Balestrate is a municipality of 6,500 people (2015) in Palermo Province, Sicily. Balestrate's population swells up to almost 30,000 during the summer season with vacationing Europeans and Italians from the colder climates seeking the warm water and sun. It is in the middle of the gulf of Castellammare, at about 50 km both from Palermo and Trapani.
Balestrate originated in the 17th century around the tonnara of the Fardella's family. At first it was called Sicciara, that is the place where they fished cuttlefish (siccia in Sicilian). On March 29th 1820, thanks to the decree of King Ferdinand I of Bourbon, this maritime village took the name of Balestrate. The name is derived from an anecdote: in 1307 King Frederick II of Aragon, fell in love with the beauties of its sea and beaches and reserved the sovranity of those places for a width as large as a pulling from a crossbow.
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