Giardini Naxos (september 2024)

Giardini Naxos[3] (SicilianGiaddiniEnglish translation: Naxos Gardens) is a comune in the Metropolitan City of Messina on the island of Sicily in southern Italy. It is situated on the coast of the Ionian Sea on a bay which lies between Cape Taormina and Cape Schisò. Since the 1970s it has become a seaside-resort, a popular tourist destination and cruise ship stop.

History

Port of Giardini Naxos with the date of its founding as a Greek colony written on the mole.

Founded by Thucles the Chalcidian in 734 BC in Magna Graecia, Naxos was never a powerful city, but its temple of Apollo Archegetes, protecting deity of all the Greek colonies, gave it prominence in religious affairs. Leontini and Catania were both colonized from here. Hippocrates, tyrant of Gela, captured it in 494 BC. Its opposition to Syracuse ultimately led to its capture and destruction in 403 BC at the hands of Dionysius the tyrant, after it had supported Athens during that city’s disastrous Sicilian Expedition. Though the site continued to be inhabited, most activity shifted to neighbouring Tauromenium.

In 1544, following the raids by corsairKheir-ed-Din, several military buildings were constructed to protect Cape Schisò from the Barbary pirates who continued to attack and plunder the coastal villages. These were Schisò Castle, which was rebuilt from an earlier 13th-century castle, Schisò fort, and Vignazza Tower. The latter is a quadrangular watchtower which served to patrol the coast south of Port Schisò; if any pirate boats were sighted, the observers inside the tower could alert the villagers and neighbouring watchtowers by sending out smoke signals. Vignazza Tower is located in the Recanati area of Giardini Naxos.

Vignazza Tower, a watchtower built in 1544 to patrol the coast against raids by Barbary pirates

Economy

Prior to the early 1970s, Giardini Naxos was a quiet fishing village. Now it is a tourist destination, its attractions including beaches, the panoramic view of the bay and surrounding hills, and its small fishing port. A larger port services the cruise ships which arrive regularly. It attracts foreign visitors and Italians alike, many of whom own summer residences in the comune. The seafront is lined with hotels, smaller pensions, pubs, lidos, restaurants and discos.

Fishing is still part of the local economy.

The town of Taormina is situated in the hills above Giardini Naxos and can be easily accessed by car and bus. Giardini Naxos also has several churches and an archaeological park.

Jaaneta Beach, a popular summer disco club located on Cape Schisó

References

  1. ^ “Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011”. Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ “Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018”. Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ Sometimes spelled as Giardini-Naxos. However, the official form as used in the statuto comunale Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine is not hyphenated.

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