If on the island of Sicily, head as far west as possible to find the ancient port of Marsala. The second largest city in the Trapani province, it is famous for two reasons: history and Marsala wine.
The town of Marsala is built on the ruins of Lilibeo, an ancient Carthaginian city. These extensive ruins as well as the remains of Marsala’s Phoenician and Roman ancestries can be seen in the many monuments, ruins, palaces, relics, archaeological sites and museums about and near to town. Today Marsala is a town of beautiful green spaces, arcaded courtyards and fountains and a marvellous place to simply walk. It is a relaxing, pleasant town to visit – a town of restored Baroque town centres, wine tours, great beaches and relaxing in the piazza with a lunch of prosciutto, olives, delicious Italian cheese and a glass of Marsala wine.
This wine, produced only here, is a sweet, fortified wine first introduced to the outside world in the 1700s. Similar to Port, Sherry and Madeira, the locals of course know which is best, and you can enjoy a top-quality glass of this delectable tipple in any of the cafes and restaurants speckled about town.
With very hot summers and mild winters, a trip to Marsala is a worthwhile experience at any time of year; however visits in the cooler months are best enjoyed by couples as there are fewer activities for the kids, and exploring the vineyards and wineries of the region is worth every drop of time spent.
Holiday in Marsala
While exploring Marsala’s surroundings, make sure that after your tour of Sicilian wine country you can spare some time for the Stagnone Lagoon. Inside la laguna can be found the famous Motya Island, with its small museum, ancient edifices and well-preserved ruins. This island is in fact part of the larger nature reserve of Il Stagnone, comprising salt flats, mills and an entire archipelago of islands including Motya itself. The salt flats are home to a staggering variety of wildlife including pink flamingos.
Venturing into the coastal town of Marsala, make sure to discover the Marsala Dome from the 1100s with its huge church organ with over 4,000 pipes. Other religious structures that are hard to miss include the cathedral in the main square; Piazza della Repubblica; a fantastic place to sit with a cup of fine Italian coffee and soak up the peace and sunshine of Sicily. Also make sure to promenade through the remains of the ancient Roman district of Viale Vittorio Veneto.
Renting holiday accommodation in Marsala
When choosing a place to stay in historic Marsala, the best way to make a decision is to consider your surroundings. As an historic locale, with much to see and explore, you would probably be best able to live like a local by staying in a holiday rental. This allows the flexibility to see the sights that interest you most. If you are more interested in exploring the town’s natural sights and nearby islands, consider a villa along the shore or more towards the edges of town. If you are looking for a quiet city break, then there are many luxurious city centre flats to enjoy. And to top it off, after a day of shopping and poking around food markets, there is nothing better than preparing an authentic meal in your very own kitchen and enjoying it in your very own living spaces, with of course a glass of very fine Marsala.