History, tradition…and good wine! Sicilian Secrets brings you to the western side of Sicily to discover Marsala and the Stagnone Lagoon in the province of Trapani. It’s time to pack and start a new journey. 3…2…1…let’s go!
‘Once upon a time…’, probably this is the best way to introduce our destination. We are talking about a town full of history that, I’m sure, everybody heard at least once in a lifetime: here is Marsala.
It was built on the ruins of Lilybaeum, the ancient Carthaginian city where the First Punic War began in 265 B.C. and that was given to the Romans as part of the peace treaty at the end of the war. Cicero, the famous Latin author, called it splendidissima urbs (the amazing city) because it became soon one the most important spots in the island, actually.
Over the years barbarians, Arabs and Normans ruled Marsala but two dates definitely marked the history: May 11th 1860, when Giuseppe Garibaldi landed there and began the Italian unification, and May 11th (what a coincidence!) 1943, the Allied invasion of Sicily during the World War II. Because of a devastating bombardment, the city was seriously damaged and many people died. Even the New York Times talked about this sad event: “Marsala Wiped Off the Map” (May 13th 1943).
Once you get in the city…
Once you get in town you cannot miss the archaeological area of Capo Boeo. It’s in front of the sea and here it’s possible to find many ruins that date back to the Roman age. From the Insula Romana (houses and streets) to the beautiful statue of Venus that is displayed in the churchyard of San Giovanni al Boeo. Moreover, visit the museum Baglio Anselmi. Why? Because here you can see the Roman ship of Marausa, a merchant ship from the III century AD, and a real Punic ship, the only one that still exists. It’s awesome, isn’t it?
Moreover, Marsala is famous for its churches, such as the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury and known for its huge organ with 4,317 pipes!
You cannot say Marsala without wine. They say that the English trader John Woodhouse introduced the Marsala fortified wine to a wider range of consumers once he landed at the port in 1773. In 1833, the entrepreneur Vincenzo Florio acquired the Woodhouse’s firm and still today Florio is one of the main producers of this wine.
Have you ever tasted it? It’s perfect for the aperitif or served as a dessert wine but good also for cooking (Americans love it!) and make delicious sweets such as tiramisu and zabaglione.
After you have visited Marsala and drunk a glass of wine, it’s time to plunge into the nature. Let’s take a boat to enjoy the beauty of the Stagnone Lagoon.
This nature reserve is very well known especially thanks to Motya, the island that Phoenicians turned into a rich and remarkable city of their time. According to the Greek tradition, this place had a legendary origin strictly related to the myth of Heracles. Wow! Probably this is the reason why it’s so astonishing!
Have you ever seen pink flamingos? And what about saltpans? I’m sure you want to learn more…
Follow Sicilian Secrets…because there’s a lot to say about this amazing spot! And, since summer is coming, it’s the best period to book your trip with Dimensione Sicilia, come to Sicily and visit this area.