The name Terrasini derives from the nearby promontory of Capo Rama, which with the opposite Capo San Vito forms the wide gulf of Castellammare, the ancient “Sinus Aegestanus”: from the nearby gulf the territory began to be called “Terra Sinus” (land of the gulf), then transformed into “Terrasini”.
A chain of low mountains surrounds the built-up area of Terrasini, which lies in a picturesque valley sloping down towards the sea. The populous village, probably of late medieval origin, was the feudal domain of the princes of Carini of the La Grua Talamanca family, who at the beginning of the 18th century had purchased this territory from Baron Donato di Gazzara.
The municipal history of Terrasini began in 1836 with the unification of the two neighboring villages of Terrasini and Favarotta, in the initial stretch of the gulf, dominated by the Tower of Capo Rama. Today the promontory of Capo Rama has been declared a natural reserve for the richness and variety of avian flora and fauna.
The oldest part of the town, with a regular plot, is set in long blocks of low, white houses, lined along neat and straight streets converging towards the sea, in this context stands the monumental mother church and the two eighteenth-century buildings belonging to the princes of Carini , feudal lords of Terrasini until the nineteenth century: the La Grua Talamanca palace, recently restored, today houses the Town Hall of Terrasini, while the Cataldi palace preserves the original characteristics of an eighteenth-century noble palace.
The Cataldi palace, seat of the Municipal Library “Claudio Catalfio”, in via Benedetto Saputo, and the eighteenth-century castle of the princes La Grua Talamanca, today the municipal palace, in piazza Borsellino e Falcone, a building now altered.
The Palazzo d’Aumale has been home to the civic museum since 1984, the museum was born from the union of the historical-ethnographic museum of the Sicilian cart “S. Ventimiglia” which was founded in 1973 thanks to the commitment of professor Salvatore Ventimiglia with the Civic Museum. of natural history that had been opened in 1981. The museum is composed of three different thematic areas, the ethnographic, the naturalistic and the archaeological. Originally the museum kept, in addition to the ethnographic collection of Salvatore Ventimiglia, from naturalistic collections such as the Sommariva ornithological collection, the Orlando mammal collection, both donated to the Municipality, and from the Orlando-owned ornithological collection.
In the green suburbs, among patches of olive groves, lemon groves and orange groves, there are some buildings worthy of mention. First of all, Villa Fassini, in liberty style attributed to the great architect Ernesto Basile. The villa, which belonged to the powerful Sicilian Florio family, was also a meeting place in the 1970s for a large and important hippy community, formed by young people from all over Italy and even from Europe. Furthermore, in the Bagliuso district, there is the seventeenth-century Gazzara castle, which belonged to the powerful local barony and the characteristic senia, an instrument used for agricultural irrigation since the Arab period, an expression of the local culture.
The oldest artifact existing in the municipal territory of Terrasini is the Tower of Capo Rama that dominates the homonymous promontory, falling in zone A of the Capo Rama Natural Reserve. The tower was built in the fifteenth century to spot pirate boats and signal their presence through the fani and is included in all the official lists of the towers that made up the complex and articulated coastal sighting system. The tower of Capo Rama was part of the 11 towers controlled by the Senate of the City of Palermo, of which it also represented the most western.
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