The “nobilissima civitas” of Tindari

tindari

In a small promontory on the Tyrrhenian Sea, near Patti (a small town in Messina), is Tindari.

The nature that frames the inhabited village is particular and unique. In the lower part of the the hill we find the Marinello beach which widens and narrows, influenced by the tides. Not far from the crystalline waters, on a ridge, there is a cave which, according to a legend, was inhabited by a sorceress who vented her anger by sinking her fingers into the rocks and the numerous holes present are connected to this.

The birth of Tindari is ancient: it became a Greek colony in 396 BC, is built according to the will of Dionisio I and takes its name from Tindaro, king of Sparta.

In 256 BC, during the battle of Tindarys, the Romans conquered the territory sanctioning the end of Carthaginian hegemony. It become a Roman colony in 36 BC and Cicerone describes it as a “nobilissima civitas“.

Its appearance changes in 535 becoming a majestic Byzantine seat, completely destroyed in the 836 by the Arabs.

Walking through the narrow streets, at the highest point of the promontory, the old seat of the acropolis, stands the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Tindari. Inside, carved in cedar wood, is a very peculiar black Virgin seated on a throne with the Child in her lap. At the foot of the statue there is an inscription, based on “Il Cantico dei cantici”, that say “Nigra sum sed formosa” and justifies the particular artistic and stylistic choice that makes it amazing. According to maritime and Catholic traditions, the Virgin or “Matri ‘u tinnaru” is celebrated between 7 and 8 September.

The ancient city is enclosed in an archaeological area that is still well preserved. The city walls, dating back to the 3rd century BC, extend for almost 3 km in a double sandstone curtain.

The majestic Greek Theater of Tindari, however, dates back to the 4th century BC. It exploits the large basin in the hill, its audience can accommodate more than 3000 spectators. In Roman times it was modified in order to host the Amphitheater games.

Tindari was the muse of some writers: Andrea Camilleri sets an adventure of Montalbano in this land. “The trip to Tindari” is also one of the most famous episodes of the homonymous television series. It is a happy childhood place for Salvatore Quasimodo who in “Wind in Tindari” remembers it with homesickness and sadness.

Myth, culture, art and scenic beauty make this small village unique and picturesque, a must for those traveling near the Tyrrhenian coast.

Martina Spampinato


Taormina

This town located in the province of Messina, it’s certainly one of the visit you should do if you are in Sicily. Taormina is famous because of its position on a hill overlooking the sea with Mount Etna in the background. The village is truly characteristic, with several monuments and a beautiful municipal villa.

Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian Islands are a volcanic archipelago part of the Messina province, north Sicily.

They have become , over the years, one of the main tourist destinations of the island.  The main islands of the archipelago are: Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Stromboli, and Vulcano. The last two have a living vulcano inside. Surely one of the destinations to consider if you visit Sicily.

Alcantara Canyon

This natural canyon is located between the villages of Castiglione di Sicilia and Camastra, in the province of Messina. The Alcantara Gorges have a height of 25 meters and a width ranging from 2 to 5 meters. In the middle of the lava stone flows the Alcantara river. These gorges were born from the lava flows that made this place an unique visit for natural lovers.

San Giovanni di Malta Church

The church that we see today dates back to the 16th century, but from the original structure it only remains one part. In fact, the first construction of the San Giovanni di Malta church can be traced back to the 6th century. During centuries, the church has survived natural disasters, specially earthquakes that hit the Sicilian island. It was completely rebuilt on 1588 after several centuries of damages. Although the structure has held up, little is left of what probably was one of the most representative monuments of that period.

Zanca Palace

The town hall palace was rebuilt after the 1908 earthquake, but its location in the urban structure is very old. In fact, it first construction can be traced back to the 17th century during the Spanish domination. 

Palazzo Zanca Messina.

Vittorio Emanuele II Theater

It’s the main theatre of the city of Messina. It was built in the 19th century by Ferdinando II of Bourbon orders. It was designed by Pietro Valente. The first name of the theater was Sant’Elisabetta but it changed to Vittorio Emanuele Theater after the unification of Italy. The theater suffered several damages during the 1908 earthquake. after that it was restructured and enlarged.

Orione Fountain

This excellent monument is from the 16th century. It was built by the sculptor Giovanni Angelo Montorsoli (1507 – 1563), one of the most famous student of Michelangelo, to commemorate the construction of the first aqueduct of the city of Messina. When the fountain was complete, to make room for it, the ancient medieval church of San Lorenzo was demolished. The fountain is dedicated to Orion, the giant that according to tradition founded Messina.

San Giuliano Church

This religious building carries a very ancient story with it. The first time it was built was during the 14th century, after that it suffered several destructions and different reconstructions. The actual structure we find now in Messina is the result of the 20th century reconstruction of the church.

Montevergine Church

The construction of this religious building dates back to the 15th century. The church is located in the ancient Via dei Monasteri today known as  Via XXIV Maggio, one of the main streets in Messina city since the Greeks.