The urban fabric of Mazara del Vallo is studded with a lot of artistic traces left by the different cultures and dominations that have followed over the centuries.
One of the urban elements that clearly reminds the urban domination is the tangled road network that characterizes the historic center.
The configuration of the so-called Casbah area reproduces the labyrinthic paths of the Islamic medinas and it gives an oriental taste to the city.
The main square of Mazara del Vallo is Piazza della Repubblica dominated by the statue of Saint Vito, patron of the city, and surrounded by amazing buildings: the cathedral, the episcopal Palace and the seminary of churchmen that include the diocesan museum.
The cathedral was built during the Norman period in conjunction with the institution of the episcopate of Mazara and it keeps several artistic masterpieces like the statue of the transfiguration realized by Antonello Gagini.
Unluckily only few traces of the Norman style are still visible (the transept and the apse), it has been replaced by the Baroque style and its decorative richness.
The massive portal that characterizes the façade of the cathedral is decorated by a sixteen-century low relief that depicts Ruggero I defeating the Arabs.
The San Niccolò Regale church, built in 1124 and located near the port, also dates back to the Norman period.
This wonderful church is characterized by a squared plan with a central dome, three apses and the presence of early-Christian mosaics.
Walking in the streets of Mazara, you can appreciate the beauty of elegant religious buildings: the Carmine church with its hemispheric domes, the San Francesco church and its polychromatic decorations, the San Michele church that was renewed in 1600, the Sant’Ignazio church and the near ex-college of Jesuits, the San Caterina church and the San Egidio church.
The church of San Michele gives hospitality to a community of cloistered nuns preparing traditionally the famous muccuneddi, small cakes stuffed with conserve of pumpkin.
Another famous square of Mazara is piazza Mokarta, in the hearth of the historic center and near the promenade Mazzini , characterized by the presence of the Norman Arc that represented the entrance to the castle built by Roger I to defend the city from the attacks of the Saracens.
Kept in the homonymous museum, the dancing Satyr represent the real boast of the city of Mazara del Vallo.
The bronze statue was retrieved by chance in the canal of Sicily by a fishing boat of Mazara del Vallo and it has quickly become a symbol of the city.
Dating back to the Hellenic age, the sculpture represents a young boy, curved on his right hip, hair on the wind, holding out his arms and on the point of jumping.