Marzamemi is a beautiful fishing village in the province of Syracuse (visit Syracuse and its beautiful old part Ortigia!). The charm of this magical place lies in its history that oozes from the stones of its buildings. Here it seems you can really go back in time and enter into ordinary people’s life, who lived in an enchanted place where a Prince ran the business, and where the lives of wives, mothers, children, fishermen wove. I love Marzamemi, together with another awesome fishing village in Sicily, Acitrezza.
Marzamemi winds around Regina Margherita square. There are different opinions about the origins of the name. It can derive from the Arabic Marsà al hamen, which means bay of turtledoves, just because in spring many doves fluttered here and there through the village, or from Memi, which means small port. I like to think of Marzamemi as a small port Sicilian chose by turtledoves. Marzamemi includes the Palace of the Prince, the Loggia of Scieri, the tuna fishery, the two baroque churches of San Francesco di Paola (one is new and was commissioned by Pius XI, the other one is very old and it is made of sandstone), and the fishermen’s houses.The palace was looted during the Second World War. It has a courtyard, where events often take place, and a terrace now tarnished by time. The walls of terrace have slits through which the inhabitants shot the pirates to defend their village. The Prince managed the work of the workers from the terrace of the Palace and after a long day of work fishermen gathered in Regina Margherita square. The facade of the building has a plaque in memory of the war dead.
The Loggia of Scieri (“scieri” means “boats” in dialect), is where the fishing boats were kept and now is rented for events and weddings. The tuna fishery dates back to the Arab domination and the fishermen’s houses date back to 1600. They are built with the typical sandstone. Some of them are restaurants, shops and pubs, other houses are abandoned. It is so lovely to have dinner here in the evening!
Marzamemi is very popular in summer. In the evening, white stone of its buildings is lit by dim lights of the restaurants and chairs are on the streets. Many tourists flock to this enchanted place thanks to its proximity to beautiful cities of Syracuse and Noto, symbols of Sicilian Baroque, other suggestive Sicilian beaches, like the one in Pachino, and the natural reserve of Vendicari. Marzamemi has also two small natural harbors, called “Fossa” and “Balata”.
Marzamemi has a unique charm even in spring, because it is not as crowdy as in summer. You can walk through the alleys and relive that past life among the silent streets and why not, caressing the stone of these lovely houses. Check out these amazing pics!One of my favorite places in Marzamemi is a special shop-bookstore-restaurant (yes three in one!). It’s called Liccamuciula, which is a Sicilian dialectic word and means something like “great gourmand”. Here you can taste desserts accompanied by tasty Sicilian wines, but it is also a boutique ideal for handicrafts lovers (you can buy hats, jars with preserves) and a bookstore (there is a special corner dedicated to books lovers, called book-therapy, just because books make you feel better, right?). Here you can also buy vintage jewelry, natural soaps and cosmetics with milk, chocolate, honey, almond, flowers and fruits. You can also stop by for a drink. I recommend local wine!Then, if you want to stay for dinner I recommend La Mattanza to eat pizza and beer, for approximately €15 per person.
How to get to Marzamemi
You can catch the Interbus bus from Catania airport. It takes about 2 hours to get to Pachino (€13.50 round trip), then there are only 3km to get to Marzamemi. If you are in Syracuse, the bus line is always Interbus. Check out the website.
Have you fallen in love with Marzamemi? 🙂