The Ruins of Tindari, Sicily

Amphitheater in Tindari, Sicily on FlickrWe’ve visited the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna in Tindari, and now it’s time to tour the ruins.

Tindari, ancient Tyndaris, is about 60 km from Messina and sits above the Tyrrhenian Sea with views of the Gulf of Patti and the Cape of Milazzo, a fabulous strategic position to control the waters between the Aeolian Islands and Messina back when there where pirates and whatnot.

Tyndaris was originally settled in 1500 B.C. but Dionysius I of Syracuse turned the settlement into a full-fledged Greek city in 396 B.C.

Tindari then came under control of the Romans in 254 B.C., after which most of the Greek infrastructure was modified or simply built over to accommodate the prospering city.

Other major events in the city’s history include an earthquake in 365 A.D., a landslide at the end of the 1st century A.D., and the construction of the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna sometime before the Saracens invaded the city in the 9th century.

By the 19th century, Tindari was abandoned, leaving behind only the Sanctuary and the ruins. Ready to see what’s left?

Here is the Greek amphitheater built in the 4th century B.C. and later modified by the Romans:

Amphitheater in Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

This once hosted some spectacular gladiator battles, but now it is home to the Tindari Estate (Summer) Festival. From late July through the third week of August, the old theater is full of life with poetry, music, dance, and play performances.

Incidentally, over the years, the theater was disassembled to make city walls, some of which are still in place; this is the walk up to the ruins with some of the old stones visible on the lower left:

Road to the ruins, Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

The site also contains the remains of an old basilica that, again, was erected by the Greeks in the 4th century B.C. but has been modified over the years, and even partially restored quite recently.

Basilica at Tindari, Sicily

And then there’s everything else–remains of baths, houses, schools, and other buildings.

Ruins at Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

Check out these columns.

Columns at Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

And the mosaics–can’t forget the mosaics.

Mosaic at Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

Here is the Sicilian symbol “Trinacria.”

Trinacria mosaic, Tindari, Sicily

There are also animal mosaics–a fabulous bull and goat if you’re interested.

The complex also houses an Antiquarium–a museum that stores some of the treasures found at the site:

Lion rescued from ruins, Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

Doesn’t he remind you of my muse, Leonardo?

I could’ve spent *much* more time here, absolutely enveloped in peace and calm. The natural surroundings here are just amazing:

Ruins at Tindari, Sicily at Flickr

Ruins at Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

Between the ruins, the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna, and the gorgeous scenery, Tindari is simply a must-stop if you’re traveling through this part of Sicily.

Bring a picnic lunch and allowing yourself plenty of time to daydream.

Ruins at Tindari, Sicily on Flickr

Check out my Sicily 2008 Flickr collection for lots more photos of Tindari!

32 Beans of Wisdom to “The Ruins of Tindari, Sicily”
  1. 03.18.2008

    How cool would it be to see a play in a 254 B.C. amphitheater! (I’d have to bring a cushion, though, because I know how much those stones hurt after a while). Nice tour!

    Homebody at Heart’s last blog post..San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

    Hah, yes, a cushion would definitely be necessary!

  2. 03.18.2008

    Beautiful…just B*E*A*U*T*I*F*U*L!!!

    Giulia’s last blog post..Palm Sunday 2008

    SΓ¬ Giulia, La Sicilia Γ¨ bellissima πŸ™‚

  3. Gil

    Another thank you to you. I believe that my daughter took us to the same ruins Easter weekend when my wife & I visited her while she was studying in Florence.

    Truly my pleasure Gil–Palermo is next!

  4. 03.18.2008

    Thanks for sharing the photos – those mosaics look very cool. I’m going to Sicily in June πŸ™‚

    Secret Italy’s last blog post..Backstreet parking, Rome

    Lucky you! Thanks for stopping by; I hope you get to Tindari while you’re in Sicily πŸ™‚

  5. 03.18.2008

    Wow, that place looks so peaceful. And it would be so cool to go see something in that old amphitheater, wouldn’t it? I’m so enjoying the Sicily pics.

    kacey’s last blog post..Really Happy Person

    Especially lovely in late February when there were so few tourists πŸ™‚

  6. 03.18.2008

    My first attempt to comment got munched so here goes again… Looks like you had the perfect weather to soak up that ancient ambiance. For some reason, I find that I find that Trinacria symbol especially intriguing. Great post!

    mentalmosaic’s last blog post..Foxy Guys Cooking & Nerdy Inside Jokes with the Universe

    So sorry about the comment eating; guess my blog was hungry this morning πŸ˜‰ Anyway I thought the symbol was pretty cool too–obviously it’s been around for a *long* time…not that I doubted it, of course!

  7. 03.18.2008

    You have to admit there is something about seeing a place like that “off season”. Completely silent and deserted like everyone just left a while ago (not thousands of years ago). The first time I saw Pompeii, it was like that. I’ll have to stop at Tindari the next time I’m in Sicily. After all I don’t need to see Agrigento again. Hmmm.


    Jeff’s last blog post..Movin on is tough….

    So true Jeff–off-season is definitely a treat. I was at Pompeii in late September, which should be at least a little off-season and yet it was packed. I’d love to go back when I have to time to wander in peace πŸ˜‰

  8. 03.18.2008

    My son would SO love this – he loves anything Roman.

    jen of a2eatwrite’s last blog post..Music Monday – “Stop! In the Name of Love” – Diana Ross and the Supremes

    Bring him over Jen πŸ™‚

  9. 03.18.2008

    Wow. I am always so moved by the rich history of these places. It’s spectacular! I think touring a home here built in 1785 is amazing but holy cow, it’s just a wee baby in comparison!

    Dory’s last blog post..Ewww …. it looks like WHAT?

    It’s definitely a unique experience for those of us who don’t come from Europe, I think πŸ™‚

  10. 03.18.2008

    Remember me?
    We met on Nablopomo, and I kind of lost you again! But I have added your blog in my Google reader, because it seems to me that I have been missing out on a lot of beautiful posts! Your pictures are gorgeous and the food is to die for! Besides, I love Italy!
    See you!

    Jientje’s last blog post..I’m taking a day off …

    Yes! I’m so happy you’ve found me again! You remind me that I have to go back to my NaBlo page and check out how my friends are πŸ™‚

  11. 03.18.2008

    Wonderful post Michelle. I will add it to my growing list of “places I want to visit in the next two years”

    Beatriz’s last blog post..Cooking 201 with DeeAnn

    I definitely agree with your choice πŸ™‚

  12. 03.18.2008

    Oh, so beautiful!! I agree, a picnic lunch would be perfect there. Not your average tourist attraction…looks like you had peace and quiet. I so love the Roman amphitheater and the mosaics πŸ™‚

    My Melange’s last blog post..Love your dog

    One of the things I love most about southern Italy is the uniqueness of the tourist attractions πŸ™‚

  13. 03.18.2008

    Nice recap! It WAS a beautiful day, wasn’t it?

    You forgot to tell them about the nuts! The food and the men! πŸ™‚

    Cherrye’s last blog post..Grabbing a Whopper

    Well I have to leave you *something* πŸ˜‰

  14. one word….bellissima!!!

    nyc/caribbean ragazza’s last blog post..Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano, I’ll Steal You Away by Niccolo Ammaniti

    Grazie πŸ™‚

  15. 03.18.2008

    So beautiful! I love the mixture of the old ruins with the colors of nature. I really could see settling down for a picnic around there!

    Karina’s last blog post..Where I’m From

    The colors were really amazing, yes. Glad you enjoyed!

  16. 03.18.2008

    I think I need at least a year for my next vacay to Italy!

    Geggie’s last blog post..Books Books Books and FREE BOOKS

    Start planning Geggie!

  17. 03.18.2008

    Awesome, absolutely awesome! I know I will never in my lifetime be able to visit Italy and by your little trips and the fantastic photos plus writing about each place, you allow me to visit and see through your eyes. It’s a great journey you have been on and hauling me around with you to give me such an opportunity to see these sights. Keep the posts and beautiful pictures coming!

    Jeni Hill Ertmer’s last blog post..Send EARPLUGS! PLEASE!!!

    Jeni it is truly my pleasure to bring you along with me on my travels. More photos and stories on the way, I assure you πŸ™‚

  18. 03.18.2008

    your photos are beautiful! One of the things about Europe that I love the most is how the ruins are right there in the middle of modern civilization. We tend to destroy things and then rebuilt on top of things here. And LA is even worse…they have no real sense of history – they’ll tear down anything to build a strip mall or a condo complex.

    LA Blogger Gal’s last blog post..BlogHer: I Do Believe I’ll Be There!

    So true LA Blogger Gal–in fact, construction is often halted here b/c another relic/ruin is found…an amazing respect for history and culture πŸ™‚

  19. 03.18.2008

    Fabulous photos, Michelle! I felt like I could just step right into them. Such a lovely location.


    Christina Arbini’s last blog post..Are There Nuts In This?

    Ah, wouldn’t stepping into photos be awesome? I think that may be my answer the next time a meme goes around about having superpowers….

  20. 03.18.2008

    Your photos are really lovely – the colours are so vibrant!

    Leanne’s last blog post..Southern Italian Etiquette Part 1

    Thanks Leanne πŸ™‚

  21. 03.18.2008

    those pics are breathtaking. the colors look so crisp and unique set against one another. you had truly wonderful lighting while taking them…..really beautiful!

    Eryn’s last blog post..Weekend Activities

    It really did end up being a gorgeous day despite some early clouds πŸ™‚

  22. 03.19.2008

    Really pretty. The amphitheater is gorgeous. I could imagine picnicing and listening to a concert there. Lovely!

    cheeky’s last blog post..Something is better than nothing

    Would be so lovely, wouldn’t it?

  23. 03.19.2008

    The pictures are great; I particularly liked the ones of the columns, as the columns themselves are clearly, visibly brick/stone mortared together, which means at some point they were probably faced with something, to save a bit of money (unlike, say, the Pantheon, which has enormous monolithic granite columns that were brought from Egypt, or even Taormina, which I think has marble drums forming the columns). Which also indicates that even back in the day, this was a relatively small outpost. So, so, so cool. Thanks for sharing the pictures; I love nerding out thinking about things like that. Sorry to drone.

    Meg’s last blog post..Hard Round Things: Pizza and Hockey Pucks

    Yes, nerd on! I love it! Thanks so much for this info–I love knowing these kinds of things too πŸ™‚

  24. 03.19.2008

    I love ruins. I especially like that next to last shot…I wish I was sitting there right now!

    softdrink’s last blog post..Scribbling the Cat

    Me too softdrink, me too πŸ˜‰

  25. 03.19.2008

    What beautiful pictures!!!! I miss Sicily so much. I wish I could go back it’s been 24 years. I was 18 and that was a summer I’ll never forget.
    Now, I’m raising my daughter and we work hard just to keep up with the JONESES! One day…I still have Sicily in my dreams.

    LUCY’s last blog post..Monday’s Sunrise Posted a Day Late

    Oh Lucy, I hope you do get back…it probably hasn’t changed very much πŸ˜‰

  26. 03.19.2008

    I have just loved these Sicily posts! The pics are gorgeous, I feel like I was there too!

    Jessica in Rome’s last blog post..My Fair Verona…

    Glad you enjoying them Jessica; still more to come!

  27. 03.23.2008

    The amphitheater makes me sit and stare in awe. What amazing pictures you have here. I dream to go to these places. Thank you for sharing them with us. We’re lucky to see it through your eyes!

    Val’s last blog post..Happy Spring, Happy Linky-love, Happy Winnings!

    So happy you enjoyed the photos Val! Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  28. 03.24.2008

    Love the pictures and I love that you’re exploring. I feel like I’m there too!!

    After living in Arizona, I find it so weird to see cactus other places – especially Italy and Sicily – I had NO idea you had them over there!

    Salena’s last blog post..What It’s Like To Bee Watched By More Than Twelve Million Eyes

    I was pretty surprised the first time I saw them here myself–and yes, we have ’em in Calabria too πŸ™‚

  29. audra

    oh gosh, i looooooove the trinacria symbol!

    I think I knew that πŸ˜‰

  30. 09.24.2011

    Love the pictures, I didn’t get to see the amphitheater, but made it to the sand bar that has the legend of the black madonna. Not as well known as other parts of Sicily, but Tindari is a must see if you are nearby.

    Larry Aiello

    michelle Reply:

    Agreed! Would be a shame to be so close and miss it πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming by!

  1. [...] Italian, knitted with a loom, wrote 50,000 words in a month, visited Palermo, Messina, Savoca and Tindar...
Michelle FabioMichelle Fabio is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savoring simplicity one sip at a time. 

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