Monte Melluso

The Gioiosa Guardia Archaeological Area refers to an indigenous Hellenised centre, located in an exceptional strategic position, identified in the 1980s on a terrace on the eastern slopes of Mount Melluso (825 m above sea level). The site was already inhabited during the Final Bronze Age-Iron Age (12th-8th century B.C.), with oval huts, but the Archaic-Classical Greek phase (late 7th-5th century B.C.) is more extensively documented, when the settlement was organised with houses with several rooms, spread out along the slope in an east-west direction, bordered by narrow streets.


The violent destruction of the Greek settlement at the end of the 5th century B.C., by an earthquake or because of Carthage's expansionist policy, was followed by the planting of a group of tombs dating from the 4th century B.C., testifying to the continuity of the site's occupation. In the 11th century, after a long period of abandonment, the terrace occupied by the ancient settlement became a fief of the Benedictine Convent of Patti, and in the 18th century the Church of San Francesco was built, with an adjoining convent, the ruins of which are still visible.


A selection of the materials found at the site is exhibited in the: Antiquarium at the former Library of Gioiosa Marea, in Via Umberto I.

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