Colomabaia is probably the oldest and known symbol of Trapani
(together with Ligny Tower). There are
several legends about its first building, although historians are
agreed to assign its foundation to Amilcare Barca (Hannibal's father,
the leader who went through the Alps with elephants and won the
Romans). The occasion was the First Punic War.
During the Middle Ages, was rebuilt by the Aragonese in the current octagonal shape. It was enlarged in 1400, and became a fortress during the reign of Charles V, to defend the city from barbarian raids. The latest transformations suffered in the 'XVII century on the orders of the viceroy Don Claudio Lamoraldo, Prince of Ligny. On the facade of the tower you can still read the plaque that was put up in 1671 by the Prince. When as military destination has been disused, it was transformed into a prison by the Bourbons, after the riots of 1821 and until 1860 housed the Sicilian patriots of the Risorgimento, including Michele Fardella, Baron Mokarta, who was mayor of Trapani in 1861.
Was used as a prison until 1965, when was opened the new prison in Trapani, then fell into a state of neglect. In 2009 it was identified by the Environment Fund as Italian Place of the hearts of Italians, because the monument was in a state of decay and neglect and was not object of restoration. It has recently been restored and, thanks to the contribution of the "SAVE THE COLOMBAIA", can also be visited inside.