Marsala is very famous for its wine production and for the landing of Garibaldi and his thousand men. But Marsala is much more: natural, architectural and archaeological beauty, culinary specialties.
The Natural Reserve of Stagnone, Mozia and Salt Flats
To the north of Marsala, between the mainland and the first of Egadi’s Island, Favignana, there is a mini archipelago, the islands of the Stagnone, made from the island Grande , from the island of Mozia and the islands of Santa Maria and Schola.
The Natural Reserve of Stagnone is a fantastic mix of history and nature that merging creating a unique and breathtaking view. It is important both from the point of view of nature from that archaeological. On the one hand, in fact, it is the largest Sicilian coastal lagoon natural presenting, on the seabed, Posidonia oceanic expanses and a large number of animal species that can live while belonging to very different ecosystems. On the other hand, is home to what is considered a rare case of Phoenician-Punic center still intact, the island of Mozia.
Mozia, which now belongs to the Whitaker Foundation, was founded by the Phoenicians as a control point on the western Mediterranean trade routes. On the island you can see the remains of the House of the Mosaics, the South Gate, the Dry Dock, the remains of the fortifications on the north coast, the great North Gate, the necropolis, the Santuario Phoenician or “Tophet”. The archaeological findings are exhibited in the museum of the island between them stands the famous “Giovinetto”, Greek marble statue of the V century BC found in 1979.
Natural Reserve of the Stagnone is characterized by shallow waters with temperatures often higher and climatic conditions particularly suited to the exploitation of one of the historic resources of the Sicilian economy, already very valuable at the time of the Phoenicians who first put it up production techniques : the salt.
The salt route, which runs along a route of about 30 km from Trapani to Marsala, is characterized by the presence of wonderful windmills, many of which have been restored in recent years, which offer the passer, especially at sunset, one breathtaking spectacle.
Archaeological Park, Insula Roman and Archaeological Museum “Baglio Anselmi”
Archaeological excavations began in 1939 and again taken during the whole of the ‘900 brought to light the remains of the Roman insula embellished with mosaic floors and features spa facilities. One of the most famous rooms of the luxurious villa has a color mosaic of Medusa, made with precious marbles local and continental.
Investigations games in 1999 and continue until 2008 have revealed the imposing decumanus maximus, road axis of the ancient Roman city that corresponds with today’s street XI May and Viale Vittorio Veneto, and a beautiful marble statue of Venus Callipyge.
Insula Roman and decumanus maximus are within the same archaeological park that is home to the Church of San Giovanni Battista to Boeo, including in the underground “Cave of the Sibyl”, which tradition indicates as the grave or the abode of the Sibyl Cumana or Sibilla Sicula.
In the heart of the archaeological area is the Regional Archaeological Museum “Baglio Anselmi”. Inside, among the many other artifacts, are preserved the wreck of the Punic ship; finds from Hypogeum Crispia Salvia, a burial chamber of trapezoidal shape with walls decorated with scenes in color; Venus Callipyge.
The historical centre has maintained the pattern of the ancient Lilybaeum: a quadrangular perimeter with two perpendicular axes, thistle and decumannus, and other roads that are developed according to an orthogonal pattern.
The intersection of the two main roads gives life to the city’s central square, Republic Square (commonly called Loggia). On it overlook two of the main buildings of the city: the Mother Church, with its majestic baroque facade, rebuilt, since 1600, and dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, and the Palace VII April constructed between the ‘500 and’ 600 where previously there was the Loggia dei Pisani, now home to the City Council.
Inside the quadrilateral that is the original core of the city, bordered by an ancient city wall of which there are only two bastions and a bastion, there are also the Spanish quarter – which now houses the municipal offices – the old fish market, the Church of St. Pietro – home of Garibaldi Museum – the Museum of Flemish tapestries with a series of tapestries of the XVI century depicting the Jewish war, and the Cloister of the Carmine’s Convent, a sign of the settlements of the mendicant orders in Marsala.
Historians wine factories
The Marsala wine factories are numerous and the one linked to the production of wine remains the main industrial activity of the province of Trapani.
Wine production on an industrial scale was introduced in the city in 1773 by the Englishman John Woodhouse. Many important establishments including those of Ingham-Whitaker, Cantine Florio, Martinez, Pellegrino, Rallo, Buffa, Mineo, Bianchi, Baglio Hopps, Donnafugata, Alagna, Caruso and Minini. There are also many modern wineries, including Alcesti, De Bartoli, Fina, Vinci, Birgi, Mothia, Paolini and Baglio Oro.