Marsala is internationally known for its namesake wine. But this port city on Sicily’s western coast is also a charming cultural destination, with archaeological ruins, a 15th-century Benedictine monastery, and a delightful historic center.
Built on the site of an ancient Roman shipping port, Marsala (aka the City of Wine or Città del Vino) is now more of a resort town than a commercial center, and travelers flock to its excellent museums, sumptuous churches, and lovely waterfront. A guided walking tour of Marsala’s historic center is a fun way to take in the city’s top sights—you might even get to taste some of the area’s prestigious wine.
Many tours and shore excursions to Marsala also include other highlights of western Sicily, such as the medieval town of Erice, the ruins of Segesta, and the salt flats of Trapani.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Marsala’s lanes and squares are accessible to wheelchairs, but some of the historic churches and archaeological sites may not be.
- Kids will enjoy a break along Marsala’s waterfront, a popular place for wind- and kitesurfing.
How to Get There
Perched on the coast of western Sicily, Marsala is connected by train to Trapani and Palermo. The easiest way to visit is with a guided tour or shore excursion that includes transportation, so you can see a number of towns and sights without having to coordinate complicated public transit schedules.
When to Get There
Marsala is most lively in the summer, when the center and beaches are bustling with visitors. Summer temperatures in Sicily can soar, and most businesses and attractions close during the hottest midday hours—do your sightseeing in the morning or late afternoon.
Marsala’s Signature Wine
Marsala is commonly made in a fortified version similar to port, sherry, and Madeira. Fortified wines are cut with distilled liqueurs to render them more stable and less likely to turn into vinegar during shipping; Marsala is fortified using a fractional blending process in which small amounts of aged wine are blended into younger wines to raise the alcohol content. Nonfortified Marsala is available in and around Marsala only—ask the locals where to find it.