Overlooking the Mediterranean, just 200km from the Tunisian coast, Mazara del Vallo is a city of just over 50.000 inhabitants, part of the municipal consortium of Trapani. The proximity to Tunisia has determined over the centuries a strong influence that can be guessed just by observing the well-preserved urban layout: Mazara del Vallo, in fact, is famous for narrow streets in the center, typically associated with those of the Islamic medinas. Apart from this, the city also features a great deal of monumental churches made in the eleventh century and a Old Town enviable, in the past enclosed within ancient Norman walls.
If you intend to make an on the road itinerary in Sicily or if you want to stop in Mazara del Vallo for a few days exploring the surroundings, in this article you will find lots of useful information for your trip, starting from what to see in Mazara del Vallo in a weekend, where to eat and what to do after dinner.
- 11 things to see in Mazara del Vallo in a weekend
- What to see in Mazara del Vallo in one day: recommended itinerary
- Where to eat in Mazara del Vallo: the best restaurants
- What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Mazara del Vallo
- Plan your stay in Mazara del Vallo: info and useful tips
- User questions and comments
11 things to see in Mazara del Vallo in a weekend
1 - Church of San Francesco
La Church of San Francesco it is the most famous (and the most visited) among the churches and historic buildings of the town of Mazara del Vallo. It is a Catholic church from quite troubled history: built on top of another pre-existing church dedicated to San Biagio, the building that is today attributed to the Church of San Francesco was initially of Arab-Norman architectural style with three naves and thirteen altars (twelve side, plus the main). Towards the end of 1600, however, the then bishop of the diocese Francesco M. Grifeo decided to radically modify the original structure: from Arab-Norman it became a typical example of baroque architecture with a single nave with very high ceilings characterized by a barrel vault. Reopened to the faithful in 1703, the building was closed after the terrible earthquake of Belice in '68, and then reopened again once the restoration work was completed.
- the church is located in Piazza San Francesco, on the edge of the medina of Mazara del Vallo, therefore not far from the historic center. Get directions
- always accessible
2 - Cathedral of the Holy Savior
If it is true that the Church of San Francesco is the most beautiful religious building in the city (called by some, the most Baroque church in Sicily), it is Cathedral of the Holy Savior to be of greater importance. Also rebuilt on the rubble of an ancient Saracen basilica, the Cathedral was completed in its entirety only towards the end of the th century, at the behest of the First Count of Sicily, Roger I, who had commissioned its reconstruction. Inside, the Cathedral has three naves with round arched columns, while the domes are covered with colored majolica. What amazes visitors most, however, is the fresco in the central dome depicting the Last Judgment, probably attested to the Spanish Rosary from Cefalù.
- the Cathedral is easily reachable on foot, as it is located in Piazza della Repubblica. Get directions
- always accessible (Mass hours: Mon-Sat 9:00 or 18:00, Sun and holidays 9:00, 10:15, 11:30, 18:30)
3 - Garibaldi Theater
Il Garibaldi Theatre is one of the most important historical theaters in Sicily, protagonist of one of the most troubled periods of Italian history: after the revolutionary uprisings of 1848, and the consequent passage of power from the hands of the Bourbons to those of a city committee, it was thought to to equip the city of Mazara with a new theatrical-cultural center that would become a place for recreation and meeting for the community. Thus Teatro Garibaldi was built within three months with the funds once destined to the maintenance of the city port and was inaugurated in January 1949 with the nickname of Teatro del Popolo.
- the theater is located in via Garibaldi, a few minutes away from the Cathedral. Get directions
- the theater is open to visitors from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 to 18:00
4 - Museum of the Dancing Satyr
Il Museum of the Dancing Satyr is a small museum set up inside the deconsecrated Church of Sant'Egidio in the center of Mazara and dedicated to the emblem of Mediterranean culture: the most precious treasure of the museum, in fact, is the bronze statue depicting a Dancing Satyr and found in the sea in 1998. It is assumed that this statue was part of a cargo of a ship that was subsequently wrecked between Sicily and Capo Bon, probably dating back to a period of strong emigration and antiquarian trade outside the Italian borders. In addition to the Satyr, however, the Museum also collects other historical artifacts always found in the Strait of Sicily, including amphorae, cauldrons, two cannons and even a bronze elephant's foot from the late Punic period.
- also reachable on foot, it is located in Piazza Plebiscito and is well signposted. Get directions
- the museum is open every day from 9:00 to 19:45
- the full ticket costs € 9,00, the reduced one € 4,50. (The ticket is cumulative and also includes a visit to the A.Pepoli Museum in Trapani)
5 - Kasbah
Thanks to a recent redevelopment, the Kasbah of Mazara del Vallo (or the labyrinthine set of alleys that characterize the oldest part of the city) is a magical place where it seems to be suddenly catapulted into Morocco or some other Arab country. The narrow, narrow streets are filled with colorful paintings left by local artists; the walls of the houses, on the other hand, are decorated with ceramics and colorful majolica which create an amazing visual effect. If you find yourself in the city, or if you pass by chance in these parts, a walk in the Kasbah is an essential activity.
- the Kasbah area is located exactly in the historic center, of which it is the nerve center. For obvious reasons it is only accessible on foot. Get directions
- always accessible
6 - Norman Arch
In addition to the Kasbah, the other most representative symbol of Mazara's past is theNorman arch. Located in front of Piazza Mokarta, this arch once served as the main entrance to the castle of Ruggero I d'Altavilla, which the First Count of Sicily had built following the liberation from the Arab domination in 1072. However, today no one remains of the castle. trace, since it was demolished to make room for a public garden, that of the current Villa Jolanda. The Norman Arch is therefore the only remaining testimony of the ancient fortress, also from its surroundings you can admire one spectacular sea views.
- the Norman Arch is located near Mokarta Square, a 6-minute walk from the Kasbah area. Get directions
- always accessible
7 - Church of San Nicolò Regale
Still on the subject of Normans, the Church of San Nicolò Regale di Mazara del Vallo is a typical example of Arab-Norman architecture applied to a religious building. Located along the left bank of the Mazaro, this church was built in 1124 (therefore, in the middle of the Norman period) and has a square plan with three apses and a dome. Over time, however, the Church of San Nicolò was modified and adapted to the different styles of the various eras: this is why during the visit you can easily notice architectural elements closer to the Baroque than Norman style (this although in recent years we have tried to bring back the splendor of the original structure).
- the church is located on the Lungomare, for this reason (and for the cubic shape) it is easily traceable. Get directions
- for the moment, due to some restoration work, the church is not open to the public. Even from the outside, however, you can feel the imprint that the Arabs left on the city of Mazara del Vallo, also through this "unusual" building that is easily recognizable in the urban fabric.
8 - Lungomare, Porto and Lido Malibu
Let's talk now about nature: sun, sea and relaxation which in Mazara are certainly not lacking, indeed! If you find yourself wandering around the city and a beautiful sunny day comes out, we strongly recommend you take a walk along the promenade, obviously starting from the characteristic port. Consider spending a few hours on the beach to relax and enjoy the clear water. Pushing you to the Lido Malibu: this stretch of beach is quite close to the city center and is characterized by a shallow seabed which makes it a small corner of paradise ideal for families with children.
- Lido Malibu is located on the Lungomare di Mazara del Vallo, 10 minutes by car and 35 minutes on foot from the center. Get directions
- by 8: 00 19 to: 00
- umbrella + sunbed from € 20,00 to € 30,00 per day (rates depend on the season)
9 - Capo Feto Reserve
Still on the subject of natural paradises, we present the Capo Feto Reserve: it is nothing less than a nature reserve whose importance was recognized by the Ministry of the Environment in 2011 and which today houses a very rich ecosystem of flora and fauna. The marshy area, thanks to the humid climate and the proximity of some waterways, has in fact become the ideal habitat for a great variety of marine species (such as red mullet, murmurs and red scorpionfish) and birds aquatic plants, as well as plants suitable for sandy soils (such as sea rush and common reed). If you love to surround yourself with nature and if you want to discover a more unusual part of Mazara del Vallo, a visit to this reserve is a must! Inside there is also the homonymous beach of Capo Feto.
- the reserve is a few kilometers from Mazara, however the directions to reach it are not the best: with your car, pass the town of Tonnarella di Mazara del Vallo and then take via Mafalda di Savoia. After about a kilometer, you will find the entrance to the reserve: however, it will be necessary to leave the car at the parking lot outside the reserve, to continue west on foot. Get directions
- always accessible
10 - Roccazzo archaeological site
Near the hamlet of Borgata Costiera, the archaeological site of Roccazzo it is a real open-air treasure, covering an area of 20 hectares. It is a settlement dating back to the Copper Age, characterized by the presence of many rock tombs (about a hundred) and by the foundation trenches in which the large huts in the shape of a rectangular boat once stood. Thanks to some excavations, carried out in recent years (2008), several have also been discovered in Roccazzo historical finds relevant, including numerous pottery partly intact. To discover an unusual aspect of Mazara del Vallo, this archaeological site is definitely ideal!
- to get there, just take the Regional Road 17 following for Fondacazzo, Santa Teresa and finally Roccazzo.
- always accessible
11 - Tonnarella beach
We conclude with one of the most beautiful beaches of Mazara del Vallo, one of those beaches that, once seen, you will never want to leave: the wonderful Sandy beach of Tonnarella. With its turquoise sea and fine sand bottom, this stretch offers both free beaches and shores, and is a much loved meeting place for both visiting tourists and locals. Furthermore, the nearby parking is free and the access to the beach is very convenient (for those traveling with children this is a factor that should not be underestimated!).
- A few kilometers from the center, you can reach the beach in less than ten minutes by car. Get directions
- always accessible
What to see in Mazara del Vallo in one day: recommended itinerary
Mazara del Vallo is not a very big town, however there is certainly no shortage of things to see: this is why we have created a possible one-day itinerary that you can follow to see the main attractions of the city.
Our path of discovery of Mazara starts from the historic center, but before setting off we stop for breakfast at Cafè Garibaldi (via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 4), a family-run bar / restaurant where you really feel at home. Refresh yourself well, we leave for the Cathedral of the Holy Savior, the most important church in the city. This place of worship hides real treasures inside, so plan a visit of at least an hour to observe everything without haste. From the Cathedral, we advise you to then move towards the very interesting Museum of the Dancing Satyr and, subsequently, towards Garibaldi Theatre, once the heart of the theatrical culture of this part of Sicily.
Near the theater, there is a not bad little place, suitable for a quick but tasty lunch: we are talking about the restaurant To the Kasbah, specializing in Mediterranean cuisine prepared with super local ingredients. After lunch, if it is a beautiful day and you want to relax and bask in the sun, you can think of reaching the beach on the city waterfront. Alternatively, you can instead continue the tour of the city, visiting from outside the Church of San Nicolò Regale (one of the most curious buildings in Mazara del Vallo!), but also the famous one Kasbah and its intricate labyrinth of alleys. Finally, move to the Church of San Francesco, a masterpiece of Baroque art.
To end this day in the best possible way, stop for dinner atAncient maritime village, tasting excellent fish dishes overlooking the Mazaro river.
One day itinerary at a glance
- Cathedral of the Holy Savior - always accessible - ticket price: free
- Museum of the Dancing Satyr - opening hours: every day, from 9:00 to 19:40 - ticket price: full € 9,00 reduced € 4,50
- Garibaldi Theater - opening hours: from 9:00 to 13:00, from 15.30 to 20.00 - ticket price: free
- Lunch at the Kasbah
- Church of San Nicolò Regale - opening hours: the church can only be visited from the outside
- Kasbah - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Church of San Francesco - opening hours: always accessible - ticket price: free
- Dinner at the Antico Borgo Marinaro
Where to eat in Mazara del Vallo: the best restaurants
- To the Kasbah: restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine prepared with 0 km ingredients. Average price per person: € 25,00 Address and contacts: Via Itria, 10 (Get directions) / tel +39 0923 906126
- Trattoria Da Giacomo: cozy restaurant, specialized in traditional fish dishes. Average price per person: € 15,00 Address and contacts: via Salemi, 23 / A (Get directions) / tel: +39 0923 933874
- La Bettola restaurant: restaurant specializing in Mediterranean cuisine with many options including gluten-free.
Average price per person: € 25,00
Address and contacts: via Franco Maccagnone, 32 (Get directions) / tel: +39 339 285 8541
- Maréaviva: restaurant specializing in dishes based on local molluscs, crustaceans and oysters. Always fresh fish!
Average price per person: € 20,00
Address and contacts: state road 115 km50,80 (Get directions) / tel: +39 348 240 4176
- Ancient maritime village: excellent fish restaurant, built where once there was a fish market Average price per person: € 20,00 Address and contacts: Lungomazzaro Ducezio, 42 (Get directions) / tel: +39 0923 931618
What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo is not a particularly large town, yet there is certainly no shortage of offers for the post dinner! Especially in the neighborhoods near the center, there are many pubs and clubs where you can have fun with friends, perhaps in front of a mug of beer or a properly made cocktail. Below, we suggest three addresses not to be missed if you intend to spend the evening in the city, hunting for some nightlife.
The best pubs, clubs and discos
- I will win: vintage and retro place, bar but also pub goes from breakfasts to cocktails / Address: Via S. Giuseppe, 1 / a (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Cult Wine Bar: a place with a huge range of drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic, which often hosts cultural, musical and artistic meetings / Address: Via S. Giuseppe, 11 (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Alkimia Lounge Bar: restaurant with Tunisian-inspired furnishings, specialized in traditional and non-traditional cocktails / Address: piazza Plebiscito (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Sunset Club Sicily: place specializing in aperitifs, with a wide choice of cocktails and a breathtaking view / Address: Lungomare Capo Granitola (Get directions) / Facebook page
- Batita: cult disco of the place, for those who love to dance until late at night / Address: Sr 18, 15 (Get directions) / Facebook page
Plan your stay in Mazara del Vallo: info and useful tips
- it is 42 minutes from Trapani Airport and about 1 hour from Palermo Airport. There are no direct buses that connect the two airports to Mazara, it is necessary to rely on private transfers or go first to Marsala or Palermo and from there move towards Mazara. From Marsala by Ast bus (30 minutes, prices from € 4,00), from Palermo by bus Autoservizi Salemi (2 hours, prices from € 10,00)
- Getting around: we do not recommend the car, the streets in the center are very narrow and the main attractions are in the historic center. Better to walk
- Where to park: if you have a car, an excellent solution is the multi-storey car park in via Tenente Gaspare Romano, very close to the historic center. It is paid (1 hour = € 1,00; 2 hours = € 1,50; 3 hours = € 3,00, etc.) - Get directions
- Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- What to see in the surroundings: Marsala (22km), Favignana (38km; it is necessary to take the ferry from Marsala which costs € 12,00 per person), Selinunte (36km), Erice (62km), Sciacca (56km)