The picturesque little seaside village of Marzamemi – located on Sicily’s eastern coast – is a popular holiday destination still with a local atmosphere, and perfect for aperitivo. We stayed there in the middle of September, after the busy tourist season, and found a good mix of calmness and liveliness.
Vibes and mood in Marzamemi
Marzamemi has a big flow of local and foreign tourists, coming to visit the sandy beach and have dinner next to the Ionian sea while watching the sunset.
The fishing village offers a wide selection of restaurants and open-air bars. Places with street food and Michelin recommended places. The prices are in general higher than the rest of the country. Maybe because of its popularity and the location.
In the weekend locals from around the country come to visit and the city is filled with a happy and energetic vibe.
We rented a house on Airbnb, located a bit away from the center, it’s a small town, so it was 10 min. walk away, and it had a garden. The location was great, as it was during the weekend and the city was packed with people, music, cars. The typical Sicilian outgoing and sociable atmosphere – which can be a bit too noisy for me sometimes.
The best about Marzamemi
- The months of September – November, and March-May is a perfect time to visit.
- During the daytime, the city is quiet, but still, there is a lot of cafes open to choose from, as well as shops and restaurants.
- The sandy beach is a short stroll from the city center, and also very quiet.
- A playground for kids is placed perfectly in front of three cafes where you can get food and good coffee, and apparently, one of Sicily’s best places to get granita; the cafe called Caffe al Ciclope 2. Our local friends recommended us the place, which we otherwise hadn’t gone to, as it doesn’t appear very charming. But our friends were right, the almond and coffee granite are Really good.
- In the evening almost all the restaurants around the square and the harbor offers aperitivo.
Aperitivo time in Marzamemi
The concept of aperitivo originates from northern Italy, which is also where we were introduced to it. Read more about that here.
Aperitivo is perfect if you travel with a toddler, as the restaurants in Italy usually are closed from siesta until 8 pm. You might not always be able to go for dinner with a kid at the time…
Then aperitivo might be your answer: You buy a drink–beer, wine, non-alcoholic, or an Aperol Spritz. With your drink, you are served a plate of antipasti, which consist mostly of finger foods, perfect for a kid. The plate can be vegetarian also.
Some of the places serve a bigger plate of aperitivo than others and some offer a buffet. We would order three plates and were all satisfied. It was great to be able to sit at a restaurant, in the early evening and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
Piazza Regina Margherita
We had aperitivo at Calamarò Porto di Mare, the first evening, with a view of the harbor and the sun setting in the background. Another evening we tried the open air bar and restaurant Principino on the main square of the town, Piazza Regina Margherita.
The charming square is the center of the town. In the evening, kids play soccer in the corner and people hang out talking till late. Here is also a selection of restaurants with seatings in the square. The most popular is probably: Taverna La Cialoma, which is also mentioned in the Michelin guide. The upscale restaurant Cortile Arabo in the corner of the square offers the best sunset and sea view, on their quiet seaside terrace on the other side of the building.
Returning to our house, to put Sixten to bed, we would continue our evening at the garden. For us, it’s essential to book accommodation with a balcony/terrace or garden because Sixten is way too curious to fall asleep when we are outside, and he can hear things are happening. So we like to have a place to live where we can still enjoy the evenings sitting outside after tucking him to bed.
Day Trip to Syracuse
Close to Marzamemi lies Syracuse. A historic city, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and boasting a rich culture of Greek, Roman and Baroque history, architecture, and amphitheaters. The city is beautiful, especially on the scenic and relaxed island Ortigia. The island is small enough to walk all the way around, it has a great market and along the coast, there are small beaches.
We had lunch at the place called Carnezzeria, right in the market on Ortigia. Fresh swordfish grilled right next to us. Fresh taste, with just sea salt and olive oil, at remarkable prices.
Find Carnezzeria at Via Emanuele de Benedictis 29.
Getting to and from Marzamemi
A car is actually essential to visit Marzamemi, as no local buses frequent the village. With a car, it’s about 50 min. drive from Syracuse and 30 min. from Noto. If staying in Syracuse it is easy to do a day trip to the fishing village. There’s plenty of parking facilities around the village (around 3€ for an evening).
Just 30 min, drive south and you will be in Portopalo di Capo Passero, where our favorite restaurant is located, Gruppo Scala. It’s also mentioned in the Michelin guide, and if you like seafood this place is where you should go! Read more about Portopalo and Scala here.