Holidays to Mazara Del Vallo are your ticket to oodles of historic sites, a maze-like old town and tip-top beaches.

A rich history

The city of Mazara Del Vallo took its name from a nearby river. It’s pinned to Sicily’s northwest coast, just a couple of hours’ drive from Palermo. It started life as a teeny fishing town, and since then, the harbour’s grown into one of Italy’s biggest fishing ports. History-wise, the city’s got more layers than an onion – it’s been occupied by Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans over the years.

The Arab quarter

Arabs first dropped anchor in Mazara Del Vallo in the year 827, and their influence still shines through today. The Arab quarter in the city centre – also called the Casbah – feels more like Morocco than Italy. Here, houses are smattered with blue-and-white tiles, and the buildings are arranged into a maze of teeny alleys. You can get your mitts on a load of African-inspired food, too.

The old town

History buffs can eyeball ancient relics and age-old churches in the city’s old town. Republic Square makes a good starting point. It’s home to a grand Baroque cathedral, a sprinkling of museums and a few Sicilian restaurants thrown in for good measure. The ruins of a Norman castle can be found just a dawdle away – it was once a corker of a structure, and today, only the front section’s still standing.

The beaches

Mazara Del Vallo plays a blinder on the beach front. The city’s home to a whopping great stretch of sand that’s backed by snazzy beach clubs. Nab yourself a lounger, a parasol and a cocktail at one of these, and you’ll be all set for a sunbathing day. Or, throw down a towel on the crowd-free Spiaggia di Capo Feto, which has more of a back-to-nature vibe.

At a Glance

  • Tuck in to African-inspired food in the Casbah
  • Get back to nature with a stint on a dune-backed beach
  • Eye up a mysterious masterpiece in the Museum of the Dancing Satyr