Pozzallo is the only town in the province of Ragusa bordering the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Geographically, it is located on the southern coast of Sicily, north-east of Malta, which is only 54 miles away. It overlooks a wide bay that, from Raganzino end, reaches the sandy shoreline of Marza.
The etymology of the name Pozzallo comes from the term “Pausis-Alòs” (meaning a dock near the sea). Under the Arab rule it became “Marsa as deramini”, ie port of the dromons (ships used by Saracens), then, this was followed by “Possalo”, “The Puzzallu”, “U Puzzaddu” and finally the current form of “Pozzallo” that dates back to the seventeenth century and means “well by the sea. “The name comes, in fact, from the many freshwater wells which were situated in this place, from which the passing sailing ships used to supply.
Its historical importance began towards the end of the fourteenth century, with the construction, by the Chiaramonte family, Counts of Modica, of a “Caricatore”, a complex of warehouses, right on the coast, with docks and ramps for the loading of goods on sailing ships: carobs, olives and wheat were shipped from Pozzallo to the farthest Mediterranean ports. With the “Caricatore”, Pozzallo became one of the most active ports in the island, and, for its importance, it was considered as the second important “Caricatore” of Sicily.
In order to defend the “Caricatore”, from the pirate sailing ships which, at that time, often sought to attack and rob its stores, in the early fifteenth century, Alfonso V of Aragon authorized the request of Count Giovanni Bernardo Cabrera, to build a tower, high enough for the sighting of enemies arriving from the sea. Near the tower, the first urban centre started to develop . First, it was a village dependent from the town of Modica, inhabited only by fishermen and soldiers, then, on June 12th, 1829 by an Act of Francis I of Bourbon, King of the Two Sicilies, it became an independent municipality.
The town is also well known to be the birthplace of Giorgio La Pira, one of the fathers of the Italian Constitution, the “saint and mayor” of Florence who employed his spiritual and physical energies at the service of humanity.
Pozzallo, today, has over 19,000 inhabitants. Its economy is based on agriculture and fishing and, in recent years, especially on tourism, thanks to its beautiful sandy beaches, the clear blue sea and a mild climate which covers most of the year.
Defined as a ” terrace-town on the Mediterranean,” Pozzallo has been, since 2002, among the prize-winners of the Blue Flag of the FEE, an important national acknowledgement for the quality of the sea, services, facilities and hospitality of seaside resorts.