Teatro antico di Taormina

The Park

The archaeological site of the ancient city of Naxos (now Archaeological Park of Naxos) extends south of the modern center of Giardini Naxos. It occupies the promontory of Schisò in South of Taormina and includes an area of about 40 hectares between the stream Santa Venera to the west and the wide bay to the east once the port of the colony.

Naxos is the first Greek colony of Sicily, founded in the second half of the VIII century B.C. from Calcidesi of the Eubea and from Nassi from the homonym Naxos of the Cicladi.

In the depth of a section of the plateia A, the maximum road axis of the city of the fifth century BC, are in light the remains of 13 housing of the late eighth century BC. Most of them are rectangular dwellings, one of them complete (House 5). Of the archaic city are partially visible fortifications built around the middle of the sixth century BC along the left bank of the stream Santa Venera, in polygonal cyclopean technique, and the sanctuary dedicated to Hera or Aphrodite in the southwestern corner of the city. High walls delimit the sacred fence Temenos within which are present a altar of processional type and two furnaces.




Around 476/5 B.C. the citizens of Naxos together with those of Katane were expelled and concentrated in Leontinoi by Hieron, tyrant of Siracusa. The Naxians could return in the city only after the death of Ierone in 467/6 a.C. and the successive fall of the tyranny.
Archaeological data confirm the disquiet of these years: the planting of the classic city with grid plan was preceded by the systematic destruction of the archaic buildings and the previous urban plant dating back to the middle of the seventh century BC. Naxos as an Ionian city was in the fifth century BC allied to Atene from the very beginning of Peace of Gela del 424 a.C. (Thuc.4.65.1-2).



Peloponnese War

Alongside Leontinoi and Katane, it supported Athens in its campaign against Syracuse In 415-413 B.C. (Thuc.6.20.3). For this reason the walls and houses of Naxos were razed in 403 BC by Dionysius I of Syracuse (Diod. Sic. 14.15.2), after Athens was defeated in the Peloponnese War. Only the fortifications of the city, some sacred precincts remained intact; even the monumental complex of the naval arsenal or neoria escaped destruction and was merely inserted into the new urban design.

Of the city razed to the ground have been brought to light the three wide road axes (plateiai A, B e C) crossing the urban space in an east-west direction, cut at regular intervals by narrower north-south streets Stenopoi. The long blocks consist of spacious homes with a central courtyard. In the south-eastern corner of each road junction is preserved a quadrangular base with possible function of altar.

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