Did you know?
Marsala was founded originally as Lylibeo in the 4th century BC by the Carthaginians on Capo Boeo, Sicily's westernmost tip. It enjoyed a period of great prosperity in the Roman ages and under the Arabs’ leadership who named the city Marsa Allah (Port of God), hence its current name. It is famous all around the world for the production of liqueur wine, started by the English merchant John Woodhouse in the 18th century.
Annexed to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies until May 11th 1860, when Giuseppe Garibaldi leading the Spedizione dei Mille (Expedition of the Thousands) landed right in Marsala's port, pursuing the unification of Italy. A day which is commemorated every year with events dedicated to both Garibaldi and the remembrance of the Anglo-American bombing in 1943, a dramatic event that earned Marsala the gold medal for civil valor.
Calatafimi - Segesta
Castellammare del Golfo
San Vito lo Capo
Mazara del Vallo
More About Marsala
Conserving its medieval structure the Porta Garibaldi is still one of the main gateways to the old town through which the Mille (the Garibaldians) entered the city. The Mannerist Baroque Cathedral, dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, built on an old Norman castle's site, houses many 15th and 16th century artworks, including sculptures by the likes of Gagini and a large marble altarpiece depicting scenes from the life of Christ. Eight precious 16th century Flemish tapestries are on show in the small museum, after being kept hidden for centuries for the sake of its integrity.
Ceramics, pottery, coins found in Lylibeo's archaeological area, are on display in the Archaeological Museum in Baglio Anselmi, where you can also witness the extraordinary 3rd century BC Punic ship discovered in 1969 in the Lagoon of Marsala, the only example of this kind of ship which managed to arrive this far.
The city center is the main stage for the procession of the Living Groups held on Holy Thursday, Settimana Santa’s (Holy Week's) most significant event, where groups of people dressed in costumes, recreate the most significant moments of the Passion of Christ, ending with the Crucifixion.
Marsala's cuisine is influenced by the Arabs, priding with specialties like the fish couscous and a wide range of sweets and desserts like the ‘’Cassata’’, getting its name from the Arab word quas’at, ‘’mustaccioli’’, sweets made with mulled wine and the ‘‘capidduzzi’’, stuffed crescents with sweet cream mixed with the addition of dry Marsala wine, the highly appreciated liqueur wine which is also exported all around the world.