Marsala, Sicily

Photo of Marsala in West Sicily

Visit Marsala

Marsala is located on Capo Boeo, the western coast of Sicily and is another tourist attraction because of a rich historical heritage. Marsala is one of the oldest cities of the area, which has historically been the fortress of the Carthaginians, and later came under Arab control - it is the Arabs who gave the city its present name.

The region is best known for its remarkable quality of grapes, which is why Marsala is famous around the world for its sweet white wine, produced here since the 18th century. The sight of hill slopes laden with grapevines is common in the countryside around Marsala.

Marsala holds its unique position historically, as it was the site of the Lilybaeum, which was an important battleground during the Second Punic Wars between the Romans and the Carthaginians. Lilybaeum, the forerunner of Marsala, was an important harbour and a walled city in the northernmost frontier of Carthage, the growing strength of which was seen by Romans as a threat due to the aggression of Carthaginian general Hannibal. However, only a few visible signs, such as the remains of its walls can be seen.

Marsala Town Square is the center of the activity of the town. The 17th century Cathedral of San Tomaso is an important highlight and contains several sculptures of note.

An even more interesting place to visit is the Regional Architecture Museum Baglio Anselmi of Marsala, which is a part of the Lilybaeum Archaeological Park.

As a highlight the Museum features a Punic Warship, reconstruted from the ruins of a ship that was used in the First Punic War. There are also many other artefacts such as mosaics, pieces of ceramics and statues that tell you a lot about the history of Lilybaeum, and the region (the museum is located in a building that was once an important wine production centre).

A couple of other museums of note are also found at Marsala: the Museo di Mozia (the highlight being a 5th century statue of a young Greek) and the Museo degli Arazzi, best known for its impressive 16th century tapestries.

The beaches near Marsala are sandy, and offer long sunshine hours during summers and are very suitable for beach holidays. The beaches near Marsala include Egadi and the nearby famous beach resorts of San Vito del Capo near Trapani and Mazara del Vallo.

See also:

Map of Marsala and places nearby

Marsala places to visit