Via Francigena Mazarense

Detail

The Via Mazarense is an important artery of the Sicilian Magna Via Francigena, witnessed since the Middle Ages through original documents (diploma of 1267) that define as “Francigena” the road that connected Mazara del Vallo to the main route from Marsala to Palermo. The ancient Via Valeria, which ran from the Strait of Messina to the port of the Arab Marsala, was kept alive by the merchants and soldiers who controlled the coast, by pilgrims embarking for Spain, and by the road system of the reign of Roger the Norman.

Today, the Via Mazarense in Sicily offers the excitement of a 322-kilometre-long path, which connects Agrigento to Palermo in 14 stages.

The starting city for the itinerary along the Via Mazarense is Agrigento, world-famous for the Valley of the Temples. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valley of the Temples is a journey into ancient Akragas, one of the most important cities of Magna Graecia. Reaching Siculiana (AG), we admire the beautiful Chiaramontano Castle, the SS Crocifisso Shrine and the beaches of the Torre Salsa Nature Reserve.

The second stage of the walk along the Via Mazarense takes us from Siculiana to the municipality of Cattolica Eraclea (AG), with a visit to the Archaeological Park of Heraclea Minoa, a Greek city linked to the legend of the Cretan king Minos and dedicated to the cult of Heracles.

On the next stage, from Eraclea we reach the territory of Ribera (AG), birthplace of Francesco Crispi, also known as the “City of Oranges” and “Slow City”, part of the international network of the “Cities of Good Living”.

The fourth stage of the Via Mazarense takes us from Ribera to Sciacca, a city famous for its historic Carnival and for the production of artistic ceramics, as well as for the numerous Arab-Norman testimonies to be admired in the historic centre and the fine beaches.

From Sciacca, the Via Mazarense takes us to Menfi (AG), with its unspoilt stretch of coastline and a cycle/pedestrian path. This is the right stop to enjoy a sip of Menfi’s prized wine.

The sixth stage of the Via Mazarense route goes from Menfi to the enchanting archaeological site of Selinunte, in the municipality of Castelvetrano, reaching the province of Trapani.

After visiting the ancient Sicelian city of Selinunte, the largest archaeological park in Europe, famous for its temples and the Efebo, we proceed in the direction of Mazara del Vallo (TP), the destination from which the route takes its name, an important road and trade junction throughout the Sicilian Middle Ages.

After a visit to the historic centre of Mazara, once enclosed within Norman walls, with monumental churches and the typical Islamic urban layout of the medinas (called precisely casba), we reach the city of Marsala (TP), to discover its beauty.

Famous for the landing of Garibaldi and the Thousand and for the production of Marsala wine of the same name, it stands on the ruins of the two ancient Punic cities, Lilybaeum and Mozia, within the “Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala” Nature Reserve, opposite the famous Marsala Salt Pans. From here, the stage on the Via Mazarense arrives in Salemi (TP).

Crossing the Valle del Belice, the tenth stage along the itinerary of the Via Mazarense takes us from the village of Salemi (TP), among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy famous for its Norman-Swabian Castle, to Calatafimi Segesta (TP), guardian of another archaeological jewel to be discovered.

From Calatafimi, after a visit to the Segesta Archaeological Park, linked to the myth of Aeneas and the Elymians, we continue on to Alcamo (TP), at the foot of Mount Bonifato, in the splendid Gulf of Castellammare, another fine example of Arab-Norman admixture, as demonstrated by the Castle of the Counts of Modica and the Cuba delle Rose.

The twelfth stage on the Via Mazarense takes us from Alcamo to Partinico, introducing us to the province of Palermo. Here, in addition to the churches and monuments in the centre, the ancient Bourbon Cellar is worth a visit.

The second-to-last stage of the Via Mazarense, the stretch from Partinico to Carini (PA) is an opportunity to admire the gulf of the same name and visit the legendary Castle of Carini, linked to the story of Baroness Laura Lanza.

From Carini, the Via Mazarense ends in Palermo, a city that is part of the UNESCO circuit “Arab-Norman Palermo and the cathedrals of Cefalù and Monreale”, among the pearls of the Mediterranean to be discovered in all its charm.

Find out more on the Via Mazarense website.

Regional web map of paths and routes for soft mobility realised by LabGis Osservatorio Turistico della Regione Sicilia, in collaboration with FIAB Sicilia and CAI Sicilia.

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LOCATION

DURATION

Distance

322 KM

Difficulty

High

Seasons

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