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Mazara Del Vallo: 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit This Hidden Gem

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On the picturesque coast of western Sicily, Mazara Del Vallo stands as a testament to the rich history, vibrant culture, and captivating beauty that define the island. With its ancient roots, charming streets, and delectable cuisine, this beautiful town has carved out a special place in the hearts of both locals and travelers alike. It’s also well-known as the most Arabic town in Sicily, being geographically the closest point to Tunisia. Here, we explore why Mazara Del Vallo is truly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.

Read also: 7 Underrated Places To Visit In Sicily

Quick Sicily Travel Guide

Sicily Accommodation: San Domenico Palace and Grand Hotel Timeo for luxury accommodation in Taormina, and Casa Nostra Boutique Hotel or Palazzo Natoli Boutique Hotel for intimate vibes in Palermo. Dome or B&B Oriental Palace in Catania. Room Of Andrea Hotel or Gaura Apartments in Trapani. Le Tre Campane Ortigia or Palazzo Alfeo Aparthotel in Syracuse. Principe Di Salina Boutique Hotel or Il Gabbiano Relais in Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands.

Top Sicily Activities:

1. A piece of Arab world in Sicily

Via Pilazza in Kasbah district

Mazara del Vallo, owing to its strategic location on the coast, attracted the attention of the Arabs as they ventured into Sicily back in 827 AD. One of the most tangible legacies of the Arab influence on Mazara del Vallo is its architecture.

The historic center is known as Kasbah, which is nowadays the last remaining Arab-style center in Sicily. It is a maze of narrow alleys, adorned with colorful houses, ornate balconies, and intricate architectural details. Walking through the streets, one can witness the intricate stonework, arches, and courtyards that bear testimony to Arab architectural aesthetics. The Kasbah stands as a striking example of Arab architectural prowess, blending seamlessly with the Italian backdrop.

But the Arabic impact on the town extends beyond physical structures and permeates the linguistic fabric of the community. The Mazarese dialect, spoken by the locals, displays notable Arabic lexical elements and grammatical patterns. This linguistic influence serves as a constant reminder of the historical connections between Mazara del Vallo and the Arab world.

2. It’s a place where history comes alive

Collegio dei Gesuiti

Stepping into Mazara Del Vallo is like stepping back in time. The town’s diverse past is reflected in its architecture, where elements of Arabic, Norman, and Baroque styles coexist harmoniously. Walking through the winding streets and alleys of the historic center reveals architectural wonders, such as the Norman Cathedral and the Kasbah district, reminiscent of Mazara Del Vallo’s complex history.

The evidence of its rich past includes also the remarkable Dancing Satyr, an over-lifesize Greek bronze sculpture that was discovered off the coast of Mazara Del Vallo. The statue now resides in the town’s Museum of the Satyr, offering visitors a glimpse into the region’s artistic heritage.

3. Charming streets and lively atmosphere

Via Garibaldi is full of cafes, restaurants and artisan shops

Exploring the streets of Mazara Del Vallo is an enchanting experience. When strolling through Kasbah and its labyrinthine district, you can’t miss the famous Blue Door (Via Pilazza, 31, 91026 Mazara del Vallo), which is a private house decorated by a local Tunisian man. As the same man with his family lives inside the house, it’s not easy to see what’s inside, but if you’re together with a local guide or just make friends with local Tunisians, you can always try to ask them to see the house inside, as it’s decorated with beautiful colorful tiles in Tunisian style.

Interiors of Porta Blu house
Interiors of the Porta Blu house

While walking around the center of Mazara del Vallo, you will also stumble upon quaint piazzas as Piazza della Repubblica (the main square), Piazza Plebiscito, Piazza Mokarta, have a coffee in one of the many charming cafes and find local souvenirs in the small artisan shops in Via Garibaldi.

4. Culinary delights

Bar Fratelli Rocca is perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack

No visit to Mazara Del Vallo is complete without indulging in its culinary offerings. The town is renowned for its fresh seafood, which is abundant thanks to its coastal location. From succulent red prawns to delicious swordfish, the local restaurants serve up a feast of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the traditional cous cous, a staple dish influenced by the town’s Arab heritage. We went to Ammàri in Piazza S. Veneranda 10, where they served a delicious fish cous cous. Pair your meal with a glass of local wine, and you’ll have a culinary experience to remember.

For an afternoon snack we chose Bar Fratelli Rocca where you can choose between all the local pastries and drink a nice coffee or tea.

5. Coastal beauty and sandy beaches

Tonnarella and Capo Feto are both wonderful beaches with crystal clear sea

Mazara Del Vallo boasts a stunning coastline that stretches for miles, offering visitors an escape to pristine beaches and azure waters. For example Tonnarella, one of the town’s popular beaches, is a perfect spot to soak up the Sicilian sun and take refreshing dips in the Mediterranean Sea.

Capo Feto offers also beautiful landscapes and it’s a perfect spot for birdwatchers

For those seeking a more secluded atmosphere, the nearby Riserva Naturale di Capo Feto offers a picturesque landscape with crystal clear turquiose waters. Nature lovers and birdwatchers will delight in the rich biodiversity and migratory birds that inhabit the area.

6. Hospitality and authenticity

Achour, a local Tunisian guy showing us where to eat local Tunisian food in Kasbah

One of the greatest charms of Mazara del Vallo is the warm hospitality of its residents. The locals are known for their friendliness, and their passion for their town is infectious. As you wander through the streets, you’ll encounter small shops, cafés and traditional markets where you can interact with the locals and get a taste of the authentic Sicilian-Tunisian way of life.

We asked some locals in the streets where to eat something typical in Kasbah. Achour, a young guy from a Tunisian family, but born and raised in Mazara Del Vallo, told us: “Come with me, I will show you.” We followed him and ended up behind the door of a local Tunisian lady. He told us that we could choose between two types of Tunisian sandwiches, we chose the egg and tuna fried sandwiches, which were super delicious!

The Tunisian fried sandwich that a local lady in her home prepared us

We absolutely recommend you to ask and talk to the locals, as we met so many amazing people. Some of them told us about the history of the city, others introduced us better to the Tunisian culture. This genuine warmth and authenticity create a welcoming atmosphere that makes visiting Mazara del Vallo a truly memorable experience.

Where to stay in Mazara Del Vallo?

Volturno 3 – Suites & More cozy apartments are right next to the historic center of Mazara Del Vallo

The center of Mazara Del Vallo is all within walking distance, exploring both the historic and the new and modern part of the center. We recommend staying in Volturno 3 – Suites & More apartments, that are located right next to the historic center, which makes it easy to visit all the sightseeings. We love the fact that they are eco-friendly and their musts are the attention to details, which includes every single comfort you will need for a cozy stay.

Places you must see in Mazara Del Vallo

The Porta Blu is one of the most famous attractions of Mazara Del Vallo

Are you still wondering what to see in Mazara Del Vallo? Here is a simple list of places we mentioned above:

  • The Kasbah district, which is the historic center of Mazara Del Vallo
  • Porta Blu (the blue door) in Kasbah, via Pilazza 31
  • The cathedral (Cattedrale del Santissimo Salvatore)
  • Collegio dei Gesuiti
  • Chiesa di San Francesco, the interiors
  • Teatro Garibaldi
  • Museo del Satiro Danzante
  • Via Garibaldi

Mazara Del Vallo, with its rich history, charming streets, culinary delights, coastal beauty, and festive atmosphere, is a true gem on the Sicilian coast. Whether you’re seeking a cultural immersion, a gastronomic adventure, or simply a relaxing beach getaway, this captivating town has something to offer to everyone.


All the photos in this article were taken by Chiara Magi. Book your travel photoshoot in Palermo here or write us at [email protected].

Want to see more travel photos of Sicily? Follow us on Instagram here.

Chiara Magi
Chiara Magi
I'm a photographer and filmmaker, and most of all probably the biggest lover of Sicily! I am also the creator of Sicily Insider, sharing the best travel information, tips and advice.

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