Famous for the landing of the Thousand (headed by Garibaldi) in 1860, but also for the production of the homonymous wine, Marsala it is the most populated town in the province of Trapani, as well as one of the many treasures that Sicily has to offer.
Marsala stands on ruins that once belonged to ancient Punic cities, for this reason many attractions that are worth visiting in the area have a historical-cultural value truly amazing.
However, also in regards to natural wonders, Marsala does not joke at all: just think that the city directly overlooks the sea in front of Favignana and, a little further on, there are the Egadi islands.
If you are already thinking of spending your summer holidays around Sicily or if you want to organize a weekend in Marsala to get away from the daily routine, in this article you can find many useful tips on what to see in the city, as well as the best places to stop to eat and how to spend the evening with friends.
- What to see in Marsala in a weekend
- What to see in Marsala in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Marsala: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Marsala
- Plan your stay in Marsala: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
What to see in Marsala in a weekend
1 - Mother Church
La Mother Church (or Cathedral) of Marsala is an imposing building, whose construction is to be traced back to different eras starting from 1176. The current facade has two different orders, one baroque that extends horizontally (with niches and decorative frames typical of the architectural style) and the other that has two corner domed bell towers and several statues of saints. Inside, however, the Church collects and holds various treasures of the past including th century paintings, vestments, liturgical objects in gold and silver, as well as important archival documents. Small curiosity: the Cathedral of Marsala is dedicated to St. Thomas Becket, in memory of a shipwreck which took place not far from the Marsala coast of a ship loaded with Corinthian columns that should have arrived in England for the construction of another church dedicated to the saint.
- the Duomo is located in Piazza della Loggia, perhaps the most famous square in the city, perfectly indicated and within walking distance of the historic center - Get directions
- always accessible (weekday masses are held every day at 9:30, vespers at 18:00, festive masses at 9:00 - 10:30 - 12:00 - 18:00)
2 - Porta Garibaldi
Porta Garibaldi it is one of the best preserved gates to the city over time. Initially called Porta Mare (due to the fact of being oriented towards the beach) and built in 1685 at the behest of the then King of Spain and Sicily, Charles II, the door was only later renamed Porta Garibaldi: the homonymous Italian leader, in fact , on 11 May 1860 he entered the city right through this gate, declaring Marsala part of the new Kingdom of Italy. Today a symbol of the city itself, Porta Garibaldi has a crowned eagle (coat of arms of the Habsburgs of Spain) in the upper part and a small terrace on which it was once possible to climb to check the arrival of any visitors.
- la Porta is located in via Scipione l'Africano, in the tourist center so it's impossible not to see it - Get directions
- always accessible
3 - Church of Purgatory
Another religious building that is absolutely worth a visit is the Church of Purgatory, considered by many to be the most aesthetically beautiful church in Marsala. The structure and both external and internal decorations are in fact an example of the magnificence of the Sicilian baroque style: the facade is divided into several orders with Corinthian columns and statues, while inside the vault of the central nave, the side chapels, the dome and the apse are decorated with valuable stuccoes. The small square overlooked by the Church is also quite beautiful, secluded from the chaos of the city and equipped with a small but elaborate fountain.
- the Church is located in the homonymous square, a few minutes walk from Porta Garibaldi - Get directions
- times depend on availability given based on events / conferences that are held inside.
- the same goes for the price of the entrance ticket.
4 - Republic Square
Republic Square (or Piazza della Loggia) has been defined on several occasions the living room of Marsala. Heart of past and present city life, this square is the meeting point for locals but also for tourists who find here bars, shops and various commercial activities. It is the ideal starting point for a nice walk in the center, even if many prefer to sit on the steps in front of the Cathedral to watch the people go by and to wait for the sunset: the tuff stones they turn yellow and orange at the end of the day, giving a truly incomparable visual spectacle!
- just follow the signs for the historic center, of which this square is the nerve center - Get directions
- always accessible
5 - The Cassaro
Not far from Piazza della Loggia, the Cassaro it is nothing less than via XI Maggio, the main street in the center. Very popular and lively in both winter and summer, this one pedestrian street it is ideal for a nice walk, for shopping, to have a coffee with friends but also to have a chat over an excellent glass of wine (the area is full of wine bars!), as well as to go hunting for a some nightlife.
- the street is not passable by car, moreover it is located a few steps from the Duomo and from the Piazza della Repubblica so we recommend that you move on foot in this area
- always accessible
6 - Flemish Tapestry Museum
It is a well known and visited museum in Marsala, inside which tapestries belonging to the sixteenth century are exhibited. The Flemish Tapestry Museum it is managed by the Mother Church, to which towards the end of 1500 the bishop of Messina, Antonio Lombardo, donated eight magnificent tapestries which, however, were not exposed to the public for many centuries. Only in the 80s did they find accommodation in a small but impressive museum, attracting the attention of tourists visiting Marsala but also of the most passionate scholars who have identified P. Keempeneer as the author of the posters.
- the museum is located in via Giuseppe Garraffa, just 5 minutes walk from Porta Garibaldi - Get directions
- from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00 (closed on Mondays)
- the entrance ticket costs € 4,00 per person.
7 - Porta Nuova
In addition to the more famous Porta Garibaldi, there were others in Marsala four access doors that delimited the city perimeter. One of them is New door, located at the end of via XI Maggio: the sobriety of style and decorations typical of sixteenth-century classicism can already be seen at a glance, although the model of the triumphal arch with a fornix fully recalls the Roman style. The two side niches are empty, but inside the archway you can see two tombstones that recall (the first) the speech of King Vittorio Emanuele III at the entry of Italy into the First World War and (the second) the victory speech of General Armando Diaz at the end of the same.
- starting from Porta Garibaldi and walking for less than 5 minutes in the same direction, you will arrive at your destination - Get directions
- always accessible
8 - Palazzo VII Aprile
Il VII April Palace, built in the fifteenth century for the meetings of the Civic Council and the judiciary, it was the seat of the Loggia dei Pisani and for several years exchange and market were exercised there. Due to its architectural structure, the building is quite recognizable from the outside: the façade has a double loggia and is characterized by arched openings resting on columns, while the quadrangular clock tower stands out in the center. Small curiosity: the current name of the building was introduced only after the revolt against the Bourbon domination which took place on April 7 1860. In memory of the incident, some commemorative inscriptions are still preserved inside the Hall of the Tombstones.
- the Palazzo, like the Duomo, is also located in Piazza della Repubblica. (If you turn by car, park at the old fish market) - Get directions
- the palace can be visited only in the periods in which there are no municipal consultations
- access to some areas may be subject to the payment of an entrance ticket.
9 - Saline della Laguna
Le Salt pans of the Lagoon they constitute a real natural oasis, located a few kilometers from the center of Marsala. The typical landscape of the salt pans with basins, mills and ponds is particularly suggestive (especially if you visit it at sunset or at dawn, when the reflections of light in the water create beautiful plays of color and there are still few tourists around. ); moreover, the whole area is populated by different species of waterfowl, including herons and flamingos, which make this natural glimpse even more heavenly, especially for bird watchers.
- the Saline are about 10 km from Marsala, to reach them you need to use a car (about 17 minutes, via the SP21 provincial road) - Get directions
- always accessible. The opening hours for visits to the mill are Wednesdays and Saturdays from 16pm to 00pm.
- access is free, although participation in some activities such as special trekking, visit to the mill, simulation of the salt harvest, etc. you need a supplement and advance booking.
10 - Motya
Always part of the treasures of the Marsala lagoon, Mozia (on the island of San Pantaleo) is an ancient Phoenician city that once had to be used as a landing point near the mainland. The town is in fact scattered with remains of fortifications and other Phoenician constructions, among which Punta Nord (in the past, entrance to the city) and the Sanctuary of Cappiddazzu (a sacred area inside the walls) stand out. However, the whole island deserves to be explored far and wide because it is full of points of interest: for this reason we recommend that you dedicate a whole day to its exploration, so as not to miss the most beautiful sites and viewpoints.
- to get to Mozia, you need to take a ferry from the port of Marsala (usually the route doesn't last more than 10 minutes) - Get directions
- always accessible
11 - Cantine Florio
Among the unmissable attractions of Marsala, it was impossible not to include at least one of the historic cellars of the city: we are referring in particular to Florio Cellars, in which Marsala wine, one of the most appreciated in the world, is still produced today. Overall, the structure occupies an area of over 40.000 square meters, entirely built in tuff stone with pointed arches and a stone floor. Furthermore, more than 600 barrels of different sizes and capacities are collected inside the cellars, while the surrounding landscape makes the Florio Cellars an ideal location to surround yourself with nature and good wine, in a respectable setting! The winery is open to the public and offers tours and tastings.
- To get to the cellars, which are located in via Vincenzo Florio, it is advisable to use the car - Get directions
- Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00, Saturdays from 9:00 to 13:00.
- the price varies according to the type of tasting chosen (approximately between € 20,00 and € 50,00 per person)
12 - San Teodoro and the other beaches
Finally, visiting Marsala without admiring its wonderful beaches would be a real shame. There are several, from the equipped beaches Mediterraneo, Delfino and Signorino, to the beaches of Marausa and Punta Tramontana. But of all the beach of San Teodoro: the clear water remains low for kilometers, making the place pleasant both for a swim and for a walk along the seafront; furthermore, the scenery offered by Mount Erice and the Stagnone behind it and that of the Egadi Islands in front of it contribute to making this little corner of paradise even more unforgettable.
- Also in this case, it is necessary to use your own vehicle to reach this beach, at least 20 minutes away from the historic center by car - Get directions
- always accessible
What to see in Marsala in one day: recommended itinerary
Marsala is a city that has so much to offer, however it is possible to create a one day mini-itinerary condensing the main attractions and points of interest scattered around the historic center, but also those a little outside the city, to truly savor Marsala at 360 °.
The route we suggest allows you to appreciate the beauty of the historic center, visit a beautiful cellar and finally admire the magical salt pans.
- Morning: Before starting, we recommend having breakfast at the Millecaffè bar (via Scipione l'Africano, 47): here you can taste some of the best croissants in all of Marsala! Once you have refreshed yourself well, you can cross Porta Garibaldi and continue in the direction of the old fish market and then take a tour of the main monuments / salient buildings of the historic center: for example, the Church of Purgatory (wonderful testimony of the Baroque siciliano), Palazzo VII Aprile and the nearby Flemish Tapestry Museum, but also Piazza della Repubblica and the Duomo. In the late morning (around 11:30 am), we suggest you drive to the Florio Cellars to enjoy a visit with tasting of local wines. After the visit, return to the center for lunch. The suggested place is the Enoteca della Strada del Vino, located in Via XI Maggio (or Cassaro).
- Afternoon: after lunch, move by car to the Saline della Laguna (just outside the city) to immerse yourself in a unique landscape and perhaps to take part in an excursion into nature (there are several options: trekking in the salt flats, horseback riding, etc. .). To end this day around Marsala in the best possible way, we recommend that you have an aperitif / dinner at the Mammacaura restaurant: from here, you can admire one of the most magical sunsets of your life with the sun illuminating the salt pans and mills with orange and the peace that is breathed all around.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Walk in the historic center (Porta Garibaldi, Church of Purgatory, Palazzo VII Aprile, Duomo)
- Visit to the Florio Winery with wine tastings
- Visit to the Saline della Laguna
Where to eat in Marsala: the best restaurants
- The Bottega del Carmine: fish restaurant and excellent Mediterranean cuisine, suitable for both a romantic dinner and an evening with friends
Average price per person: € 40,00
Address and contacts: via Caturca, 20 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0923 719055
- Nature at the table: wine bar specializing in light but tasty dishes, both based on local meat and fish
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: via Garibaldi, 2 (Get directions) / tel: +39 329 377 4701
- Osteria Siciliando: tavern that combines tradition and modernity both in the furnishings and in the dishes, many of which are based on fish
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: via Giuseppe Garraffa, 3 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0923 020049
- Mammacaura: restaurant located near the Saline, specializing in aperitifs and Mediterranean cuisine. Prime location for sunsets!
Average price per person: € 30,00
Address and contacts: Contrada Ettore Infersa (Get directions) / tel: +39 0923 966036
- The Marinara: Fishmonger-Restaurant where you can directly choose the fresh fish to be cooked.
Address: Piazza Goffredo Mameli, 5 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0923 365494
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Marsala
As already mentioned, Marsala is the city of wine: the urban fabric is in fact very rich in traditional wine bars and more modern wine bars where you can sip an excellent glass with friends or with your partner (even better if contemplating the sunset!). In addition to these, however, the city is also full of private clubs and discos where romping on the track is a must, spending the night to the rhythm of music. If you want to be on the safe side, however, head in the evening area of the Antico Mercato, where it is concentrated the heart of the Marsala nightlife, although it is not difficult to find clubs scattered throughout the city.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- Enoteca della Strada del Vino: well-stocked wine shop, located in a beautiful historic building
Address: via XI Maggio, 132A (Get directions)
- Lo Sbarco wine shop: wine shop in the historic center of the city, frequented by a clientele of all ages
Address: via XI Maggio, 68 (Get directions)
- Loola Lounge: cult disco of the place, located in the heart of the city nightlife, with a wide choice of quality cocktails
Address: via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 1 (Get directions)
- Juparanà: aperitifs, dinners, drinks. A place with a thousand shades.
Address: Piazza Francesco Pizzo, 11 (Get directions)
- One Club: seaside bar in summer and disco in winter
Address: contrada Berbaro 664 / a (Get directions)
Plan your stay in Marsala: info and useful tips
- The nearest airports are Trapani (14 km away, 21 minutes by car), and Palermo (137 km away, 1 hour and 14 minutes by car). Marsala can be reached by car (via the A29 motorway), by bus (Autoservizi Salemi line) and by train.
- Getting around: Marsala is a city that you can visit on foot if you want, but only in the downtown area. In fact, given its extension but also the proximity of many points of interest (located just outside the city), we recommend that you rent a car to be able to move freely not only in the outer areas of Marsala, but also in the localities neighboring.
- Where to park: Parking in Marsala is not difficult, with the exception of the summer periods when tourism increases dramatically (and thus, consequently, also the number of cars in circulation). However, there is certainly no shortage of parking spaces! What we recommend, however, is located in via Giulio Onca: for some years, in fact, the municipality has established the free use of the parking lot both in the evening and at night, to facilitate the tourists who populate the city in the summer evenings.
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Trapani (29km away, accessible by car in less than 30 minutes), Favignana (reachable by sea from Trapani or directly from Marsala. The duration of the ferry ride is about half an hour and the cost of the ticket is € 12,00 , 40), Erice (45km away, 46 minutes by car), Selinunte (50km away, 52 minutes by car), Segesta (46km away, 23 minutes by car), Mazara del Vallo (km away, accessible by car in just under half an hour)