TINDARI (district of Patti)
Tindari is a small hamlet in Patti. It is home to one of Sicily’s most worshipped Shrines. Many pilgrims arrive every day in Tindari, especially on the days of the celebration of the Madonna Bruna (7 and 8 September). In Tindari we also find one of the most important and interesting archaeological sites of Sicily. Together with 11 other sites, it is part of the Tindari Archaeological Park.
The Acropolis of the ancient polis stood on a hill. After the Pirates destroyed the Greek city, the Black Madonna Sanctuary was built. The Basilica dates back to the 16th century and is in Baroque style. It has a Christian cross plan, and three naves divide the structure, while large decorated windows illuminate the interior. The Sanctuary houses the famous wooden statue of oriental origin depicting the Black Madonna.
His cult originates from a legend set during the iconoclastic persecution. Some sailors escaping from the East had the image of the Madonna hidden in the hold of their ship. They ran aground on the shore at the foot of the Promontory of Tindari. Since they could not get away, they decided to get rid of the cargo. The sailors of Tindari found the sacred image abandoned on the beach, and they decided to take it to the top of the hill.
We proceed along the road from the Sanctuary Square and leap back in time. We are in the oldest part of the settlement of Tyndaris. The Syracusan tyrant Dionysius the Elder founded the town in the 4th century BC, at the end of the First Punic War. Probably the city was probably into three decumanus. We walk along the ancient walls. Their purpose was to protect the city, and more or less, they were about 3 km long. A series of stone arches connected them, and some of the old gates are still visible.
In the Roman insula, one can see the remains of tabernae from the Roman period. We can also visit two houses. In one of them, there are still parts of the mosaic floors. The Greek-Roman Theatre (3rd-2nd century BC) is a fascinating part to see. It is surrounded by Mediterranean scrub, among maritime pines and prickly pears. The theatre preserves the remains of a beautiful arena carved into the hillside.
From here, the view overlooks the Aeolian Islands and Capo Milazzo.
The theatre steps are large stones where people used to sit. It is still possible to take a seat there and, in summer, attend cultural events, theatre shows and concerts. The Tindari Festival is one of the most popular events of the Sicilian summer season. Another eagerly awaited event is the Indiegeno Fest, a music festival that aims to seal the bond between the Sicilian land and music.
Some famous verses by Quasimodo described these evocative spaces: the same sky, land and sea remain unchanged over the centuries.
Weather permitting, it is possible to paraglide from Tindari, enjoying an incredible and exciting experience.
On the eastern side of the headland, there is an imposing cliff. It overlooks a wide beach that encloses three small brackish lakes. This is the Laghetti di Marinello Oriented Nature Reserve. Here we find a delicate ecosystem that provides a magnificent setting for trekkers and lovers of unspoilt nature. This area is also famous thanks to the episode “Gita a Tindari” from the series Il Commissario Montalbano. The beaches of San Saba and Giampilieri are just a few dozen metres from the Tindari lakes. Here it is possible to practice Naturism.
The Coda di Volpe panoramic trekking trail begins in Via Monsignor Pullano. It joins the Marinello lagoon to the Sanctuary. Climbing among prickly pears and broom, you can enjoy a spectacular view. Here the landscape is stunning. It ranges from the enchanting Gulf of Patti to the Aeolian Islands and Capo Milazzo.
The beautiful caves of Mongiove are also part of the Reserve. White rock falls sheer into the sea. The water is crystal clear, and stacks and coves hide behind Capo Tindari. There is also a very crowded equipped beach here. Once we have passed it, we find a fantastic exclusive place. The beach is just for us. Fig trees line the shore; we will see caves such as the famous Donna Villa, a natural arch and rocks. In front of us is the unforgettable landscape of the Aeolian Islands.
Monte Giove shelters the fishing village. In summer this area fills up with tourists looking for tranquillity, beautiful sea and good food. It is also a great starting point to take the motorway and explore nearby towns, such as Capo D’Orlando and Milazzo. From there, we can then set sail for the Aeolian Islands. Or we can choose to explore “alternative” and fascinating routes.