Let’s discover Mazara Del Vallo, home of its famous Red Prawns
Mazara Red Prawns are top ingredients in our menu and Sicilian chef Enzo Oliveri chooses them because they are excellent, the very best quality in the Mediterranean: they are caught offshore and the local fishery (around 300 ships) is settled in Mazara del Vallo, which is a charming town near Trapani on the south west cost of the island.
The taste of Red Prawns brings us right to the seacost of Mazara: the local community is mainly devoted to fishing and tourism.
Sicilian local fisherman’s nets were protagonists of the discovery of the “Satiro Danzante” (in English, “Dancing Satyr”) which is a 2000-year old copper Greek statue, beautiful preserved. It was it was brought afloat by Mazara ship “Capitan Ciccio” in 1998, from the seabed between Pantelleria and Capo Bon in Tunisia. Now, after careful restorations, the statue lives in its own museum inside the Sant’Egidio church. You can visit its website (in Italian) at this link.
Mazara Del Vallo has its own saint patron, San Vito, and its dedicated church sits just along the promenade of the town, in front of the sea. Its evocative scenario is enchanted by a new monument erected by the local municipality and dedicated to the fishermen community: the “Monumento del Pescatore” is an iron statue, a 10-meters-hight and 15-meter-large sculture made by Sicilian artists Pippo and Davide Contarino.
History and culture lovers will find lots of stories in Mazara: the Cathedral is a stunning mixture of romanic, Greek and Baroque architecture and its painted ceiling is really a masterpiece (don’t miss the Museo Diocesano). The San Francesco Church has also a great ceiling. In Mokarta square, in particular, the ancient Norman Arch tells the story of the a big Castle by the king of Sicily Roger II.
Arabs had a massive influence in this lovely city: the Casba is still the area of the town with lots of Arab houses decorated with majolica, and narrow streets. The community includes new Sicilians born in Tunisia and it is a very good example of the Sicilian welcoming approach.
Locals cook Red Prawns – so popular in London now – and also delicious cous cous: visit the Cous Cous Festival in the nearby village San Vito Lo Capo, every September. Africa is so close by!
Photos courtesy Municipality of Mazara Del Vallo