Marsala is readily associated with its world-famous, richly colored eponymous fortified wine, and your main reason for stopping will likely be to visit some of the many wineries in the area. But this quiet seaside town, together with the nearby island of Mozia, was also once the main Carthaginian base in Sicily: it was from here that Carthage fought for supremacy over the island against Greece and Rome, leaving behind intriguing archaeological sites. In 1773, a British merchant named John Woodhouse happened upon the town and discovered that the wine here was as good as the port long imported by the British from Portugal. Two other wine merchants, Whitaker and Ingram, rushed in, and by 1800 Marsala was exporting wine all over the British Empire.


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