May 19, 2018 - Sea Cloud
After anchoring off Mazara del Vallo, our morning excursion took us to the ancient city of Selinunte, an important Greek colony in the 7th-3rd centuries B.C. The partially reconstructed Temple of Hera provided an excellent overview of temple architecture and gave us the rare opportunity to walk through a Classical Greek temple. We then took advantage of the pleasant weather to hike through fields of spring flowers to the site’s Acropolis, once the center of public life in ancient Selinunte.
We took a break for an exquisite lunch at Pierrot’s Restaurant amidst a sweeping view of the sparkling Mediterranean. Here, we enjoyed a variety of dishes such as bruschetta, Sicilian olives, a delicate fried fish with onions, and—just when we thought we had eaten enough—two further pasta courses and a refreshing pistachio gelato. Following lunch, we journeyed to the city of Marsala, passing through a varied landscape of modern windmills, traditional olive groves, expansive vineyards, and industrialized towns.
The afternoon program took us to the Archaeological Museum of Marsala, where we marveled at the remains of a 3rd-century B.C. shipwreck excavated nearby. From fragments of ancient rope to the small bronze nails that fastened the ship’s hull, the many artifacts found alongside this impressive hull paint a vivid image of shipbuilding in the Hellenistic Mediterranean. Other artifacts at the museum, like the stunning marble Aphrodite or the elaborately painted funereal monuments, reflect the complicated mix of Greek, Roman, and Punic influences in western Sicily during Antiquity.
Our exciting day concluded with a tour of the Florio Winery in Marsala, where we explored the history and processes involved in creating the famous fortified Marsala wines. This distinctive wine, often served as an aperitif or used in cooking, is made from local grapes and has a higher alcohol content than most wines. After tasting some of the Florio wines alongside local cheeses and a delightful cannoli, we returned to the Sea Cloud, now docked at Trapani.
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