An Ionian seaside town, Avola is a mix of old and new. The town focuses heavily on the sea, with its history as a tuna fishing port. Today, the remains of the Vecchia Tonnara at the wharf are a stone backdrop to the sandy beaches. Avola dates back to a pre-Greek people called the Sicani.…
is one of Sicily’s prettiest seaside villages: Marzamemi. It consists of couple of shops and bars, with one main square on which are all the restaurants located. In the evening this place turns into a fairy tale.
It was the Arabs of the 10th century who put Marzamemi on the map. They not only gave the village its poetic name, Mars? al-hamam (translating as something like Turtle Dove Bay) but also built the original tonnara (tuna processing plant), which was to become one of the most important on the island. Although the tonnara itself is no longer in function, Marzamemi continues its artisanal fishing and processing activities, producing all manner of delicacies, including canned tuna, dried tuna roe (bottarga), smoked swordfish, marinated anchovies, seafood pasta condiments, tuna salamis and much more besides!
The old centre of the village, most of which dates back to the arrival of the Principe di Villadorata in the mid-18th century, is situated on a little promontory and organised around the extremely picturesque Piazza Regina Margherita. On the south side is the little fishing harbour with its bobbing fleet of colourful wooden boats, on the others a series of charming buildings, including the Church of San Francesco di Paola, the tonnara, the prince’s aristocratic palazzo and a row of fishermen’s houses, whose sky blue doors and potted red geraniums lend a chromatic vivacity to the whole picture. Narrow streets lead off the main square, offering glimpses of the turquoise sea to the east and north.
Marzamemi is worth visiting at any time of year, but it really comes into its own in the high summer months. In July it often hosts an International Film Festival during which films are projected directly on the walls of the buildings surrounding the piazza. This wonderfully balmy nocturnal al fresco atmosphere continues all through August as visitors and locals mingle in the open-air bars, sipping on sundowners and cooling down after a day’s sunbathing and swimming at the nearby sandy beach of Porto Palo di Capo Passero. Then it’s off to one of the excellent seafront fish restaurants, such as La Cialoma. As night falls, the piazza is taken over by live bands and DJs who provide entertainment for anyone in a dancing mood…
Spectacular event happened this summer in Marzamemi, on the occasion of the evening fashion show organized by Dolce and Gabbana. The picturesque seaside village was chosen by the two stylists for one of the fashion shows scheduled to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their Haute Couture. Parade of VIPs like Mariah Carey, dances and entertainment, all in the wonderful atmosphere of Sicily.
The San Francesco pier of the fishing village has been transformed into a catwalk, to accommodate the models and collections signed by D&G. Garments of Arab vocation paraded, with references to the myth of the Calafarina cave, which is located between Marzamemi and Capo Passero. It is said that a priceless treasure is hidden here, left by the Arabs to escape the Normans.After the defeat of 1086, the Arabs would have had that treasure hidden inside the cave by their slaves. The slaves would then be killed, to keep the secret. According to the myth, their souls would have remained guarding that cave.