Marsala is the seaport town in the island of Sicily and is best known for its Marsala wine. The town traces its origins to Lilybaeum a Carthaginian stronghold in the island of Sicily and its first ruler is Himilco. It was part of the peace treaty at the end of the first Punic War and was later on a prosperous town which is the starting point of Roman expeditions and much later, a colony under the rule of Pertinax or Septimius Severus. But it was the Arabs who gave its present name which means Port of Allah from the Arab word “Marsa Allah.” The town appeals to archeologists and tourists who are interested with Phoenician culture and their shipbuilding masterpieces. Portions of the city walls, squared stones and some structures of the old city of Lilybaeum can still be seen. The 19th century Roman gate, Sibyl grotto and spring, and the great fosse in the town’s eastern section can also be visited. There are also quarries similar to those in Syracuse.
Mazara del Vallo
Located on the left bank of the Mazaro River, the ancient town of Mazara del Vallo dates back to the Phoenicians which gave the name Mazar which means rock. Subsequently, the town progress to be one of Italy’s major fishing ports and an agricultural center. Owe to its close proximity to the African continent, it has a high percentage of immigrants from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Mauritania. Many of these immigrants live in Casbah or the old Arab center. Among the town’s attraction are: the bronze statue called Dancing Satyr which is said to be sculpted by Greek artist Praxiteles, the 11th century Norman Arc and the 12th century church of San Nicolo Regale. Not to be missed out is the 18th century Seminary which surrounds Piazza della Repubblica and the church of the town’s patron saint St. Vitus on the Sea, which coincidentally is a resident of the town.