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Impact Hub Siracusa
March 25, 2021
Siracusa Experience
March 25, 2021
All photos © Carlotta Zanti

Charm that begins with the Arabs and reaches Instagram.

Its name derives from the arabic Marsà al hamen, the Bay of Turtle Doves, a clear testament to the centuries it has been inhabited by men (and animals alike). Today Marzamemi is known as one of the most instagrammable places in Italy, which goes to show how its charm still attracts people, as it has always done, though in different ways.
A district of Pachino, one of the southern towns in the area of Siracusa, for a long time Marzamemi was nothing more than a small fishermen’s village. Its roads, which had not yet been paved, still carried the signs of a quiet existence, marked by the scent of the sea, the sounds of the tuna-fishing, the distinctive flavours of this corner of land which stretches towards the African continent. The center of Marzamemi grew up around the old arabic tonnara, the tuna-processing building, one of the most important and largest in Sicily, and the Palazzo of Villadorata, which was built in 1752 together with the baroque church dedicated to San Francesco di Paola.
Social networks didn’t yet exist in 1993. It is easy to wonder, though, how Marzamemi would have appeared on Instagram if someone had captured it during the filming of Sud, the film by Gabriele Salvatores that marked the beginning of its rebirth. It isn’t hard to imagine the photos taken backstage between one shot and the other, with a glimpse of sea in the background or the picturesque little streets that caught the actors’ eyes.
Thanks to other productions that highlighted its charm, Marzamemi began to be appreciated again, and it soon became synonymous with a timeless magical place, that went hand in hand with the art of cinema. It is not by chance that in 2000 it became the home of the Festival del Cinema di Frontiera.
It began with a video-camera, which turned into a photo-camera, and finally into a cellphone. The technological means may change, nonetheless its decadent yet enticing beauty stays the same.
This may be the reason why Marzamemi has recently become one of the most coveted tourist destinations in Sicily. Especially in the summer months, the town fills up with tourists, who fall in love with the timeless views between an aperitivo at sunset and a fresh seafood dinner.
Nowadays, Marzamemi is a collection of wonders. It means savouring a variety of fried fish and dishes made with freshly-harvested Pachino tomato IGP in one of its charming restaurants. Or strolling through its sun-parched alleys and relieving the heat with an almond granita. Breathing in the scent of the sea in its two small ports. It means renting a boat to explore the wonderful beaches of the area, or admiring the small Brancati island from afar, property of the heirs of the famous writer Vitaliano. It means residing in the quaint old fishermen’s houses, which have now become hotels. Finally, it means taking in the evocative atmosphere of piazza Regina Margherita, and the way, every night, it fills with colours and lights that blur with the stars.
The small town manages to enthrall its visitors in every season. In summer, it fills with happiness, warmth and laughter, the quintessential energy holidays bring. In winter, the wind blowing gives it a melancholic feel that highlights the impression of time running slowly.
Every moment of the year has something special to offer, small experiences that make Marzamemi unique. The walks on the cliffs overlooking the sea; the search for lesser-known lanes; imagining the old tales of men and fish inside the old tonnara; the chats with the locals, who take care of their town with dedication and commitment; the captivating view of the Vendicari coast, up to the island of Capo Passero.
There are plenty of reasons for Instagram to continue to crown Marzamemi as one of the best destinations in Italy. However, unlike some places which are made more beautiful thanks to filters and special effects, Marzamemi is as beautiful on social media as it is in real life, and exploring it is one of the best ways to understand this. It’s the details that make the real magic of Marzamemi shine through and, luckily, there is no shortage of it in its hidden corners or unique views.
Marzo 2021

Attraverso gli studi universitari in Scienze della Comunicazione e Management Turistico, ho trasformato in professione la passione per la comunicazione social e per la mia Siracusa. Ogni mio testo o fotografia racconta luoghi che profumano di storia, a partire da Ortigia, in cui ho la fortuna di vivere. Per narrare e svelare i segreti più dolci e la meraviglia della mia terra, lavoro in festival, associazioni e fondazioni culturali.