Piazza - Marsala
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MARSALA

Situated on the extreme Western coast of Sicily, Marsala is well known for its wine.
The City was founded by the inhabitants of Mozia, a Phoenician city founded in the 8th Century BC, to allow commercial control of the Western coast, which was destroyed by Dionysius II of Syracuse in 397 BC. The citizens escaped and founded Lilibeo, which means “Looking at Libia,” known today as Marsala.
In 350 BC, the Phoenicians erected imposing walls to protect the City.
During the First Punic War (264-241BC) Marsala was besieged for 9 years starting from 250 BC, by Roman troops under the command of the Consul Gaio Arilio Regolo and Lucio Manlio Vulsone, who destroyed some of the towers in the defence walls.
As a result of the final outcome of the Battle of the Egadi Islands, in 241 BC, Lilibeo passed hands to the Romans, who made it their main naval base and main town of its Western province. It then because richly populated with villas and splendid public buildings, and thus called splendidissima urbs by the Cicerone.
The end of the Empire also signalled its end: it was devastated by the Vandali in the 5th Century BC.
During the 6th Century, it passed hands to the Byzantine Emperor Giustiniano, but they were not healthy centuries as the Emperor was not very interested in Sicily, which was frequently pillaged by pirates.
In ‘830, it was conquered by the Arabs, who made it a main centre of exchange with Africa and gave it the name of Marsa Allah (Porto di Ali – Port of Allah).
Marsala developed its town-planning according to Arabic plans: a City protected by quadrangular walls and a castle for protection.
The Normans arrived in 1072, followed by the Swabians (1194) after Enrico (Henry) VI of Swabia’s marriage to the Norman, Costanza d’Altavilla (1185), mother of Federico II, the stupor mundi ("wonder of the world"). The Angioini followed (until the 13th Century) and then the Aragonese (14th Century), under which the City was populated with churches, monasteries and public buildings. The Emperor Carlo V, slowed down the development in 1575, by burying the flourishing port to stop the continuous Saracen incursions.
After its decline over two centuries, during which the City assumed its Baroque appearance in the churches and buildings, Marsala resumed development thanks to the wine industry, introduced by the Englishman Giovanni Woodhouse (1773), followed by other families, including the Florio Family (1833).
On the 11th March, 1860, Garibaldi embarked in Marsala and began shipment of the thousands.
In the City Centre, in Piazza della Repubblica, one can visit Saint Thomas of Canterbury’s Cathedral (1628), the Saint Joseph Church (1680) and the Palazzo VII Aprile (1576). Nearby, one can also find Saint Peter’s Monastery, seat of the Civic Museum, the Purgatory Church (1569), and the Church and Convent of Carmine.
One cannot miss a visit to the Archaeological Museum along the seafront. It is also possible to visit the remains of the Roman district in Viale Vittorio Veneto, amongst which a detached thermal building from the 3rd Century AD.

MARSALA
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Sicily region, Island of Italy

 

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