In this article you will find out what to see and where to eat in Marsala. The city is located in the province of Trapani, very famous for Marsala, a liqueur exported all over the world. The name Marsala derives from Marsa Allah, a name given to it by the Arabs.

The city was born from the union of the Phoenicians, who fled from Mozia after its destruction in 397 BC, the Elymians and the Sicans who already lived in this territory. The Lilibeo area corresponds to the point of Sicily closest to North Africa, it was in fact here that one of the most important Phoenician centers of the island was born.

Just think that the defensive walls were up to 7 meters thick and were accompanied by a very large moat with a network of tunnels and secret passages. Despite this, after the end of the First Punic War in 241 BC, the city had to surrender to the Romans, who made it one of the main ports in the Mediterranean.

Let’s now find out what to see in Marsala.

1. The historic center of Marsala

What to see in Marsala - Historic center of Marsala
Church – trolvag, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Marsala historic center
Source: trolvag, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Marsala historic center
Center – trolvag, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Marsala historic center
Source: trolvag, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To better visit the country you can do a walking tour in the historic center, starting from Piazza della Repubblica . From there you can comfortably walk around and admire historic buildings such as the Duomo (1628), the Tapestry Museum (8 splendid 16th century tapestries), the churches, Porta Garibaldi (1685) And the fish market . In the latter, fish is sold there in the morning, but in the evening you can drink, eat and listen to music. These are the things to see in the heart of Marsala, but it’s not over yet.

2. The Archaeological Park of Lilibeo

Ship remains, Archaeological Park of Lilybaeum
Remains of the ship
Amphorae, Archaeological Park of Lilybaeum
Animal bone remains, Archaeological Park of Lilybaeum
Animal bones found on ships
Ship remains, Archaeological Park of Lilybaeum
Roman villa mosaics, Archaeological Park of Lilybaeum
Roman villa mosaics

Outside the center is the Archaeological Park of Lilybaeum, the ancient Punic town that stood where Marsala is today. Here you can visit the museum and walk around the outdoor park and enjoy the splendid view of the sea and the Egadi islands. The Baglio Anselmi archaeological museum preserves artifacts from different eras, including prehistoric ones, found in the area and even some remains of a Punic warship (Unique case in the world) and a Roman ship found not far away. In the open-air archaeological park you can admire a Roman villa and the ruins of a temple dedicated to the cult of Isis .

3. Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia

Among the things to see in Marsala certainly includes the regional nature reserve of Islands of the Stagnone of Marsala, the saline lagoon.

The path to the reserve, starting from Marsala and following the “Spanish Contrada” road which runs along the salt pans, is already very fascinating.
The reserve is famous, as well as for the salt pans, because many animals such as the pink flamingos and it is one of the few natural habitats in the world for Posidonia Oceanica, an aquatic plant typical of the Mediterranean and which finds a particular habitat here, recreating entire underwater forests.

Saline - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Gianclaudio Marino , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Saline - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Source: nonmisawaken auf Pixabay
Saline - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Jacques Savoye auf Pixabay
Saline - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Bild von Ulrike Leone auf Pixabay
Salt pans sunset - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Bild von Tamino54 auf Pixabay

Tip from Topsecretsicily: In the beautiful Stagnone reserve you can also practice kitesurfing, booking a course (Valid for both beginners and experts) lasting 6 hours, starting from 247 Euro per person.

Island of Mothia

In the reserve of the Stagnone there is also the beautiful and small Island of Mozia , an ancient Phoenician colony, reachable by ferry. The island is really gorgeous, a kind of museum island, full of archaeological remains and characterized by an uncontaminated nature , with pines, olive trees, vineyards and Mediterranean scrub.

Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Mboesch , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
b.roveran , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
b.roveran , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Mboesch , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
b.roveran , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Hartmut Riehm , CC BY-SA 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Mboesch , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia, museum -Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Mboesch , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia, museum -Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
b.roveran , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Mozia - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Mboesch , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The entrance to visit the salt pans is located near the Mammacaura restaurant , as marked in the interactive map you find in this article. The restaurant is very impressive, with a dream view, especially at sunset. Reservations are recommended.

Mammacaura Restaurant - Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala and Mozia
Mammacaura Restaurant – Bild von Georg Schmitt auf Pixabay

What see

Once you arrive you have several choices:

  1. Visit the mill: Cost of 8 Euros per person, quite expensive for what is offered, ie the projection of a video explaining the operation of the salt pans and some objects to see.
  2. Guided tour of the salt pans on foot or by boat, lasting about an hour at a cost of 16 Euros per person.
  3. Take the ferry that runs every half hour to visit the island of Mozia. Journey time 5 minutes, cost 5 Euros round trip plus 9 Euros to visit the island and its museum.

The third option is the one recommended if you want to save money and visit the island of Mozia. If you want to visit the salt flats and a mill / museum with a guide you can still go to another place not far from here, the Salt Museum of Nubia, near Trapani .

The site is managed by the WWF, it is only a 20 minute drive away and the price to visit the salt pans and the mill / museum is only 4 Euros per person.

Regardless of what you decide to do, visit the salt flats in the afternoon, the sunsets here are truly spectacular, with the salt flats turning pink.

4. The Museum of Salt and Saltpans of Nubia / Trapani

Saline of Nubia-Trapani
Chiara Miceli , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Saline of Nubia-Trapani
Graziella taibi , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Salt Museum, Nubia-Trapani
Gio the Gamb , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Saline of Nubia-Trapani
giuseppe di giorgio , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned above, in Nubia not far from Marsala and Trapani, you can admire the salt pans and the attached museum at a really cheap price.

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 – 18:00, museum ticket: 3 Euro, salt marsh ticket 1 Euro.

Near the museum there is also an excellent trattoria, the Trattoria del Sale, where you can eat typical dishes inside or outside the old mill. Here too, as in the Mammacaura restaurant in the Stagnone reserve, you can enjoy a beautiful view, especially at sunset.

Trattoria del Sale, Nubia, Trapani
Trattoria del Sale, Nubia, Trapani
Trattoria del Sale, Nubia, Trapani
Trattoria del Sale, Nubia, Trapani

Curiosity: Nubia is defined as the land of garlic, garlic which is grown here with traditional methods, with manual harvesting and weaving. The flavor is particularly intense, thanks to the soil and the cultivation method. If you go to town you can buy some braids (Shop indicated on the interactive map below).

Red garlic from Nubia
Jose Manuel , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Activities loved by tourists in the surrounding area or in Sicily in general

Interactive map of Marsala – Points of interest in purple

In this map you will find all the things to see in Marsala. To locate yourself and understand what to visit once you arrive in Marsala, click the enlarge symbol at the top right.

What to eat and Marsala and surroundings – Typical products

Marsala wine
Marianne Casamance , CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The typical product of the city is obviously the Marsala wine, to be tried absolutely. The history of this product dates back as far as 1773. On this date the English merchant John Woodhouse sent barrels with local wine from the port of Trapani to England and added some brandy simply to preserve it better. This combination made the wine so good and appreciated that Woodhouse decided to start large-scale production.

Other typical products of Trapani and its surroundings (Marsala is part of the province of Trapani) there find here .

Where to eat in Marsala

Fish Cous Cous in Marsala
Fish couscous

An excellent restaurant across the street from Porta Garibaldi, where they make an extraordinary fish couscous is La Marinara restaurant. The red shrimp and the selection of wines and spirits are also excellent.

What to see around Marsala

Marsala is located in the province of Trapani. Here you will find listed the places to visit in Trapani and surroundings .