Marsala is very close to Africa at the westernmost point of Sicily. It was founded by Carthage (a city-state located in what is now in Tunisia) and was first called Lilybaeum, a name similar to Libya. When the Arabs took over, they called the town Mars el-Allah (“Harbour of Allah”). So came the name Marsala.
Today is Thursday before Easter, the day of the big procession here in Marsala that recreates the 12 stations of the cross. But first I am off to the Regional Archaeological Museum Baglio Anselmi to see the Punic war ship that was found off the coast in the late Sixties.
The archaeological museum is located in a traditional wine factory, one of many that lined the Marsala waterfront in the last century.
The museum contains an impressive collection of amphorae dug up from the sea with shells still stuck to the sides. All shapes and sizes line up in long rows. Exhibits show nails, olive seeds, ropes, and many other items used by the warriors on the Punic ship. (Punic a perorative term the Romans called the Carthaginians.)