Diocese in Sicily, suffragan of Palermo. The city is the capital of a Sicilian province situated on a tongue of land at the most western part of the island, shaped like a reaping-hook, hence the ancient name Drepanon (reaping-hook). It has a good harbour with exports of wine, acid fruits, fish (especially tunny-fish), salt, and ornaments of coral, alabaster, and mother-of-pearl, which are extensively manufactured. The cathedral, exteriorly resembling a fortress, contains paintings by Careca and Vandyke (Crucifixion), and statue of the Dead Christ in alabaster by Tartaglia. Other churches are: San Michele, with wooden statuary, and the sanctuary of the Annunziata outside the city, with a colossal statue of the Madonna, attributed to Nicolò Pisano. In the Jesuit church, called "Nazionale", are precious pictures by Morrealese, Spagnoletto, and Marabiti. The ancient college, now a lyceum, contains the Fardelliona Gallery, with valuable paintings by Reni, Luca Giordano , Caravaggio, Salvator Rosa, Guercino, etc. Trapani is the birthplace of Carrera and Errante the painters, Ximenes the mathematician, Scarlatti the musician, and the Carmelite St. Alberto degli Abbati. Excavations have proved that the shore about Trapani was inhabited during the Stone Age. Drepanon must have been founded by the Greeks, but fell under the sway of the Carthaginians. Hamilcar fortified the port against the Romans, who in 250 suffered a severe defeat near by, at the hands of Adherbal. In the vicinity is Mons Eryx (now San Giuliano), with a magnificent temple of Venus and many votive offerings. Under the Romans the temple fell into decay, but was restored by Tiberius. Trapani was sacked by the Moors in 1077. In 1282 Pedro III of Aragon landed there to begin the capture of the island. In 1314 it was besieged by Robert, King of Naples. Charles V fortified it. The city boasts of having received the Gospel from St. Paul ; it is not known to have had any bishop before the Arab conquest of Sicily ; certainly it was subject to the See of Mazzara from the Norman Conquest till 1844. Its first bishop was the Redemptorist Vincenzo M. Marolda.
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