Mazara del Vallo

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Mazara del Vallo (Sicilian: Mazzara) is a town and comune in southwestern Sicily, Italy, which lies mainly on the left bank at the mouth of the Mazaro river, administratively part of the province of Trapani.

It is an agricultural and fishing centre and its port gives shelter to the largest fishing fleet in Italy.

Contents

History

Ancient town

Mazara was founded by the Phoenicians in the 9th century BC, with the name of Mazar (the Rock). It then passed under the control of Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Ostrogoths, Byzantines, before being occupied by the Arabs in the year 827. During the Arab period, Sicily was divided into three different administrative regions, Val di Noto, Val Demone and Val di Mazara, making the city an important commercial harbour and centre of learning. Nowadays, the city centre, known as the Kasbah, is reminiscent of that period, probably the most prosperous in the history of Mazara.

In 1072, Mazara was conquered by Normans, headed by Roger I. During that period - in 1093, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mazara del Vallo was instituted.

After the death of Emperor Frederick II, Sicily passed to the Angevins, then followed by the Spaniards of Aragon. The Aragon period (1282–1409) is characterized by a political, economic and demographic decline of Mazara. The city passed under the control of the House of Savoy in 1713, a reign which lasted only five years, being replaced by the Austrians (for 16 years) followed by the Bourbons. In 1860 the city was finally conquered by Giuseppe Garibaldi and the Mille, thus joining then newly formed Kingdom of Italy.

The city was known as Mazzara del Vallo until the World War II period, following which the spelling was changed to Mazara del Vallo.

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