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Sicily's Marsala is familiar to drinkers of dessert wines, but few people know about this little city's charms. Marble streets are lined with beautiful Baroque buildings - some of which have been converted hotels and guesthouses and are among the best places to stay in Marsala - which open onto spectacular squares. It's the friendly, relaxed attitude of the people enjoying their aperitifs in the sunshine of those squares which really makes this a wonderful place to visit. Marsala's claim to historic fame is as the place where Italian unification began. This is where Giuseppe Garibaldi and his redshirts landed in 1860, then swept northwards until the Bourbons were off the throne.
What not to miss
- Marsala's other claim to fame, the wine, is actually not quite as you expect - the stuff they export actually has sugar added, while the locals drink it dry and flavoursome. You can try it in any of the local wine cellars.
- Explore one of the many museum choices, from the Museo Archeologico Baglio Anselmi where you can see the partially reconstructed remains of a Carthaginian warship, to the John Whitaker museum where you can see the amateur archaeologist's collections of local, mostly Phoenician, artefacts.
- If your looking for something more relaxing, then head out to one of the nearby beaches.
As with all popular destinations in Siciliy, the best places in Marsala are extremely busy during July and August, so if you're planning a summer holiday get organised and book well ahead.
The best places to stay in Marsala
For a intimate stay
- Cas'almare is a charming little five bedroom guesthouse with breathtaking views of the coast and its own private beach and beach club. Each suite has a sun-trap balcony or terrace with sea views. If you can raise yourself from your private paradise you could do some snorkelling, sailing or yoga, or take a stroll amongst gorgeous scenery.
For an apartment or villa
- Browse the options at our online partner Booking.com.
- The nearest airport to Marsala is Trapani (14 miles).
- If you are looking to hire a car, visit our online partner Rentalcars.
- Sicily can get very hot in the high summer, so our pick of the best time to visit is either from May to June or September to October.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Marsala
B&B Nonno Gino 3 rooms from £56Marsala
Stylish accommodation in the heart of Marsala offering rooms with a cool mix of chic and rustic furnishings. The best rooms have a balcony with fabulous views of the Arch of Garibaldi. Boasting an enviable location in the historic centre of Marsala and just a short distance from the beach.Beach Life - Only 4km from the pristine, white-sand beaches of Marsala.Local exploring - Ideally positioned to explore the historic city by foot.Local markets - Visit the nearby fish market, that lies adjacent to the Port of Garibaldi.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
SLO Design House 7 rooms from £65Marsala
Elegant designer rooms in the historic heart of Marsala boasting fabulous views over the Duomo. Chic rooms are modern in design with monochrome tones, clean lines and indulgent bathrooms. Spend days exploring the historic city before returning to exemplary Sicilian fare in the vibrant restaurant.Local exploring - Located in the historic center of Marsala, a wine town rich in history and archaeological finds.Beach Life - Only 4km from the picturesque beaches of Marsala.Sights nearby - Set within walking distance of the Duomo and the Promenade.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.
Hotel Carmine 5 rooms from £96Marsala
An elegant historic property in central Marsala. Beautifully styled rooms feature antique furniture, exposed stone walls and original ceramic tile floors. Indulgent breakfasts are served, massages can be arranged on request and there's an atmospheric bar too. An ideal base to explore the region.Local exploring - Situated near the Archaeological Park of Lilibeo among other historical sites.Beach Life - Located just 3km from the beach.Sights nearby - The Porta Garibaldi, a triumphal arch, is a short stroll from the hotel.Designer - Uniquely designed interiors.