|City of Marsala|
|• Mayor||Giulia Adamo (UdC)|
|• Total||241.6 km2 (93.3 sq mi)|
|Elevation||3 m (10 ft)|
|Population (30 November 2010)|
|• Density||340/km2 (890/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Our Lady of the Cave (Madonna della Cava)|
|Saint day||19 January|
Marsala (Maissala in Sicilian; Lilybaeum in Latin) is an Italian town located in the Province of Trapani in the westernmost part of Sicily. Marsala is the most populous town in Trapani, and the fifth-highest in Sicily.
The town is famous for the landing of Garibaldi on 11 May 1860 (the Expedition of the Thousand) and for its Marsala wine. A feature of the area is the natural reserve of Stagnone Lagoon—a marine area with salt ponds.
The city of Marsala had a population of about 86,000 until the end of 1970, when Petrosino decided to become a self-governing town after a local referendum.
The area of Marsala is classified as a seismic zone 2 (medium). In the last 200 years three earthquakes of medium-high intensity were recorded:
- 18 May 1828 – magnitude 5.17 (about VI Mercalli scale)
- 15 January 1968 – Belice earthquake which in Marsala reached VII Mercalli scale (although its intensity was as high as X in other locations).
- 7 June 1981 – magnitude 4.60 (IV–V scala Mercalli scale) with epicentre in Borgo Elefante in Mazara del Vallo, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the town-centre of Marsala.
In 397 BCE the Phoenician colony of Motya on the southwestern coast of Sicily was invaded and destroyed by the Syracusan tyrant Dionysius I. The survivors founded a town on the mainland nearby that they called Lilybaion (Lilybaeum in Latin), "The town that looks at Libya", on the site of modern-day Marsala.
Lilybaion was conquered by the Romans in 241 BCE and became one of the most important towns in Sicily. The commercial centre was enriched with mansions and public buildings and dubbed splendidissima urbs by Cicero, who served as quaestor in the region between 76 and 75 BC.
Ravaged by Vandals during the 5th century CE, the town was annexed in the 6th century to Justinian's Byzantine Empire. In this period the town was struck by dysentery, raided by pirates, and neglected by Constantinople. The arrival of Arabic at the nearby Granitola mount in the 8th century entailed the resumption of commerce and the start of the rebirth of the town. The town was renamed Marsa ʿAlī "ʿAlī's harbour" or maybe, Marsa ʿāliyy, "Big harbour", for the width of the ancient harbour, placed near Punta d'Alga. Another possible derivation is Marsa Allāh, "God's harbour". Another theory is that Marsala comes from mare salis, "salt pans by the sea" from the presence of salt pans along the whole northern coast, although mention of this theory cannot be found in contemporary references.
Since the end of the 11th century, the area has been conquered by Swedish, Norman, Angevin and Aragonese troops. During this time, Marsala became wealthy, primarily through trade. However the blocking up of the harbour of Punta Alga, decreed by Emperor Charles V so as to stop Saracen forays, brought an end to this period of prosperity.
The development of Marsala wine at the end of the 18th century considerably improved local trade. This triggered an economic expansion in Marsala, including the funding of infrastructure projects such as the current harbour of Margitello.
Monuments and interesting places
- Marsala Cathedral (17th century) dedicated to Saint Thomas of Canterbury and built on the Norman implant of 1176. There is an organ with 4,317 pipes.
- Church of Purgatorio.
- Church of Addolorata.
- Church of Itriella.
- Convent church and belfry del Carmine.
- Church of Saint Matthew.
- Church and monastery of Saint Peter.
- Church of Saint John the Baptist.
- Spanish Quarter (Town Hall)
- Palace VII April (16th-17th century), built on the site of the Lodge of Pisani.
- Palace Fici.
- Palace Grignani.
- Palace Spanò-Burgio.
- Communal theatre, built during 800 with 300 seats, reopened during the 1994 and dedicated to Eliodoro Sollima.
- Cine Teatro Impero, built during the fascist period.
- Agricultural Technical Institute With Specialized School Wine "Abele Damiani" Marsala - Aggregate IPSAA Strasatti With Hospitality Section (State Public top School. - (This school March 13, 2013 at Celebrated its 140th anniversary of his birth / foundation. Once l 'Institute was a monastery of the Benedictine Friars
- Villa Arab barracks carabinieri (military police, and public security), command company – operations center
- Castle of Marsala (Prison of Square Castle)
- Doors of Marsala
Large-scale wine production started in 1773, encouraged by English trader John Woodhouse. Important winemaking establishments include Ingham-Whitaker, le Cantine Florio, Martinez, Pellegrino, Rallo, Mineo, Bianchi, Baglio Hopps, Donnafugata, Alagna, Caruso e Minini. Marsala cellars are famous not just for the production of dessert wine, but also for red and white wines. They produce modern cellar wine, such as Alcesti, De Bartoli, Fina, Vinci, Birgi, Mothia, Paolini e Baglio Oro.
Mozia seen from coast of Marsala
- Diodorus Siculus, Biblioteca Historica, 23.1.2
- Official website (Italian)
- Marsala 2013 - European capital of wine page (English)
- About Marsala production