Mazara del Vallo
It is a small world made of sea, boats, fishermen and a little bit of Africa. Mazara del Vallo is less than 200 kilometres away from the Tunisian coasts and has an old town centre full of tiny streets and paths that recalls the typical Islamic town planning, known as “casbah”. This distinctive feature comes from its past, when the city became, under Arab rule, one of the most important cultural, economic centres in Sicily. Mazara is a striking city with a unique atmosphere shaped by the presence of many folks that ruled this country for centuries, such as the Phoenician, Roman, Norman and the Bourbon. In the city can be seen the “dancing Satyr”, a wonderful, bronze sculpture 2.5 metres tall which is a great work of Greek art, dating back according to some scholars to between the 2nd and the 3rd century BC and to the 4th century BC according to others. This sculpture was found in the sea in 1998 and now is in the deconsecrated church of “Sant’Egidio” (1424) where the museum of the “Satiro” can be visited. Walking around its old town centre can be seen important, historic monuments and buildings, such as the baroque cathedral of “SS Salvatore”, the Norman castle and the church of “S. Nicolò Regale” built in a Norman-Arab style and situated nearby the lively fish market. Mazara del Vallo is one of Italy’s most important harbours for fishing boats and is surrounded by a sweet countryside. It is very close to many interesting resorts, such as Marsala, a town that is well-known thanks to its salt pans and its wine, Selinunte, the biggest archaeological park in Europe, and the medieval Salemi with a beautiful, hill landscape full of vineyards and olive trees.