Hotel Carmine, Marsala ***
This cosy and atmospheric three-star hotel is right in the historic centre of Marsala, on the western coast of Sicily, still a thriving port and home of the famous wine industry. Converted from a 17th-century convent in 2005, the exterior of the Hotel Carmine is stunning, particularly when lit at night. View hotel
Double rooms from €70
Hotel Centrale, Marsala **
This family-run two-star hotel is conveniently located in the historic centre of Marsala, in the province of Trapani. This thriving port is on the western coast of Sicily, and is the home of the famous wine industry. View hotel
Double rooms from €50
Hotel Resort Baglio Oneto, Marsala ****
A peaceful stay in the beautifully remote countryside above Sicily's west coast is guaranteed in this Marsala hotel. Housed in a former fortified villa overlooking the Mediterranean and with excellent views of the Egadi islands, this hotel boasts 48 rooms decorated in a sparse, Sicilian style with individual patios... View hotel
Double rooms from €55
The Sicilian town of Marsala is probably best known to outsiders for the drink of the same name, a delicious fortified wine similar to sherry and port, and originally created by expatriate Englishman John Woodhouse. This most westerly point of Sicily has more going on besides though, with the ancient city popping up throughout history as the Carthaginian fortress of Lilybaeum in 396BC, as the Arab port of Marsa Allah, and then in May 1160 as the first toehold on Italian soil of Garibaldi's liberating '1000' as Italy fought its way toward unification. You'll find museums and there is a collection of archaeological excavations (Roman and earlier). Little remains of ancient Lilybaeum, bar some foundations, old pieces of the city wall, and the Sibyl spring.
East of the town centre a large fosse (ditch) is a remnant of the old defences. In town, there are some good restaurants around the centre, and the main shopping street (Cassaro) is rather beautifully constructed of huge slabs of local stone. A trip around the cantinas of the two main producers of Marsala wine (Florio and Pellegrino, with the bibulous Woodhouse having been bought out early by the competition) is a must. This is definitely the place for quiet vacations, being one part of Sicily where tourism hasn't really got a foothold. There is a good sandy beach towards Lido Signorina.