What is now possible to visit inside the archaeological site of Tindari comes from the Roman period, a period of great development for the city, but there are also the remains of the classical era.
What is surprising is the harmony and perfection of the urban plan, consisting of a checkerboard, with major roads (decumani) cut at a right angle from the minor ones (hinges). The city walls are still well preserved, constituting in their entirety one of the longest city walls from the period still observable today in Sicily; together with the strategic position of the city, it made Tindari impregnable.
Among the buildings, many were private homes with a few shops, as well as a thermal plant, an indispensable construction for the Romans, where it is still possible to see the mosaics on the floors.
The Shrine of the Black Madonna
In a dominant position, in the place which was the agora of ancient Tyndaris, the shrine of Our Lady of Tindari attracts pilgrims from all over Sicily and becomes a very crowded place in September, during which the Black Madonna is celebrated.
The gleaming building was completed in 1979 with a basilica, divided into three aisles. On the walls are mosaics, while the wooden statue of the Virgin Mary is located behind the main altar with clear Byzantine features.
The statue mysteriously arrived on the coast of Tindari. From the square of the Sanctuary, the panorama opens up to the view of the Aeolian Islands.
The Sea in Tindari
Tindari is ideal for those who want to spend a few days at sea: the beautiful beaches and the crystal clear waters have some of the most beautiful seaside resorts of Sicily, which are less crowded than other resorts.
Just below the town there is one of the most beautiful bays: with alternating beaches, dunes, lagoons and reefs, at the foot of the promontory which houses the Shrine of Tindari.
Nearby you can visit other beautiful seaside resorts a few kilometers from Tindari: Cape Calava Capo d’Orlando and Milazzo.
Historical Background of Tindari
The historical writings on the story of ancient Tindari are scarce, but new excavation projects could enrich the knowledge of the place.
The ancient Tyndaris was founded by Syracuse in 396 BC who built an outpost as a symbol of classical civilization on a high cape on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Passing under the influence of Carthage, in the waters off the coast of Tindari there was one of the most magnificent naval wars of antiquity; the Roman troops defeated the Carthaginians and prepared the invasion of Sicily.
It was under the Empire that Tindari experienced its period of greatest splendor, thanks to the privileges bestowed by Rome in recognition of its loyalty. Several catastrophic events followed that undermined the livelihoods of the islanders: a landslide in the first century AD caused enormous damage to a part of town, while two centuries later; earthquakes were to put a strain on the village of Tindari.
By the power of the Arabs it was finally destroyed and no longer inhabited. During the Byzantine period came the arrival of the miraculous Black Madonna from the east, today it is a source of pilgrimage for thousands of believers.