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Casa Cifali

  • Writer's pictureMassimo

The first Greek colonies in Sicily Naxos

Looking out from one of the many sights that characterize the city of Taormina, you'll definitely find unique scenery as many writers have described. One of the many things that make it special is undoubtedly the bay of Giardini Naxos, and it is this town that today I want to speak to you about. This small strip of land that runs along the Ionian Sea with its small port forms this pretty bay, its shoulders green mountains that descend down to the sea. At night this small fishing village seen from Taormina with its warm, flickering lights that are reflected in the water creates a unique sight for all of us, making us stand open-mouthed in front of such splendor.

In the placement of Giardini-Naxos, near Cape Schisò, in 734 BC settlers founded one of the first Greek colonies in Sicily. The new colony was given the name of Naxos as the homonymous island in the Aegean Sea. Although it remained a center of modest dimensions, it retained its symbolic value, since an altar was erected in honor of Apollo Archegetes, and was the starting point of the Greek ambassadors to return to the motherland.

During the Peloponnesian war Naxos sided with Athens, but when in 413 BC a military Athenian expedition to Sicily failed, the Syracusan tyrant Dionysius the Elder razed the town and built on the height above it Tauromenion (Taormina). The land was donated to the Siculi and the inhabitants were sold as slaves.

Among the things to do in Giardini Naxos apart along the sea there is the Schisò Castle that overlooks the Giardini Naxos Bay, built at the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Constructed in its current form on a rocky spur formed by a lava flow of prehistoric age, the Schisò name comes from the Arabic words, Al Qusus, which means breast or chest and identifies the two volcanoes on which rest the foundations. The formations are visible from the front elevation. Among other things we have to see is the Naxos Archaeological Park.

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