The strategic position in the Mediterranean basin has made of Mazara a very desirable city and a lot of dominations have followed during the centuries: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Berbers, Normans, Angevins, Aragonians and Bourbons.
The first human settlements in the area of Mazara date back to superior Paleolithic age.
In the XI century B.C. the Phoenicians used Mazara as an important port of call that they used for commercial purposes.
In the VII century the city entered in the orbit of the near Greek colony of Selinunte.
The Selinunte period was characterized by a period of great urban development and a huge expansion of the city.
In 406 B.C. Mazara passed under the domination of Segesta that defeated Selinunte thanks to the alliance with the Carthaginians guided by Hannibal.
The Roman domination began at the end of the Second Punic war and it is witnessed by many findings: sarcophagi, funerary urns, funerary gravestones, mosaics and Roman villas.
The Roman period lasted until the occupation of the Vandals and the Goths and, after, of Byzantines (about 535 A.C.) that marked a period of social and cultural decay of the city.
Following the arrival of the Arabs in Sicily, the island was divided in three circumscriptions: Val di Mazara (the widest), Val Demone and Val di Noto.
Mazara knew a period of demographic growth under the Arab domination and became the second city of the Vallo, after Palermo, with thirty thousand people.
The city became also an important juridical and commercial center and the agriculture developed thanks to the citrus fruits cultivation and the new irrigation techniques.
The mark left by the Arabs on the urban design is mainly visible in the street configuration of the old town center, commonly known as Casbah and characterized by an intricate labyrinth of back alley and narrow streets.
In 1072 the city went under the hands of the Normans of Roger I of Hauteville and the diocese of Mazara was created.
Roger I enclosed the urban space with strong perimeter fences, built an elegant castle and an amazing cathedral to strengthen the Catholic religion.
The symbol of Mazara reminds the most important realizations made by the Normans.
In 1075 the Arabs took back the power but they were quickly chased away by the Norman counter-offensive and the heroic deeds of the leader Mokarta (an important square is dedicated to him).
After the Norman domination, Mazara knew a period of decay under the kingdom of Frederick II of Swabia: the agricultural and port production decreased dramatically.
When Frederick II died, the crown passed to Charles I d’Anjou who became king of Sicily in 1266.
The Angevin period was followed the Aragonian one marked by a period of political and economic decay.
Following the treat of Utrecht in 1713, Mazara del vallo and Sicily passed in the hands of the Savoy who reigned for only five years.
In 1718 the Spanish tried to invade Mazara but they were defeated by the advance of Austrians.
After sixteen years of Austrian dependence, Charles I of Bourbon assembled Sicily and Naples, defeating the Austrian in the battle of Bitonto in 1734.
During the Bourbon domination the economy of Mazara grew consistently.
Mazara del Vallo is nowadays the first fishing port of Italy and the second of Europe.
In 2010 the city has been recognized by the Regional Department of Economic Development and Tourism as a city of tourism and art.