento Coast road.
Route 7. Tropea and the Coast of Gods.
Route 8. Climbing Mount Etna and the incredibly twisty road to Cefalu.
Route 9. Twisty roads and The Valley of the Temples.
Route 10. The pure white cliffs of Scala dei Turchi and the Selinunte Temples.
Route 11. The salt pans of Trapani and the Grotta Mangiapane.

The tour ends in the ferry port of Palermo where you have a choice to either take to the road to head off of the island at Messina or hop on a ferry. Ferry destinations from Palermo include Genoa in northern Italy, the Italian island of Sardinia where you can tour the island and hop on another ferry to France, or even take a ferry to Tunisia in North Africa. The choice is yours. I hope you have enjoyed this tour.