Marsala and more
What to see in Marsala
All you really need to visit
The Cathedral overlooks the piazza della Repubblica and the adjacent via Giuseppe Garibaldi with its façade. It is the largest of the churches in Marsala, and is dedicated to St. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. Over the centuries the church underwent numerous extensions and restoration work up to its present appearance. If the exterior is striking for its baroque style in the lower part and the baroque one in the upper area, the interior of the church is in the Norman style with only a few baroque details.
Chiesa del Purgatorio
For many, the Church of Purgatory is considered the most beautiful church in Marsala and one of the most beautiful examples of Sicilian Baroque. The building was enlarged after a plague and since 1601 it has welcomed the Congregation of the Souls of Purgatory, from which it takes its name. Renovated in 1669 and completed in 1710, it is a moment of perfect union with the architecture and the urban context. The church has a Latin cross basilica plan, with three naves with a transept and a high and elegant dome. There are numerous eighteenth-century frescoes inside.
Initially called Porta del Mare, as it overlooks the city beach, it appears as one of the four access points to the city, of which only two are still standing (together with Porta Nuova), and is a valuable construction of late Renaissance style - baroque, with Mannerist inspiration. The name Porta Garibaldi was given to the gate after 11 May 1860, when Giuseppe Garibaldi, at the head of the Thousand, arrived in Marsala, the first stop on his "journey of unification" of Italy.
Not far from Piazza della Loggia, the Cassaro is “via XI Maggio”, the main street in the city center. Very busy and lively both in winter and in summer, this pedestrian street is ideal for a nice walk, for shopping, to have a coffee with friends but also an occasion to drink an excellent glass of wine (the area is full of wine bars!), as well as to go in order to spend a pleasant evening.
Immediately it is possible to grasp the sobriety for style and decorations typical of sixteenth-century classicism, although the model of the triumphal arch with a fornix fully recalls the Roman style. The two side niches are empty, but inside the archway, you can see two tombstones that recall (the first) the speech of King Vittorio Emanuele III at the entrance of Italy in the First World War and (the second) the victory speech of General Armando Diaz at the end of the same. The style of this door is sober and elegant and recalls that one of the Roman triumphal arches.
During the day this place is a real market where you can buy excellent local fresh fish, while in the evening it turns into a small great concentration of bars and pubs where you can drink a cocktail or a beer.
Walking along the Lungomare you can reach Capo Boeo. From here you can see Egadi Islands. At the beginning of the walk, on the other side of Capo Boeo and near Porta Garibaldi, there is the Monument “ai Mille” . If you are interested in archeology, walking along the Lungomare Boeo it will not be difficult for you to see the Archaeological Park of Lilibeo with the adjoining Museum. Inside it is possible to admire the remains of an ancient Punic ship and discover the history of the foundation of Marsala.
Marsala and the wine
There is an unmissable stop if you visit Marsala and love wine: wineries where the famous Marsala wine is produced. The historic wineries include: Cantine Florio , whose structure occupies about 40,000 square meters, and Cantine Donnafugata. Both are open to the public and organize tours and guided tours with tasting. One of the most evocative wineries, as it is immersed in nature, where it is possible to take a tour among the rows is the Assuli Winery. Visits take place from Monday to Friday. Upon reservation it is possible to organize guided tours also on Saturdays and for small groups
What to do in Marsala in the evening
Marsala in the evening offers several wine bars where you can sit and taste a couple of glasses of local wine, excellent cocktail bars, but also pubs and some disco bars. One of the best places to spend a couple of hours in the evening in Marsala is the Antico Mercato, the real heart of the city's nightlife. If you don't like nightlife, but you prefer a relaxing walk, you can always walk along the Lungomare Boeo perhaps enjoying a nice freshly stuffed Sicilian “cannolo”, the typical Sicilian dessert.
The Saline of the Lagoon
The Saline della Laguna constitute a real natural oasis, located a few kilometers from the center of Marsala. The typical landscape of the salt pans with basins, mills and ponds is particularly suggestive (especially if you visit it at sunset or at dawn, when the reflections of the light in the water create beautiful plays of color and there are still few tourists around. ); moreover, the whole area is populated by various species of water birds , including herons and flamingos, which make this natural glimpse even more heavenly, especially for bird lovers watching.
Looking out from the Lungomare Boeo you can easily see Egadi Islands. From Marsala there are numerous connections to Favignana and the nearby islands, but also several daily tours that will allow you to discover the beauties of the small archipelago.
Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo is about 30 minutes by car from Marsala and is one of the most fascinating cities in the area. Among its narrow alleys you can breathe an atmosphere with African and Arab scents, for this reason its historic center is also called Kasbah . Rich in traditions and folklore, Mazara del Vallo is a symbolic city of Mediterranean culture that does not fail to fascinate its increasingly numerous visitors. The urban layout and the elegant buildings of the center betray the multiethnic origins of this city, inhabited and dominated over the centuries by very different populations such as Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Saracens and Normans: stroll through the labyrinthine historic center in search of the traces left by these populations. Lying between the shores of the Mediterranean sea and the mouth of the Mazaro river, the "City of the Satyr" is not only the unmissable stop on an artistic-cultural itinerary, but also a city in which to stop for a day or more to relax by the sea . The coast around Mazara del Vallo is dotted with suggestive beaches, some sandy others rocky, all bathed by a crystal-clear sea that invites you to take a refreshing dip.
Trapani is about 30 km from Marsala. A weekend is enough to visit Trapani and to take a walk in its surroundings: in Erice, in the wonderful gulf of Golfo di Castellamare and in the numerous protected reserves. The visit to Trapani has to start from the Cathedral of San Lorenzo with its sumptuous Baroque façade whose origins date back to the Norman era. In your itinerary to discover the places of worship of the city, you cannot miss a visit to the Sanctuary of the Annunziata which preserves an important statue, the Madonna of Trapani. Within the church you will also find the Pepoli Museum a great symbol about the ancient past of the city. Do not miss the charm of the historic center of Trapani, with its Arabian streets overlooked by beautiful Baroque buildings such as the Palazzo Senatorio, Palazzo Lucatelli or Palazzo d'Alì. Along Corso Vittorio Emanuele, at the corner with Via Roma, it is important to visit one of the most beautiful churches in Trapani, the Church of the Jesuit, the baroque building lavishly decorated with stucco and marble. You can reach one of the symbols of Trapani, Torre Ligny which is located on the extreme tip of the coast of the city, where it is possible to admire its collection of Roman amphorae found in the archaeological site of Trapani. On a small island, at the western end of the port of Trapani, you can admire the Castello della Colombaia , also known as the Castle of the sea , exceptionally open during FAI days. On your list of things to see in Trapani, there is a walk along the Mura di Tramontana, the ancient perimeter walls of the city built during the Spanish domination. Don't miss a relaxing stop at Villa Margherita. If you want to admire the view of Trapani from above, you should reach the city of Erice. It is possible to visit it, climbing to the top with the cable car, in order to enjoy one of the most beautiful views of your holiday in Sicily.