Excavations - Giardini Naxos, Sicily

Giardini Naxos Escavations

Giardini Naxos is a crowd-pleasing town at the foot bed of Taormina, on the north-eastern coast of Sicily. It is a very popular resort for both national and international tourists alike, attracting an important number of people for both its culture and beaches. The word Giardini is from 'gardens', named after the citrus groves in the region. The famous museum and excavations of ancient Naxos are not to be overlooked, as they have an interesting cultural impact on this side of the island.

In the area of excavations, the ruins of the ancient walls are still standing strong and visible facing the seaside. The walls had a tremendous structure to them for blocking the impact of possible floods from the Santa Venera river. Look further into depth and you can spot the rectangular altars and temples that were decorated with sphinxes and gorgons. 

This cultural attraction is environmentally rich with both green and dry areas. If you look north west you can spot a ton of mountains all clinging on, one after another. 

Just as important as walking the ancient grounds is the Naxos Museum. The premise houses a vast collection of material from the excavations. The remains are organised and divided into several different sections: Prehistoric, Byzantine, Mythological, collection from the cult of Silenoi and more. Painted bowls, amphorae of wine produced in Naxos, coins from the region and decorations on the roofs of temples can be appreciated. Unfortunately, most of the information panels in the museum are only in Italian, and some of the information boards are rather tatty and faded. The best thing to do is take a guidebook to understand everything. You wouldn't want to miss any details, being this the site of the first Greek settlement in Sicily.

After a tour of this historic phenomenon, we decided to cool off in the Bay of Naxos. For both climate and services, it is considered one of the best spots for sunbathing as it has one of the longest coastline in Sicily and the views are stunning beautiful!

Prickly Pear Cactus, same you can find at Santorini, Greece. Giardini Naxos is the site of the first Greek settlement in Sicily.

Prickly Pear Cactus, same you can find at Santorini, Greece. Giardini Naxos is the site of the first Greek settlement in Sicily.

The Archaeological Park at Giardini Naxos has beautiful surroundings. Skirt around the kilns and leave the sacred precinct by its northern entrance (or propylaeum – traces of which are still visible) to emerge onto plateia B. Follow this broad avenue some distance while surveying the way in which the separate units or blocks are disposed into the greater 5th century BC urban scheme; the crossroads are marked with identical quadrangular stones, which, possibly, once served as bases to altars. At stenopos 6, turn left towards the museum; on the left, level with stenopos 11, are the remains of a small temple from the 7th century BC.

The Archaeological Park at Giardini Naxos has beautiful surroundings. Skirt around the kilns and leave the sacred precinct by its northern entrance (or propylaeum – traces of which are still visible) to emerge onto plateia B. Follow this broad avenue some distance while surveying the way in which the separate units or blocks are disposed into the greater 5th century BC urban scheme; the crossroads are marked with identical quadrangular stones, which, possibly, once served as bases to altars. At stenopos 6, turn left towards the museum; on the left, level with stenopos 11, are the remains of a small temple from the 7th century BC.

The site of the archeological museum in Giardini-Naxos contains many excavations of previous settlements. Since the 5th century BC, Naxos was a major objective for aspiring empire-builders, notably Hippocrates of Gela and, later, Hieron of Syracuse who, in 476, evicted the inhabitants of Naxos and deported them to Leontinoi. Eventually, the support offered by Naxos to the Athenian expedition against Syracuse (415 BC) led to the demise of the city; in 403 BC Dionysus the Great razed it to the ground leaving the few survived exiles to found Tauromenion, what is now the enchanting Taormina.

The site of the archeological museum in Giardini-Naxos contains many excavations of previous settlements. Since the 5th century BC, Naxos was a major objective for aspiring empire-builders, notably Hippocrates of Gela and, later, Hieron of Syracuse who, in 476, evicted the inhabitants of Naxos and deported them to Leontinoi. Eventually, the support offered by Naxos to the Athenian expedition against Syracuse (415 BC) led to the demise of the city; in 403 BC Dionysus the Great razed it to the ground leaving the few survived exiles to found Tauromenion, what is now the enchanting Taormina.

Giardini Naxos was founded around 734 BC by Chalcidian colonizers led by Theocles, at Capo Schisò, a promontory formed originally as a consequence of a great lava flow. It is the oldest Greek colony in Sicily or so it is commonly claimed.

Giardini Naxos was founded around 734 BC by Chalcidian colonizers led by Theocles, at Capo Schisò, a promontory formed originally as a consequence of a great lava flow. It is the oldest Greek colony in Sicily or so it is commonly claimed.