Mazara del Vallo
Mazara del Vallo is a medium-sized city in South-Western Sicily, most famous for being one of the leading fishing harbour of Italy and the centre where the Dancing Satyr is hosted. It is part of the province of Trapani.
The inhabitants usually speak both Italian and Sicilian. However, most of them (especially the oldest ones) are definitely not proficient in English. There is also a large Arab community, originally from Northern Africa.
Mazara del Vallo is connected to Palermo, and its airport, by the A29 highway (also known as Palermo-Mazara del Vallo). This highway, as many other in Sicily, is free.
Mazara del Vallo is linked by train, among the others, to two cities with an airport, Trapani (50 minutes) and Palermo (about 2 hours and 45 minutes). It is frequently linked during the day to many interesting destination, such as Marsala (20 minutes) and Castelvetrano-Selinunte (25 minutes). Prices are fairly cheap.
Buses from Palermo are operated every hour until 9pm/10pm by private company Autoservizi Salemi [www.autoservizisalemi.it/], and take about 2 hours. Bus connections to and from other cities, such as Agrigento, Sciacca and Trapani are less frequent.
Trapani-Birgi airport is 45 km away. Airport must be reached with local taxi (cost 20€ per person), since there is no bus service.
By sailing boat
Mazara's marina is run by a private association, called Adina www.adina.it. It's often used by sailing boat for wintering (for its price and see/wind protection).
Relatively to the city itself, Mazara has a particularly poor urban bus service, and bus stops are often even very hard to find. However, Mazara is also relatively easy to be visited without any kind of transportation, because of the dimensions of its downtown.
Mazara is a small but very active city. It is thus very easy to find oneself stuck in the traffic, especially in the downtown during the late afternoon and the 12-14h period.
During the summer period, a daily ferry boat link to the minor island of Pantelleria, powered by Tirrenia, is available.
- The Dancing Satyr, a bronze statue discovered by a fishing boat, and almost immediately became the emblem of the city.
- The Norman Arc, that is the only remains of the old Castle, built during the flourishing occupation of Mazara by the Normans led by King Roger I of Sicily.
- The Casbah, the old city centre built up during the Arab period.
- Several churches, among others San Nicolò Regale and San Vito a Mare.
Teatro Garibaldi, Via del Carmine. Built in 1849 and reopened in 2011 after a restoration this theatre is a truly atmospheric place and well worth visiting. free.
During the summer period, the heart of Mazara moves from the downtown (Corso Umberto I, Piazza Mokarta, Piazza della Repubblica) to the Tonnarella beach, on the western side of the city.
As a relevant fishing centre, Mazara is also well known for its seafood-based cuisine. Fish is even commonly cheaper than other places in Italy.
The mazaresi, as well as the majority of Sicilians, have a good taste for wines: there are several local wine cellars and a number of wineshops in the city. However, in Mazara del Vallo is also located one of the few breweries of Sicily, Naxos.
This is the list of the hotels in Mazara del Vallo:
- Complesso Kempinski *****L
- Ruggero II Hotel ****
- D'Angelo Palace Hotel ***
- Hopps Hotel ***
- Greta Hotel ***
- Hotel Mediterraneo *
- Marsala (20 minutes by train) is the most populated city in the province. It is home for the marsala wine, a historical city founded by the Romans, and a very active place.
- Trapani (45 minutes by train) is the capital city of the province. From Trapani, it is possible to reach Erice, a relevant touristic place and home for several world science meetings.
- Castelvetrano (25 minutes by train) is home of the Greek ruins of Selinunte, a must for the place.
- Pantelleria is a pretty beautiful minor island in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, with a very active nightlife during the warmer months of the year.