Mazara del Vallo

Mazara del Vallo, the Casbah and the museum of the Dancing Satyr

Mazara del Vallo rises in the province of Trapani, at the mouth of the River Màzaro, approximately halfway between Selinunte and Marsala. The old historical centre, once enclosed inside the Norman walls, includes numerous monumental churches, some dating from the 11th century. It presents the typical traits of districts with an Islamic urban layout typical of medinas, called Casbah, characterised by narrow torturous lanes and streets surrounded by low buildings, which lead to numerous courtyards with the entrances to the houses. The historical centre retains several buildings of cultural and historical interest including the beautiful Norman Cathedral rebuilt later in baroque style, the church of St. Ignatius of Arab-Norman origin and the Church of San Nicolò Regale, of which only the facade remains. The true attraction of the city is the Dancing Satyr a precious bronze statue recovered from the sea in 1997. Dating to the late 4th century B.C. and attributable to the school of the great sculptor, Praxiteles, it is exhibited in the Museum of St. Egidio, a deconsecrated church built between the early and late 16th century. The museum is home to the precious statue since 2005, after an attentive restoration work by the Central Restoration Institute of Rome. The city is renowned throughout Sicily also for the fleet of its high-sea fishing boats which unload several tons of fresh fish from the low Mediterranean in the port each day.