Phoenicians, Salt and The Port of God


What an island!  Strategically placed between Africa and Europe, the east and the west, Sicily was home to successive waves of conquerors, and for our second day, we visited one of the conquering heroes’ settlements.  The Phoenicians, originally from the area that is now Lebanon, were among the first waves.

But first,  we took a close look at the commodity that gave us the word “salary”.  Sal (salt) was once used by the Romans as currency.  Unlike other parts of the world, where salt is mined, the salt here is extracted from the sea.  The water evaporates from shallow beds, leaving behind a substance that is low in sodium, high in potassium and magnesium.  The Trapani salt is practically a health food!  The sea, the wind, the sun all work together, with a little help from human workers, to create this miracle ingredient.  Doesn’t get more natural than that.



After learning more than I ever thought possible about salt, we boarded a boat for the little island of Mothya, where almost 3000 years ago,  Phoenicians built a fortress and a settlement.


There’s not much left on Mothya, just some walls, (header photo) and a museum that once was the home of Giuseppe Whittaker.  Whittaker, in fact, owned the entire island.  Fortunately, he was interested in archaeology and history, left his home and property to the public.

The salt museum contained this rendition of what the settlement was imagined to be.


It’s not a big island; we were able to walk from one end to the other, working up an appetite for this amazing feast!


Our last stop was at the place the Arabs called “Marsa Allah”, the Port of God, now known as Marsala, for wine tasting.   Check  out the size of those barrels.  That’s a whole lot of Chicken Marsala!


It is rare indeed that my wine glass is still full after a wine tasting.  In fact, I would say that this was a first.  To me, Marsala is way too sweet.  Okay for cooking, but definitely not my choice for drinking.

Next stop, the Valley of the Temples.

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