Arabic people coming to Sicily circa 9th century C.E. were the first to establish fish processing efforts in Marzamemi, a tradition that continued for many centuries. A sandstone 16th-century “Tonnara” still stands on the beach.xa0
Travelers may explore Marzamemi as part of a day trip from Taormina that includes a journey along the scenic coastline to the UNESCO-listed city of Noto with its stunning cathedral, and just south, the gorgeous mosaics inside the Villa Romana del Tellaro, before heading off to the peaceful Vendicari Nature Reserve where flamingos, storks, and herons make their home.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and families.
- Tours may include guide, round trip hotel transport, but not food or drink.
- Check specific tours for details.
- Remember sun protection and swimsuit to enjoy the sea.
- Tours are not wheelchair accessible.
- Make time to have a meal outdoors in the historic town square in front of the ancient San Francesco di Paola.
How to Get There
Marzamemi is along the southeastern tip of Sicily on the Ionian Sea coast, roughly 100 miles (161 kilometers) south of Taormina. Self-drive or book a spot on a tour, since public transportation to Marzamemi is non-existent.
When to Get There
Though the summer temperatures can get quite high in Marzamemi, it’s a festive time, especially on the third Monday of August during the town’s feast of San Francesco di Paola, one of Sicily’s great parties. Nearby Noto hosts the Baroque Spring Festival in May, and the Arab Horse Race in June, and food-themed festivals happen throughout the year. High-season stretches from June to September, and around Christmas and Easter holidays.
Portopalo and Isola Capo Passero Drive about 20 minutes south to the Portopalo beach where it's’ possible to swim to the tiny island, Isola Capo Passero. If it’s low tide it’s reachable by walking, or if the sea is swelling, to arrive via boat. On the island stands a 16th-century fort the Spanish used to fight pirates. For centuries, whoever controlled this fort, guarded the very entrance to Europe. These days, it guards migrating birds on their way to or from Africa.
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