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Sicily, Castellammare del Golfo – a Jewel in the Tyrrhenian Sea – Offering 7% Tax to Retirees

Castellammare del Golfo
Castellammare del Golfo

During a recent trip to Sicily on behalf of clients, I experienced a nostalgic journey that reignited my love for Italy — reminiscent of the Italy I first encountered upon my arrival 35 years ago. Stepping onto Sicilian soil felt like stepping back in time, where the politesse and old-world courtesy still thrive. Even the language retains the elegant formalities of decades past, a charm now rare to find elsewhere in Italy. It was a journey that transported me back in time, rekindling my affection for Italy, and particularly for Sicily, all over again. In the midst of this rediscovery, Castellammare del Golfo emerged as a shining example of Sicily's enduring allure, beckoning with its rich history, stunning landscapes, and welcoming community.

Castellammare del Golfo - Porto Turistico
Castellammare del Golfo - Porto Turistico

Castellammare del Golfo, nestled between the famous tourist destinations of Capo Rama to the east and San Vito lo Capo to the west, is a must-visit gem. Situated in a gulf with turquoise waters, the village is set against a rugged mountain with lush vegetation, dominated by a promontory where, in the tenth century, the Arabs built the castle overlooking the sea – hence the name, Castellammare. Two sandy beaches, each on one side of the promontory, complete this enchanting landscape. While the overall view is breathtaking, hidden treasures await in the historic village and surrounding areas. You can tailor your own themed itinerary, whether exploring the centuries-old history of Castellammare or enjoying a naturalistic journey from the mountain to the coast. After excursions, relax with a dip in crystal-clear azure waters or savour delicious Sicilian cuisine in a typical restaurant. With its attractions, it's no wonder a small town of 15,000 inhabitants once dedicated to fishing now thrives on tourism.

The main draw in Castellammare del Golfo is undoubtedly its stunning beaches. Along this stretch of the Trapani province, the coastline alternates between fine sandy beaches and rocky, rugged stretches, with numerous coves, small beaches, and inlets. Among the beaches, the most famous (and arguably the most picturesque) is La Tonnara beach in Scopello, surrounded by exceptional natural beauty near the Zingaro Nature Reserve. Loved by divers for its rich marine life, the calm and clean waters of Scopello are also suitable for snorkelling or simply relaxing on the beach with a view of the two imposing sea stacks – the Faraglioni di Scopello. Part of the beach is occupied by an ancient 13th-century tuna fishery, where tuna were caught until the 1980s. The transparent blue waters, the two iconic sea stacks, the historical and cultural richness of the village, and the lush nature make Scopello one of the most beloved Sicilian destinations for both Italian and foreign tourists. It can be reached from Castellammare del Golfo in five minutes by car or by public transport. Other nearby beaches not to be missed include Cala Mazzo, Cala Bianca, Cala Rossa, and Punta Pispisa.

Zingaro Nature Reserve

Historians and geographers such as Ptolemy, Diodorus Siculus, and Strabo suggest that Castellammare del Golfo originated as Emporium Segestanorum, the port of Segesta, a nearby city that shared similar fortunes until its decline. The Arabs invaded Castellammare del Golfo in 827 AD, naming it "Al Madarig" ("The Steps"), perhaps due to a steep street leading from the harbour to the fortified bastion area. It was the Arabs who initially constructed the castle fortress, later expanded by the Normans. The castle stood on a rocky outcrop near the sea, connected to the mainland by a wooden drawbridge. Fishing has been integral to Castellammare del Golfo since ancient times, with the town's economy now bolstered by fishing and tourism.

Faraglioni di Scopello Sicily
Faraglioni di Scopello

The town is also notable for being the birthplace of several Sicilian-American Mafia figures, contributing to the Castellamarese War for control of the New York City underworld. During the peak of Italian immigration to the United States, many residents from Castellammare del Golfo settled in various neighbourhoods of New York City. In recent decades, Castellammare del Golfo has emerged as a significant tourist destination due to its strategic location between Palermo and Trapani. And, it was also the location for the filming of Ocean's Twelve! 

At Finding La Dolce Vita, we are committed to helping expats navigate the complexities of relocating to Italy, including understanding and optimising their tax obligations. Whether you're a retiree seeking serenity in southern Italy, a professional embarking on a new career path, or a high net worth individual seeking tax efficiency, our boutique expat relocation agency is here to assist you every step of the way. With Italy's advantageous tax regimes and our personalised relocation services, your journey to La Dolce Vita awaits. Contact us today to start your Italian adventure!

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