The city of Marsala had a population of about 86,000 until the end of 1970, when Petrosino, a village formerly part of Marsala, decided to become a self-governing town after a local referendum.

The area of Marsala is classified as a seismic zone 2 (medium). In the last 200 years three earthquakes of medium-high intensity were recorded:

In 241 BC the city was given to the Romans as part of the peace treaty ending the First Punic War and then became one of the most important cities in Sicily.

The city walls were abandoned in the 4th c. AD as shown by buildings erected over or beside the walls.

The development of Marsala wine at the end of the 18th century, headed by English merchants settled in Sicily, considerably improved local trade. This triggered an economic expansion in Marsala, including the funding of infrastructure projects such as the current harbour of Margitello.

Several fragments of the city walls and floors and walls of public and private buildings are visible. Excavations in several places under the modern city have revealed rich mosaic floors in town houses.