History and Culture
Mazara del Vallo (Mazzara in Sicilian) is a town in the province of Trapani, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at the mouth of the river Mazaro and less than 200 km from the Tunisian coast of North Africa. The ancient town, overlooking the Strait of Sicily, located on the left bank of the river Mazaro stands in the same site where, presumably, the Phoenicians planted the colony which they named Mazara, probably native voice, which could mean " The Castle. " In the age of the splendor of the Siceliot Selinunte, for its physical characteristics of natural harbour on the Mazaro, the city was "market town" and trading center, as well as the extreme border fortress defending Selinunte state, from the Punics.
In Roman times, the city was enriched by the urban spa and flooring that have emerged in the course of archaeological excavations of 1932; the collapse of the Roman Empire and the barbarian incursions in the Mediterranean, however, have not left notable marks .
The stagnation of urban growth ends in the year 827, when Muslims, interested in the island control, landed at Mazara, to give the start to their slow colonization of Sicily, and to offer the city a glow, and economic prosperity significants. By that time the city retains the ancient monument which is the largest road network, and subsequent rulers built their monuments making them fall on the areas of Islamic ones.
The "Old Town", once enclosed within the Norman walls , includes several monumental churches, some dating from the eleventh century, and a district in the urban layout of a typical Muslim "medina", called the Casbah, whose narrow streets are a sort of trademark. The main economic activities that distinguish Mazara del Vallo are fishing, agriculture and shipbuilding, and food, especially fish.
The cathedral of Mazara: Exquisite example of Norman architecture, the Cathedral was built in Norman times, instead of an earlier mosque, the area of the "Magna Moss" at the behest of Roger I, following the creation of the diocese in 1093. It was completely rebuilt in the late seventeenth century in Baroque style, the work of Don Pedro Castro. Inside there is a group of statues depicting the Transfiguration of Antonello Gagini. Piazza della Repubblica, the main town square, also houses the Bishop's Palace and the Palace of the XVI century, hosting the Episcopal Seminary, 1710. The Diocesan Museum, which opened in 1993 on the occasion of the ninth centenary of the founding of the diocese, collects the wealth of silverware of the Cathedral. The Church of St. Nicola Regale in 1124 and the Church of Madonna delle Giummare eleventh century, are examples, both, of a clear matrix of Arab-Norman style.
Mazara del Vallo is one of the most important and well known Italian fishing ports, basic equipment of a fleet of about 350 large deep-sea trawlers (with about 4,000 fishermen aboard), which falls every 20 days. Mazara is also up the headlines in March 1998, when a fishing vessel local, commanded by Captain Francesco Adragna, has recovered to about 480 meters deep in the waters of the Strait of Sicily, a bronze sculpture of 2 meters, from the Hellenistic period , known as the dancing Satyr. The statue, after being restored and being on display for a short time in Rome, at Deputies, after being returned to Mazara del Vallo, shall be apportioned to be exhibited at Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, Italian Pavilion, 25 March 2005-25 September 2005. From mid-October 2005, the Dancing Satyr from Mazara is again exposed in a museum in Piazza del Plebiscito, housed in the Church, now desecrated, of Sant'Egidio, built in 1424.
The Norman arch is what remains of the Norman castle that once stood in the center of the city. Piazza della Repubblica is the main town square which is overlooked, as well as the Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace and the Palace of the XVI century, the Diocesan Seminary, 1710. The Diocesan Museum, which opened in 1993 on the occasion of the ninth centenary of the founding of the diocese, collects the wealth of silverware of the cathedral. The church of San Michele, the twelfth century, with the annexed Benedictine convent, was modernized in the seventeenth century in Baroque style. The church of St. Catherine, dating back to 1318 was also remodeled in the Baroque period. The church of San Francesco is an example of Sicilian Baroque, rich in polychrome decorations. Outside the town, near the city, keeps some archaeological sites, including the establishment of Roccazzo Roccazzo neolithic remains and archaeological site of a Imperial Roman villa in Costa Piraino. The natural areas include Gorghi Tondi, Lake Preola (WWF oasis) and the reserve of Capo Feto (LIPU) and Banco Scherchi.