“Isn’t it true that the most beautiful emotions come from unexpected encounters?”

tre cose da non perdere a Marsala

Sicily was a dream come true. Beautiful as I never would have expected.

During the departure my mind was full of questions: I had to head out on a 16-hour journey by bus and I had never done it before. It was my first solo travel.
In the end, however, it was a pleasant journey.
When I saw Messina’s lights from the other side of the Strait, I felt the same emotion of a little dream come true: the heart beating, the eyes lighting up with joy, the sleepiness disappearing in a second. That place which I wanted to visit for years was now in front of me, just a few miles away. I felt like a lover in front of the desired person!

Since the dawn, Sicily gave me landscapes that will remain forever in my eyes and in my heart: from the green of its hills to the thousands shades of blue, from Etna’s red to the clear colors of its sky.
I spent a few hours travelling through these wonders to finally arrive in Marsala: the most westerly point of Italy. The most westerly jewel of Italy, indeed.

Let’s see three things to do in Marsala (and don’t forget to read where to sleep and what to eat in this city)!

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, asino

 

3 things to do in Marsala: visit the “Ettore e Infersa” saltworks

The saltworks are about fifteen minutes away from Marsala city centre. You can go there by bus (but they are very sporadic) or with a taxi ride.
They are absolutely unmissable.

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, le saline

Saltworks are in the Stagnone Island Orientend Nature Reserve, another one of Sicily’s wonder of nature.
You’ll be welcomed by the sight of a yellow mill with a red roof, surrounded by white little hills of salt that during winter were covered in shingles: a lot of little roofs that speck saltworks’ roads.

But the real special welcome is just outside the saltworks, where Peppe Genna, the engraver poet, sits. He welcomes you with a big smile and the will to share his stories, his life, his art. Listening to him is moving. Every day he comes here with his little car full of his artworks: engraved stones with different colors and forms. When he arrives, he assembles his stand (a little table) and waits for someone ready to listen to him, someone to talk to.
Everyday.
He still gets excited when he talks about himself and his life, his words are accompanied by sweet and faded melancholy eyes.
The image itself of him sitting near his cart cutting the leaves is poetry.
When you come here, give him five minutes of your time: they will turn into precious moments to keep among the most beautiful memories, those which you fill your suitcases with.

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, Peppe Genna

Right after there are the salt pans and their 13 meters tall mill, one of the few still working in Europe. By visiting it, you’ll discover the amazing beauty of salt creation, right here where it is still picked up by hand and without any use of industrial machines.
A slow process that gives life to a matter that was once considered like gold.
Here you can do different activities to discover the importance of salt: from salt bathing for the ones in need to relax to a day as a salt picker for those who want to learn and understand.

Stay here ’till the sunset, where everything bursts into flame in an extraordinary show of shadows and lights that leaves you speechless.

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, Tramonto

3 things to do in Marsala: Bike

A really good way to explore Marsala, its story and its curiosities is by bike!
Together with Alessandro of Bike4Fun, – a guy of Apulian origin who decided to open this wonderful activity here, driven by his love for cycling and of Sicily – we went through the alleys of the city for an entire afternoon… it is incredible how well he knows the city!
An excellent company between chat and discoveries.

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, bike 4 fun

We visited the city centre, the municipal park, the Decumano Massimo (the old road that goes east-west in the Roman cities), the Garibaldi Museum and then… what excited me the most: Capo Boero, the most westerly point of Italy.
You know you’re there, looking at sea, and you realize that at the end of it there’s a foreign land awaiting you. And you also know that Italy is entirely behind you and beyond that point you can’t continue. You are looking out from the edge of your nation.

A little further on, however, there is the point where Garibaldi landed with the Expedition of the Thousand. The point from which your country began. The historical beginning and the geographical end, so close to touch each other without ever touching.

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, mare

3 things to do in Marsala: visit the Florio Winery

The most famous winery name in Marsala, the history of one of the most famous wine. A very interesting story.

Do you know that it was an Englishman to discover it? A certain John Woodhouse who, when in Marsala, drank the most famous wine of the area, at the time called Perpetuum. He fell in love with it at the first sip, so he decided to take a lot of it in England. The journey by the sea, however, was very long at the time. How to preserve the wine without ruining it? Simple, by adding alcohol! So when he got home and he and his compatriots tasted the wine, they discovered that it was even better than when he left.
The intention was to go back to Italy, take the wine and putting alcohol in it too, but one thing stopped him: Napoleon’s embargo.
So only afterwards an Italian get interested in that wine: Vincenzo Florio, of Calabrian origins, who brought the “alcoholic” Marsala into Italy.

Thanks to the discovery of alcohol and its excellent qualities, Marsala is also used by some Italian companies as a preservative, preferred to chemical agents. An excellent choice!

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, Florio

The history of the Florio Winery is long and full of trials and tribulations. The latest is the one that saw them on the verge of financial collapse, from which they were saved thanks to the sale to Saronno first and to Cinzano then, which also bought the Conte di Salaparuta Winery, a name that since 2003 combined these three wines.
The Florio Winery is the only one to have historic reserves of inestimable value, such as barrels of 1939 or 1941 (the cheapest bottle of this wine was sold for 980€).
Discovering the quality and care with which life is given to wine is a real cultural and sensorial experience. The damp smell of wood in the cellars, the sounds of footsteps on the tuff, the eyes lost in those historic walls that smell of must.

An interesting tour through the history and culture of wine, which ends with a tasting of three types of wine: a “Terre Arse” accompanied by a piece of Parmesan; a “Targa” accompanied by a taste of gorgonzola on a cracker and a “Grecale” (which is not properly Marsala) with an almond biscuit.

 

Tre cose da non perdere a Marsala, Florio degustazione

A journey through the senses, which ends with a recorded voice who reads a sentence that describes to perfection, just by coincidence, my first meeting with Sicily:

“Isn’t it true that the most beautiful emotions come from unexpected encounters?”