The history - Marsala
The origins – The history of Marsala begin on a small island not far from the coast, well protected within the Stagnone lagoon: Mothia. At the time when the ships of the Carthaginians crossed the Mediterranean Sea to carry from end to end their products, the island of Mothia, in the middle of this sea, represented an excellent trade junction.
The more the power of the Carthaginians grew, the more Mothia became important. But the more the power of the Carthaginians grew and the more it dashed with the other big masters of the Sicily: the Greeks and the masters of Eastern Sicily, the Magna Grecia. So, in 397 B.C., Dionysus the old, tyrant of Syracuse, attacked and destroyed the island of Mothia. Its inhabitants sheltered on the coast, on that promontory that stood in front of their island. Lilybeo was born there.
The Romans – The town remained to the Carthaginians until I Punic war, that Carthaginians and Romans fought exactly in this area of the Mediterranean Sea. At that time Lilybeo was a town very important for being well fortified and surrounded by a sea with seabeds insidious for who is not experienced in it. The Romans had to be besieging for ten years before they succeeded in capturing it. It had been part of the Roman Empire until the end of the same.
The Arabs – After a difficult period of vandalic sacks, the town went through a period of great splendour when the Arabs arrived in Sicily. People of great intelligence, it succeeded in making the town revive with the new name of Marsa Ali ( Harbour of Ali) or Marsa Allah (Harbour of Allah), in honour of its important harbour. Many buildings and mosques, then unfortunately got lost, rose. However the Arab presence is clearly visible in the names, in the cookery traditions, in the town-planning system and in some architectural features.
The Spanish – Then all the people that dominated Sicily passed through Marsala: Swabians, Normans, Angevins and Aragoneses. The rule of Spain lasted a long time and it brought a slow decline.
Garibaldi and the thousand men (his troops) – The Bourbon kingdom collapsed only on the 11th of May 1860, when Garibaldi with his Mille landed in Marsala to set free the southern Italy and give it to Vittorio Emanuele (Victor Emmanuel).
Golden Medal for Civic Valour – During the II world war, on the 11th of May 1943, Marsala was hit by an hard bombing that destroyed many buildings and caused hundreds of dead. The Golden Medal for civic valour was recognized to the town.