Sanctuary of the Madonna of Trapani
The Sanctuary of Maria Santissima di Trapani , also called Sanctuary of the Madonna di Trapani or Basilica of Maria Santissima Annunziata , stands at the foot of Mount San Giuliano, a few miles from the promontory of the city of Trapani, and is the Marian Sanctuary most important in western Sicily .
The religious complex was officiated by the Carmelite friars who arrived in Trapani in the mid-thirteenth century. According to some historians, they first settled in the small church of Santa Maria del parto, and later, in 1250, they received a small chapel as a donation, dedicated to the Annunziata and the adjacent lands to the east, outside the city walls. In those years, an illustrious holy son, Sant’Alberto, a relative of the Abbots, entered the monastery in Trapani. Other possessions were thus offered to the Carmelites for their livelihood and for the expansion of the primitive church. In this way, valuable architectural and decorative structures of the Sanctuary will be created, largely which have come down to us thanks to the conspicuous and public offerings of benefactors from all walks of life.
The facade, today appears with the superimposition of the two architectural styles: its portal in Arab-Norman style with an ogival shape from 1361 and the radial rose window, and with the eighteenth-century frame and rise . It is flanked by the monumental Baroque bell tower , the work of the master builder Nicola Pisano.
In 1760 the church was transformed from the Catalan Gothic style which provided for three naves, to the Renaissance Baroque style, creating a single and large nave with sixteen columns leaning against the walls and with gilded stuccoes with very pleasant motifs. Under the oval dome, surrounded by a 17th century walnut choir, stands the papal altar surmounted by the modern ciborium with eight bronze statues. Under the table rest the relics of the Roman martyr San Clemente. Behind the main altar is the simulacrum of Madonna of Trapani, venerated in the city. According to tradition, the Madonna comes from the island of Cyprus, embarked for Italy to save her from the Moors, but a storm forced the ship to stop in Trapani, from where it never started again: every time an attempt was made to send her back to her original destination, miraculous events prevented boarding.
Of considerable value is the large canvas of the Annunziata , to which the sanctuary is dedicated, of the Priest Rosario Matera dating back to the eighteenth century. Above you can admire the ribbed vault, a legacy of the previous Gothic style.