Marsala’s origins are very ancient. In the 8th c. BC the Phoenicians founded the city of Mozia (Motya). Later they founded Marsala. Probably already known as Lilybaeum.
Defended by an imposing wall of which traces still remain.
It was the starting-point of the expedition against Carthage led by Scipio, later known as Africanus.
When it fell to the Muslims they called it Marsa-Allah (Port of Allah).
The Normans took Marsala in 1072. In the 18th c. some enterprising Englishmen founded the first establishment producing marsala wine.
There are in Marsala: the Punic traces, the Greek-Roman archaeological Park, the Regional Museum.
The Duomo is located in the historic town centre. It was built by the Normans and extensively remodeled in the following centuries. The façade, which dominates Piazza della Repubblica (once called Piano della Loggia).
There was the portal and the molded window frames. The interior, with a nave and two aisles, is richly decorated with numerous works of art.
In Via Garraffa there is the Museo degli Arazzi which contains eight splendid Flemish 16th century.
Also in Piazza della Repubblica is the Palazzo della Loggia, formerly the seat of the municipal administration.
The Church and the Convent of San Pietro are a few steps away, in Via XI Maggio. Going along Via XI Maggio you reach the Jesuit College, seat of the Civic Contemporary Art Gallery .
Returning to Piazza della Repubblica turn right along Via Garibaldi and reach the Porta di Mare, also known as Porta Garibaldi, in memory of the Landing of the Thousand on 11 May 1860. Here we can see Marsala Town Hall, built in the 16th century.
There is also the Church of the Addolorata, the Church of the Càrmine, the Church of San Francesco and the Church of Itriella.
The Church of Santa Maria della Grotta was carved into the rock in Norman period and restructured in the 18th century by Giovanni Biagio Amico.
Following the promenade towards in the W direction you reach to the Baglio Anselmi which houses the Archaeological Museum.
The Museum is accessed through a room with information panels and luminous displays to see: prehistoric items, including finds from Motya and the surrounding areas, arranged in chronological order.
In a large separate room, on the right of the entrance, are kept the remains of a Punic ship found in the waters of the Stagnone, in the 1970s. It is a unique example of a ship of this type.
There is the pretty little Church of San Giovanni. This may have been an early Christian baptistry known as the Sibyl of Lilybaeum, which gave weight to the legend of the Sibyl who was supposed to have lived and been buried here.
Continuing along the seafront, we reach the westernmost point of the town, Capo Boèo, where is the Greek-Roman Archaeological Park. The Norman Castle is in Piazza Castello. Today it is Marsala prison.