Castelvetrano Among History, Alleys, and Genealogy


Castelvetrano is a small village placed in the province of Trapani on the South East coast of Sicily. Its favorable position allows you to reach other charming Sicilian towns, such as Mazara del Vallo, Campobello di Mazara,  the hamlet of Triscina and the beach of Marinella di Selinunte ( see the image). The latter is near the Greek archaeological site of Selinunte temples. Seen that Selinunte hamlet is very small, it has been included in the municipality of Castelvetrano.


Castelvetrano is, above all, a settlement founded in the early centuries of the Middle Age, between 1100 and 1200 AC. However, the town was entirely rebuilt in the baroque age and it is for this reason that today you can also admire many baroque churches.

What to see

Chiesa della Trinità - Castelvetrano
basket with olives of castelvetrano

In Castelvetrano, you can see three beautiful, baroque squares , which are linked to the main square. From here, you can see the municipal palace ( town all) and the main church, namely the cathedral ( Chiesa Madre). Always in the main square, there is also another baroque church with the facades filled with statues. This is the Church of the Purgatory, always built in the baroque century. The statues represent the souls of persons dead, who didn’t repent of their sins and for this reason, convicted to wander in an earthly purgatory, represented, here, by this church. Other important attractions are the Museo Civico, in the centre of town, built in 1997 and with important remains dating back to the 5th century BC (the Bronze Age), such as the “Efebo di Selinunte” and the richest building of the village namely Pignatelli Palace. Another unmissable attraction you must visit is Chiesa della Trinità ( see the image). This church was built thanks to the amazing merging between the Islamic and Norman architecture. If you firmly want to remain in Castelvetrano, during your vacation, you can see and admire the monuments and churches I listed above. However, this town is famous for its typical products, also, such as the Black bread of Castelvetrano, Belicino cheese, Extra Virgin Oil, Oliva Nocellara del Belice (see the image), La Vastedda della Valle del Belice DOP cheese and the famous wines: Nero d’Avola, Kirón (Syrah), Calviano and Grillo. Indeed, one of the principal tourist attractions is the typical food festival called La Fiera della Tagliata ( The Fair of the Cutting). This event has been organized on the third Sunday of September since 1759. That is one the most ancient fairs of the town. The name of the fair comes from the ancient Virgin Mary’s sanctuary, placed nearby the tufa quarries. The sanctuary was built in 1700, because, according to a legend, in 1600, the Virgin Mary appeared to a group of stonecutters while they were cutting the stones. During the apparition, the Virgin Mary urged them to continue cutting and said: cut the stone, cut! Today, in this fair, the best typical products of the town are shown to many tourists, including also beautiful wood furniture made by talented hand makers capable to shape and engrave wood.

How Castelvetrano is defined by its villagers

In the website of the municipality of Castelvetrano- Selinunte, written in the Italian language, Castelvetrano is defined as an exceptional source of culture, where the stones are a fantasy of nature, a landscape and a myth . The myth is the one of nearby Selinunte, where still today, fabulous Greek temples can be admired. I already talked about Selinunte temples in this post. The stones are the ones coming from the Cave di Susa, in the hamlet of Selinunte. That is a quarry from where the ancient Greeks extracted the stones to build their stunning temples and the theatre you can admire still today.

Genealogy of Castelvetrano

I know that many old families of Castelvetrano left this town in the early years of the past century. I also learn about this from my American friends on the social networks. Many of them are nieces and descendants of Sicilian migrants, who, in 1900s, moved to the United States by boat, to achieve the so called American dream, namely: a better future and a better job. To find your ancestors, you must see the records of the Municipality of Castelvetrano. Unfortunately, these records are not online and you must send an email message to the municipal officers, to receive the record you are interested in. In the message, you must quote name and surname of your ancient relatives and if you can remember, also the date of birth. If you don’t have the date of birth, try using this tools online:, This website is a free online community of genealogists that help you find information about your Sicilian ancestors. You must only add the first and the last name of your ancient relatives.

How to reach Castelvetrano

To reach Castelvetrano, you can land at Palermo airport or at Trapani airport.  There, you can take a taxi or a bus to reach the town. Instead, to book hotels and accommodations in this beautiful Sicilian village, see here.

23 thoughts on “Castelvetrano Among History, Alleys, and Genealogy

  1. Pingback: Dark bread of Castelvetrano, the most delicious bread of Sicily

  2. Angela

    my maternal grandparents are from Castelvetrano. this article was very interesting.
    Thank you, Angela

  3. Pingback: Complete tourist information to visit Marsala, the Sicilian town on a lagoon

  4. Pingback: Trapani - SICILY ON WEB

  5. Janet Ondrey

    Great post! My father’s maternal and paternal families are from Castelvetrano. We know we have family there still but the relatives that knew them have passed on. I am trying to book a trip to finally get my 82 year old father to see where his family came from. This post helped greatly. I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this because most tours do not go to Castelvetrano and I also have my husband and two boys with us.

    1. Rosalba

      Hi Janet, thank you so much for appreciating this post. The most of Sicilian tours don’t reach the small and secluded towns in Sicily. For this reason, those who want to visit them can use the private taxi service of this blog. Otherwise, from the airport, you can take a bus such as Sais or Ast, but often, you find people who speak only Italian aboard. If you need a transfer with an English speaking driver, instead, send me a message to the contact form: I’ll be happy to help you.

  6. Lisa Cogswell

    My family still lives in Castelvetrano. I have been there many times. I love the whole area. Thank you so much for writing this article.

    1. Rosalba Mancuso

      Thank you Lisa for sharing your personal experience. Castelvetrano is very important in the history of Sicily. Many people moved from there abroad, in the past century and I am happy to help my readers remember their Sicilian roots.

  7. Ingrid

    Thanks for any other informative blog. Where else may just I get that kind of information written in such an ideal means?
    I’ve a project that I’m simply now working on, and
    I’ve been on the glance out for such information.

  8. Judith Pfeiffer

    My maiden name is Vetrano and my grandparents immigrated to America in the 1940’s. I never knew Castlevetrano existed until recently. Any chance they could have come from there or is Vetrano a common name in Italy. Thank you!

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Judith, Vetrano is a surname spread in several places in Sicily and in the South of Italy.
      Yes, it is common in Castelvetrano, also, and between Palermo and Agrigento. In Southern Italy, for example,
      we have a village called Avetrana. It is in Puglia, in the province of Taranto. Hence, your forefathers could come
      from one of these places. I hope this information will help you retrace your exact origins.

      1. judith Vetrano Pfeiffer

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question about my grandparents. I certainly appreciate it. They had eight children; that’s a lot of Vetranos! I don’t know why they never mentioned the fabulous olives. I had to find them in America.

        1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

          Hi Judith, it is always a pleasure for me provide you with helpful information.
          Fortunately, Sicily’s products are everywhere. Very happy you have already found the delicious olives!

        2. Valerie Vetrano Bednar

          Vetrano are from the mainland
          Ebole .My father had 11 brothers and sisters and I have 23 1st cousins all with great grandchildren at this time here in NY and NJ USA.
          I was told that one of my ancesters was given this town because of his Valor and loyality to the Lord or King of the time but I cant trace that back. This website takes of 1300-1400s and it had our name.

          1. Joseph Vetrano

            I’m GIUSEPPE Vetrano and live in Long Island, NY.

            My grandmother over 100 years ago was born in NJ.
            She moved back to Naples Italy.

  9. Kim Orlando

    Thank you for this information I in fact went to Castelvetrano to visit my paternal great aunt and cousins. I had only names and took a train from Rome. I was able to communicate enough and after a few hours was directed to her residence. She lived i a rudimentary place built into a Stone Mountain. She greeted me with espresso and fig cookies and bought out family photos of my dad and uncle. From there I met all other members of my family some that had permanent residence and some that came for summer holiday. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I was 24 now 40 years later I plan to return

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Thank you so much Kim, for sharing your life experience with this blog
      and for appreciating this article. Very happy to hear that you felt
      the same emotions of 40 years ago, again.

  10. Patricia

    I will be in castalvetrano in June and would like to find some family. How can I do that?

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Patricia,
      You can searh the surnames of Castelvetrano families at the following link: In this online archive, scrolling the page down, you’ll find many surnames. If you click one or each of them, you’ll have the complete name, surname and the address. If you also need information about ancient families in Castelvetrano, you must see the civil records at the Municiple of the town (usually, it is in the main square).

  11. Malcolm Schreiber

    Castelvetrano is not a “small village.” At over 30,000 inhabitants, it is a small city and the 4th largest comune in Trapani province. It is much larger (at least 3x larger) than surrounding towns such as Campobello, Mazara, Menfi, Santa Margherita, Montevago, Partanna, etc. Moreover, this was also true even hundreds of years ago.

    I have ancestors from there and all the towns in western Agrigento, and it is annoying doing genealogy in that town because it is bigger than all of those places except Sciacca.

    1. Rosalba Mancuso Post author

      Hi Malcom, every comment is always appreciated here.
      For Sicilians, a great city should have 100,000 inhabitants, at least. It is only a cultural trait.
      As regards the local genealogy, it could be ananoying for you, but not for the people who need to retrieve information about their ancestors.
      I hope this explanation helps.

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