Mazara del Vallo, Sicily: with an ancient Casbah and 'dancing satyr'

Photo of Mazara del Vallo in West Sicily

Visit Mazara del Vallo

Mazara del Vallo is a small town best known for its fishing and agriculture, located on the South Western coast of Sicily, in the province of Trapani.

Mazara del Vallo is also home to the largest fishing fleet in Sicily, and is as active a fishing port today as it has always been since its establishment. It is among the most ancient settlements established in Sicily, and its foundations date back to the time when the Phoenician seafarers ruled the Mediterranean trade

Explore Mazara del Vallo

Mazara del Vallo is a pleasant town to visit both for its beaches and for various attractions in the town itself.

Mazara has a lively Arab Casbah full of narrow lanes of pretty houses decorated with tiles. The scent of spices and couscous perfumes the air and a thriving Tunisian and North African community keep up the traditions of the area.

Following the Norman conquest in the 11th century various Norman churches and buildings were constructed and chief among these is the Norman Arc though it stands in ruins now, as it was destroyed in 1880.


Another important building is the cathedral of Mazara which is an attractive mix of Greek, Romanesque and Baroque styles. Inside as well as a number of important art works are some Sarcophagi which have been discovered in recent years and which have been decorated with various scenes of battles and hunting.

The cathedral can be found on the attractive Piazza de la Republica which is a beautiful square in the heart of the town. It is also home to a Spanish baroque seminary.

During the 16th century various buildings were erected in the Baroque style and these include the Church of Saint Catherine near the cathedral, the church of Santa Veneranda and the church of Sant Michael.

One of the most important tourist attractions of the town is the Museo del Satiro, which is a small but worth visiting museum that contains the “Dancing Satyr”, a bronze sculpture of a satyr thought to be sculpted by Ancient Greek artist Praxiteles, who lived in the 4th century BC.

The sculpture was found underwater in the region in 1998. Ever since the discovery of the sculpture, the tourism in Mazara del Vallo has flourished considerably. The museum also features a few of the other discoveries made in the region.

The museum building used to be a church and has been transformed to fulfill the needs of a museum, located in the city center. Museo Diocesano is another important museum and houses a number of ancient cultural artifacts.

Many visitors to Sicily come for the beaches and just outside Mazara del Vallo, the town features a breathtaking beach, which is probably the best in south-western Sicily. The harbour of Mazara is also very lively and worth exploring.

Saint Vitus is the patron saint of Mazara del Vallo, and his feast day is celebrated every year on June 15.

Places to visit nearby

Marsala is a fascinating coastal town and is also close to some important archaeological sites. Selinunte is one of the key archaological sites of Sicily with important Greek temples.

See also:

Map of Mazara del Vallo and places nearby

Mazara del Vallo places to visit