Marsala, Wines & the Salt Pans
Duration: 7 3/4 hours
Tour Code: tps-002
Marsala comes from the Arab name, "Marsa Allah" (port of Allah) or "Marsa Ali" ("port of Ali)" which means, "great port". In the Arabian language, Ali is synonymous with "great" and the ancient harbor of Lilybaeum was indeed massive. This noteworthy harbor is connected to the history of modern Italy as it is here that Garibaldi landed with his one thousand people in 1860. Rich with Carthaginian, Roman, Norman, Arab and Spanish monuments, Marsala is the location of the ancient Lilybaeon, founded in the 3rd century BC by the Phoenicians that left Mothia after its destruction at the hands of Dionysus.
Starting off from the pier, it's a scenic 45-minute coach ride to Marsala where you will first experience a drive through the historical city center that begins at the Porta Garibaldi gate. Here, in Marsala's main square or "Piazza Republica", it's possible to admire the Palazzo Senatorio which dates to the 17th century, and the Cathedral that is dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury. The Cathedral was constructed in the 17th century as well, over what was once a Norman building and houses some important works of artist Antonello Gagini. Your visit of the city center will conclude at the town's other gate, Porta Nuova.
The tour continues from here to the museum "Baglio Anselmi", an old wine cellar that today, preserves part of a 3rd century B.C. Carthaginian war ship that was found near the coast of the Stagnone. This is the only ship of its kind that still exists today and the incredible remains hold great importance as they allow us to understand the particular construction techniques that were used by the Carthaginians.
Following your time in the Museum, you will proceed to the winery. During your visit you will learn about the production of the famous wine "Marsala", which was casually discovered in 1771. The English were the first ones to produce this wine and built wineries in Marsala from which they exported the wine to locations around the world, competing with Port and Sherry wines. Before leaving the winery, you will be treated to a delicious lunch of typical Sicilian dishes as you relax in this decidedly Sicilian atmosphere. During lunch, you will also have the opportunity to taste 4 varieties of local wine.
After lunch, you will re-join your coach and travel to the fascinating salt pans that are situated between Marsala and Trapani. The Phoenicians were the first to understand the extremely favorable natural conditions that existed here for the extraction of salt. Today, the area has been declared a Natural Reserve by the World Wildlife Federation Fund. Due to the unique flora and fauna that grows here, the landscape is full of varied and vibrant colors. During a photo stop, you will have a chance to view the reconstructed ancient wind millstone that was used for the production of salt.
From here, a leisurely drive carries you back to the pier and your waiting ship.
Please note: This tour includes several hours of moderate walking/standing - at times on uneven ground. The tour is not available to guests who utilize a wheelchair and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Comfortable clothing; sun caps; sunglasses and flat, comfortable walking shoes are suggested.