Friday, February 13, 2015

Island of Mozia, salt, windmills, Marsala and a sunset over Trapani

On board the ferry to Mozia
While staying two nights in Trapani, we took a day trip to the nearby salt flats, where we saw white mountains shimmering in the sun. These hills of salt are among Sicily’s historical economic resources. They were developed by the Phoenicians, who were the first to bring some form of technology to its production. We took a small ferry to Mozia, a small island in the center of the lagoon that was formerly one of the most important Phoenician and Carthaginian settlements in the Mediterranean area.
Elena explains the layout of Mozia.
The Phoenicians transformed the island into one of the most affluent cities of its time, naturally defended by the lagoon as well as high defensive walls. Windmills and salt pans were used for evaporation, salt grinding and refinement, and to maintain the condition of the lagoon and island. In the 6th century BC, due to the struggles between ancient Greece and Carthage over Sicily, Mozia sided with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians against the Greeks. The ancient settlement, founded in the 8th century BC, was destroyed by the Syracuse tyrant Dionysius the Elder in 379 BC. During the Middle Ages, Basilican monks settled on the island and renamed it San Pantaleo, and in 1888 it was purchased by Joseph Whitaker and it is now maintained by the Fondazione Giuseppe Whitaker.

Ross samples one of the Marsala varieties.
We passed the western-most point of Sicily on our way to Marsala, a city famous for two reasons. It is where Giuseppe Garibaldi began his campaign to unite Italy by overthrowing the Bourbon royalty who ruled Sicily and southern Ita
ly. And it is where the famous Marsala wines are made. We toured Cantine Florio to learn something about the process and also to sample three different types of Marsala wines. Tutti erano deliziosi!

One of the old Dutch-style windmills that formerly powered the salt production process.
One of the many piles of salt we saw along the shores.
The dock at Mozia.
Ready for our Marsala tasting.
We took a guided tour of Mozia.
On the bus ride back to our hotel in Trapani, we were treated to this sunset.

1 comment:

  1. Salt - such a rich history and so important to those that possessed it. Read a great book on it called Salt on the subject. Looks like your visit was fascinating. Good pictures



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