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Marsala is an ancient Phoenician city. The name, however, comes from the Arabic: "marsa", that is, the port of Allah. Subsequently, it became a Roman base called Lilibeo and today occupies an important, fundamental strategic position at the extreme western end of Sicily. During the Second World War, it was partly destroyed by bombardment. Having been honoured with a gold medal for civil accomplishments in 1961, Marsala is today an agricultural, commercial and industrial centre of the highest standing.
It is the richest and busiest city in Sicily thanks to the wine industry, producing vintage wines amongst which is the classical Marsala, to the agriculture, also with some greenhouse production, and to the cooperation of various other sectors of production. The historical landing of Garibaldi's One Thousand (11 May 1860) has also played its part. The centre of the town has a characteristic four-sided layout composed of regular blocks. The modern districts are more uniform. Make a visit to the Cathedral, dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury which was erected in the 1600's on the site of a pre- existing Norman Church; to the Museo degli Arazzi (Tapestry Museum), which houses eight tapestries dating back to the 1500's, and to the Insula Romana comprising the remains of a Roman city brought to light in 1939.
There are 35 kilometres of coastline and, particularly in the Stagnone, it is possible to catch rare and high quality fish which can be tasted in the restaurants and trattorias of the whole area. Amongst these fish are: lobster, gilthead and white seabream, sea bass, red mullet and cuttlefish. The tourist zones of Segesta, Erice, Selinunte, the Egadi Islands and Pantelleria are easily reached from Marsala.
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