Marzamemi, a place for the soul
In 1824, English hydrographer William Henry Smyth described Marzamemi, a small hamlet in the municipality of Pachino, Syracuse, as
a small filthy village, which, during the fishing season, is strewed with the blood and intestines of the tuna.
Smyth went on writing,
as the people, however, are industrious, this Tonnara is one of the most profitable in Sicily […]. The port, defended by a miserable tower-battery, is very small and shallow, with two low islets off it, affording but sufficient room for a few trading beats.
Almost one hundred years later, this is how Jules Brown describes the location in his 2014 “Rough Guide to Sicily”:
Marzamemi, prettily set around a crescent harbor backed by the port’s old ‘tonnara’. The village is still renowned for its tuna dishes, and is home to a film festival in late July, showing international contemporary and vintage films in open-air venues. Behind the shell of a church and ‘palazzo’, the restored ‘tonnara’ square shelters bars and restaurants that come into their own in high summer, when tourists descend on the village in droves.
Finally, Marzamemi was the filming location of Gabriele Salvatores’s 1993 movie “South”, and the Academy Award-winning director called it
A place for the soul. The deepest part of Southern Italy, Magna Grecia.