San Vito Lo Capo
The town is one of the most famous summer resort of Sicily, for the beach beauty which in 2011 it was voted the best Italian beach and the eighth in Europa. In its territory there is the most western part of the Zingaro Reserve. Founded at the end of the eighteenth century in the country of Erice, at the foot of Mount Monaco, in the bright bay between Capo San Vito and Punta Solanto. Particularities of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic you found in several natural caves, once houses, in front of the sea. Shrouded in mystery is the existence of an ancient village, Conturrana, a huge cliff at 500 steps from the shore, detached from the mountain. Here, around the end of the fourth century BC, perhaps there was a small town. Basic heart of San Vito Lo Capo is the Sanctuary, an ancient fortress that over the centuries it had many building works. The first building, built around ‘300 AD, it was a small chapel dedicated to San Vito martyr, patron saint of the town. According to a tradition reported by all the sacred and enthusiast writers of Sicilian history, the young Vito (perhaps from Lucania), to escape the persecutions ordered by Diocletian (303-304), and rage of his father Ila and Valerian prefect, togheter his teacher Modesto and nurse Crescentia, escaped by sea from Mazara with the favor of the winds, he landed on the coast of the Punta Fee, in Mount Erice’s land, called Cape Egitarso by the ancient. Here he began to preach the word of God among the people of the place, in a village not far from the beach, called Conturrana.
In the name of God delivered the sick persons, those who were affected by rabies or animal bites, or compromises in health for a sudden fright, he chased away the evil spirits. The popular faith believes that the young man San Vito, martyr in the Diocletian time, in this country he was not well accepted. San Vito lived after a time in Egitarso and, after a journey through Sicily and Basilicata, martyrdom, was killed on 15 June 299 AD. The church reputation and the "miracles" attributed to the martyr Vito grew in the time and the original building went turning into a fortress-residence for many pilgrims. Then Sanctuary was changed in a great devotion centre, and the miracles fame of the Saint’s miracles went beyond the Sicily border, calling many people every year. Even the same pirates, declared enemies of the Catholic faith, had respect for the Holy and his temple. Many watchtowers were built along the island coasts because of pirates. The main towers were three, two are still visible and they are Scieri tower and Isolidda tower. Instead the third, Roccazzo tower, is situated on the Soprano flat that extends towards west of the San Vito town (this site was on purpose chosen because the one protecting the other two towers). It was demolished to make space to military lighthouse on 1935. At the beginning of the eighteenth century it began to appear the first houses all around the Sanctuary. At the end of same century, a small group of houses already appeared around the Church. With passage of time, town welcome explorers, travellers and even government officers who, moved by curiosity, cultural or military interests, began to point meticulous and interesting descriptions on the places geographical visited.