History and culture
The historical and artistic relevance of Marsala is due to the fact that it has been a crossroads of different cultures and dominations, each of which has left its mark in the art and traditions.
After the Arab one, from the end of the eleventh century AD, followed Norman, Swabian, Angevin and Aragonese dominations. Especially in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the port was the center of many interests: Spanish, French, Ottoman, pirates, all were forced to a stop in the coast.
For nearly three centuries Marsala remained without a port. Then, in 1773, the English merchant John Woodhouse discovered the excellent quality of the local wine and having the need to take on the barrels of wine for export to England, decided to finance the construction of a long pier that extended from the lighthouse to the mainland.
Woodhouse is a key figure for the fate of the city of Marsala, not only for the realization of this basic landing for boats. In fact, motivated by the need to make the local wine more suitable for transportation without the risk of altering its quality, he had the idea of adding to the product, already characterized by a high natural alcohol content, a further amount of alcohol good gradation.
Thus was born Marsala wine that, thanks to the investments of Woodhouse, began to be produced and marketed in a systematic way. John Woodhouse, then, was the advocate of the explosion of the economy focused on Marsala wine product. With his own funds, he put in place a number of infrastructure projects including the Port of Margitello, the current port of Marsala.
In the 11 May of 1860 port was the scene of a historic step: the landing of Giuseppe Garibaldi, with its one thousand, from the coast Lilibetana started the process of unification of the peninsula.
But on 11 May is a date that has marked the history of Marsala also a tragic event: in 1943, during World War II, Allied bombing the centre of the city caused the death of hundreds of citizens and earned to the city the medal gold for civil valor.