Did you know?
Portopalo di Capo Passero is Italy's southernmost municipality, situated on the promontory of Capo Passero, Sicily's extreme south-eastern point. It faces the Ionian Sea and the Strait of Sicily, including Isola di Capo Passero and Isola delle Correnti and its port houses one of the largest Sicilian fishing fleets.
More About Portopalo di Capo Passero
The site where Portopalo stands was already inhabited in early Christian times. The current village was founded in 1778 by Baron Gaetano Deodato Moncada, who built houses for fishermen and farmers near an ancient tuna trap.
For centuries the medieval trap of Capo Passero was the village's main activity, along with fishing. Now abandoned, it is a striking monument of industrial archaeology overlooking the coast, north of the village, where the remains of the old loggia rest, the furnace and the plant for tuna processing.
Other trap's ruins are located off coast on Isola di Capo Passero. Easily accessible by boat and kayak. The islet is covered with typical Mediterranean flora, including dwarf palms and a large number of gulls nesting on its cliffs.
The 17th century mighty Capo Passero fortress, built by Spaniards against frequent attacks from Arabs and Turks, is the islet's only building. The fortress is set around an internal courtyard, with no external openings, and it used to house a military garrison. Today it serves as a Navy lighthouse. Another lighthouse stands on the small Island of ''delle Correnti'', overlooking the Strait of Sicily.
The Feast of San Gaetano, Portopalo's main religious holiday, is celebrated in August every year with the traditional procession of the saint's statue and popular games such as the ''cuccagna a mare'', ''rottura dei pignatelli'' and a boat race in the waters of Scalo Mandrie. Considered a sort of Palio del Mare, ''A cursa re varchi'' is the summer's most anticipated event.