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Mazara del Vallo is one of Italy's most important fishing ports. Situated in Sicily’s southwestern area at the mouth of the river Mazaro. The commercial heart of the city is the picturesque harbor-channel surrounded by an old Arab neighborhood. During the Arab ruling Mazara del Vallo was prospering with its successful trading industry. Normans fortified the city surrounding it with a wall and building a castle, embellishing it with churches, palaces and monasteries.
Calatafimi - Segesta
Castellammare del Golfo
San Vito lo Capo
More About Mazara Del Vallo
The 11th century cathedral dedicated to ‘’Santissimo Salvatore’’ was built when Mazara was the Normans' main territory, damaged through the years, it was eventually rebuilt in the late 17th century. The baroque façade is decorated with a 17th century relief depicting Count Roger de Hauteville, who brought back Christianity to the island by defeating the unbelievers.
The sumptuous three aisles church is richly decorated with stucco and frescoes covering the central vault and the main altar is a masterpiece of sacred silverware. The most valuable artwork is the ''Trasfigurazione'' by Antonello Gagini, a dramatic composition with six marble statues depicting Jesus on Mount Tabor with the prophets Moses, Elijah and the Apostles Peter, James and John.
Also the work of Gagini is on display, the beautiful 16th century statue of Santa Caterina, guarded in the nearby Baroque church of the same name. Examples of the Arab-Norman style are the churches ‘’Madonna delle Giummare’’ and ‘’San Nicolò Regale’’ which are characterized by a crenelated and cubic shape.
The 15th century church of Sant'Egidio houses the Museum of the Dancing Satyr, a fine Hellenistic bronze sculpture accidentally found in 1998 by fishermen in the Strait of Sicily. It is on display alongside the Punic-Carthaginian amphorae and other archaeological remains found at sea.
San Vito, a native of the city, is the patron saint of Mazara del Vallo, commemorated in late August with ’’'u fistinu Santu Vitu, a religious celebration with strong spiritual vibes, lasting a few days. It is celebrated with a sacred representation and martyrdom of the saint’s life and the procession of the patron's statue at sea. Fish is the main component of Mazara's gastronomy, used in main dishes such as ‘’pasta con le sarde’’ (with sardines) and fish couscous.