Marzamemi is a small fishing village in the district of Syracuse. It was discovered by the Arabs who decided to call it “ Marsà al hamen ” meaning Turtle Dove Bay because those birds pass over there in the springtime.
Very close to the town of Pachino, Marzamemi is an important place of the southern part of Italy. It overlooks the coasts of northern Africa, its golden beaches reach out to Ionian Sea, an endless stretch of clear water filled with fishermen’s boats. They fathers, sons and grandchildren because for the “Marzamaruoti” (the people of Marzamemi) fishing is a way of life.
It is no surprise the center of this little village was the Tonnara, a tuna fishery, built in the XVI century which soon became one of the biggest and most important establishments of Eastern Sicily.
Fresh fish comes from the two natural harbors of “Balata” and “Fossa”. Tuna gets processed locally still being the main economic source and tourist attraction of the village. If you walk through the main square, Piazza Regina Margherita, it is impossible not to stop and taste the traditional fish products like red tuna eggs and amberjack pâté inside the fish markets, which are always open until late.
It is a very popular destination among celebrities and it is also the place where writer and journalist Vitaliano Brancati lived. There, on a islet, you can see the burgundy house with its natural pool where the Brancati family lived. This is why locals here call it the Brancati Islet.
The city was also the set of many movies and commercials. “South” by director Gabriele Salvatores starring Claudio Bisio and Silvio Orlando was shot in the same building where the old ice factory once was.
If you come to Eastern Sicily, you cannot miss visiting Marzamemi, an enchanted place where everyone would live, maybe in a small fishermen house overlooking the sea, drinking a glass of Nero D’Avola and eating freshly caught tuna.