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Visit Marzamemi

Things to see in Marzamemi

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il Cortile di Villadorata
The courtyard of Villadorata Palace
PJ (Margherita Montoneri)

This little port is the symbol of the village. Named "Balata", from the Arab "balad", which means the paving stones, it's the nerve center both of the working and night life of Marzamemi. A characteristic archway separates it from Regina Margherita square, the second symbol of the village, built as a fishermen meeting point and in front of the  Villadorata Palace, elegant and essential sandstone building of ‘700, the residence of the Prince and Lord of Marzamemi, that from there wanted closely monitor the trades and the works activities relating to tuna fisheries and processing. the village, in fact, flourished around the "tonnara" [the tuna fishery, n.d.t.], probably of Arab origin, but dating back to the Spanish domination (1600), and in use until the second post-war period, even if it was heavily bombed during the allied landings.

Completely looted during the Second World War,  the Villadorata Palace still preserves its large courtyard, with its special and atmospheric light.  In front of the Palace, across the square, there are the first fishermen's "casuzze" [little houses, n.d.t.]: now they are used as holiday homes, cleaned and refurbished, but when, as a child, I was wandering nearby I felt like I was taking a time trip into a Dickensian universe transplanted on the seashore. At that time from the old tuna fishery church, dedicated to the Blessed Mother of Carmel came the clucking of many chickens: how it had become a henhouse, and who used to own such those noisy feathered animals was one of the mysteries of my childhood.

The Churches of Marzamemi
1) Old Church 2) New Church
Andrea Dell'Agnese

One last tidbit: those who look out the dam or the little quay "Balata" scrutinizing the seabed, especially at low tide, will be able to see a teeming with life seabed, with some rocks (catching crabs, little fishes, mollusks, sea urchins was one of our favorite amusement, and to fish we made small pots with plastic bottles or jumped around with some nets). If you look carefully the rocks on the seabed, you will note that they are curiously regular, perhaps even square: These are called “Grandi Latomie di Marzamemi” [Big Latomies of Marzamemi, n.d.t.], that is Greek quarries used until the Byzantine period. To extract the stone blocks from the seabed some wooden poles were used. One of the major extracted blocks lef a sort of little pool, which is called  “Zotta mattise” or simply Zotta: the water of that pool is always shallow and hot, and it's ideal for children or for an alternative bath. The real beach of Marzamemi, named Spinazza, is up ahead, after the dam: we used to go there at all hours, to have a regenerating bath, for long walks up to the small rocky barrier at the end, named "Il bove marino", where all the diving lovers used to hang out. 

The Spinazza
The Spinazza
PJ (Margherita Montoneri)

A byzantine wreck and two Roman columns enrich the deeper sea bed. At now there organized boat trips and dives, but when I was child I went there by motorboat with my uncle.

And so I spent my vacation as a child, between baths, boat trips, an exploration by bicycle, but above all in an ancient, sunburned land, where the History can be traced even in a pile of houses by the Sicilian sea, thrown away for fun by the hand of a giant child.

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Marzamemi is a village that belongs to the municipality of Pachino, in the province of Siracusa (Sicily).

Less than 5 Km from the Oriented Nature reserve Animal Reserve of Vendicari (offering free access at the beach, hiking paths and much more), and less than 50 Km from the canyon of the Nature Reserve of the Passibile river.

It's a few kilometers from Noto, famous for its Baroque architecture, and also from Modica, Avola and from the many climbing spots of the Ragusa province.

36.742886, 15.118674

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