Alcamo

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For other uses, see Alcamo (disambiguation).
Alcamo
Àrcamu
Comune
Comune di Alcamo
PanAlcamo1.jpg
Coat of arms of Alcamo
Coat of arms
Alcamo is located in Italy
Alcamo
Alcamo
Location of Alcamo in Italy
Coordinates: 37°58′N 12°58′E / 37.967°N 12.967°E / 37.967; 12.967
Country Italy
Region Sicily
Province Trapani (TP)
Frazioni Alcamo Marina
Government
 • Mayor Sebastiano Bonventre
Area
 • Total 130 km2 (50 sq mi)
Elevation 256 m (840 ft)
Population (2010)
 • Total 45,985
 • Density 350/km2 (920/sq mi)
Demonym Alcamesi
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 91011
Dialing code 0924
Patron saint Madonna of the Miracles
Saint day June 21
Website Official website

Alcamo (Sicilian: Àrcamu) is the fourth largest city in the province of Trapani, in north-western Sicily, southern Italy.

History[edit]

Alcamo was founded in 828 by the Muslim commander al-Kamuk (after whom it is named), though other sources date its origin to c. 972. The original Christian settlement, definitively abandoned in the 14th century, was located where remains of a tower and a water reservoir (Funtanazza) can be seen in the neighbourhood.

Castle of the counts of Modica.

The first document mentioning Alcamo is from 1154, a document by the Arab geographer Idrisi. Not many years later, ibn Jubayr describes the city as a beleda (town with mosques and a market). In the Middle Ages Alcamo was largely inhabited by Muslim people, whose numbers declined however after the Norman conquest of Sicily, begun in 1060. A series of Arab revolts between 1221 and 1243 led King Frederick II to move much of the Arab population to a colony at Lucera, while Christians from Bonifato came to inhabit the city. In this period was born the famous poet Ciullo or Cielo d'Alcamo.

Several feudataries of the Kingdom of Naples succeeded in the rule of the city until in 1618 Vittoria Colonna sold Alcamo to Pietro Balsamo, prince of Roccafiorita, for 2,000 scudi.

In the 14th century Alcamo had some 3,000 inhabitants. In the late 16th-century the population was decimated by a pestilence, but gradually recovered, increasing to 13,000 in 1798. Four years later its feudal status was abolished and the city became a direct royal possession. In 1829 an outbreak of cholera again killed much of the population, a misfortune which was repeated in 1918, this time due to the Spanish flu.

In 1860 a revolt broke out and numerous Alcamesi were active in the unification of Italy, supporting and fighting under Garibaldi's expedition to southern Italy. The Allied troops entered Alcamo without opposition on July 21, 1943, freeing the city from Fascist and German forces.

Main sights[edit]

  • The Castle of the Counts of Modica (14th century). It has a rhomboidal plan, with four towers; two are quadrangular, two are cylindrical. In the northern part a mullioned window in Gothic style can be seen.
  • The Castle Calatubo, built before 1093. It stands on a limestone rock and dominate with its height the surrounding area.
  • Cathedral (18th century) has works of art by Giacomo Gagini and Giacomo Serpotta, as well as frescos by Guglielmo Borremans.

The surrounding areas include interesting tourist and historical locations like Segesta and Gibellina. The old fishing village of Scopello, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Alcamo, has been referred to as having a remarkable seaside. Another village considered worth visiting is Castellammare del Golfo which is between these two places.

Notable people[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

External links[edit]