Alcamo

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{war, force, army}
{land, century, early}
{city, large, area}
{country, population, people}
{city, population, household}
{village, small, smallsup}
{water, park, boat}
{town, population, incorporate}

Alcamo (Sicilian: Àrcamu) is the fourth largest city in the province of Trapani, in north-western Sicily, southern Italy.

Contents

History

Alcamo was founded in 828 by the Muslim commander al-Kamuk (after whom it is named), though other sources date its origin to c. 972. The original Christian settlement, definitively abandoned in the 14th century, was located where remains of a tower and a water reservoir (Funtanazza) can be seen in the neighbourhood.

The first document mentioning Alcamo is from 1154, a document by the Arab geographer Idrisi. Not many years later, ibn Jubayr describes the city as a beleda (town with mosques and a market). In the Middle Ages Alcamo was largely inhabited by Muslim people, whose numbers declined however after the Norman conquest of Sicily, begun in 1060. A series of Arab revolts between 1221 and 1243 led King Frederick II to move much of the Arab population to a colony at Lucera, while Christians from Bonifato came to inhabit the city. In this period was born the famous poet Ciullo or Cielo d'Alcamo.

Several feudataries of the Kingdom of Naples succeeded in the rule of the city until in 1618 Vittoria Colonna sold Alcamo to Pietro Balsamo, prince of Roccafiorita, for 2,000 scudi.

In the 14th century Alcamo had some 3,000 inhabitants. In the late 16th-century the population was decimated by a pestilence, but gradually recovered, increasing to 13,000 in 1798. Four years later its feudal status was abolished and the city became a direct royal possession. In 1829 an outbreak of cholera again killed much of the population, a misfortune which was repeated in 1918, this time due to the Spanish flu.

In 1860 a revolt broke out and numerous Alcamesi were active in the unification of Italy, supporting and fighting under Garibaldi's expedition to southern Italy. The Allied troops entered Alcamo without opposition on July 21, 1943, freeing the city from Fascism.

Main sights

The surrounding areas include interesting tourist and historical locations like Segesta and Gibellina. The old fishing village of Scopello, 20 km from Alcamo, has been referred to as having a remarkable seaside. Another village considered worth visiting is Castellammare del Golfo which is between these two places.

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