Historical Background of Mazara del Vallo
Known since Phoenician times, Mazara del Vallo, it was tied to Selinunte by important trade routes as well as its strategical placement, but then moved into the hands of the Carthaginians in the fifth century BC. The Romans, who after the Second Punic War were awarded the possession of Sicily, made Mazara an important fortified center.
It was the first city conquered by the Arabs, who made it their headquarters for the conquest of Sicily. Mazara, located in the capital of the West territories (Sicily, was divided into three different districts, the Vals), experienced an unparalleled growth and development.
Much wider than in the past, it was massively fortified; it become the main port of Sicily, while fishing and agriculture met an exceptional increase in production, thanks to the techniques and fruits that came from the east (loquat, orange, pistachio, palm trees, sugar cane and much more).
The last Sicilian town to lay down arms against the Normans, Mazara del Vallo had the honor of hosting the first Sicilian parliament in 1097. It became an important religious center, but the following centuries were unable to mirror the splendors of the Arab period. Overshadowed by the importance of Palermo and Trapani, Mazara del Vallo experienced a slow but progressive decline.
Only in the nineteenth century, Mazara managed to regain momentum: the export of wines and the resumption of fishing, formed new fodder for the most Arab city of Sicily.
Mazara del Vallo by Night
Mazara del Vallo is quite a lively town in the evening with a beautiful promenade that is concentrated between Piazza Mokarta and Piazza Matteotti (linked from Corso Umberto I) and on the waterfront Giuseppe Mazzini.
Try some restaurants in the center, where the kitchen still retains Arab traditions. Couscous, a traditional dish of Tunisia, is now a staple of the local cuisine. However, a little bit of all the fish dishes are at least worth a taste: from seafood with shrimp, and not to mention swordfish and squid dishes served in different but always exquisite variations.
For the younger ones, in Mazara can be found elegant bars and discos where one can spend the weekend evenings and beyond. During the summer, parties are organized on the beautiful long beaches that the coast of Mazara del Vallo boasts of.