The Sicily tour of “Tindari and Cefalù” begins at the hotel were you will be picked up and be met by the driver who will drive you through the whole tour. It is a scenic tour along the Tyrrhenian coast of Sicily, starting from Tindari, founded in 396 AC, by Dionysius of Syracuse. Tindari is part of the town of Patti. It was conquered by different populations and destroyed by the Arabs in 836. Today you can admire the ancient remains of the city walls, a residential center and a Greek-Roman Theater which still host performances of music, dance and theater. At the base of the cape there is a sandy area with a series of small ponds that the shape changes depending on the movement of the sand, driven by the tides. The beach is known as Marinello or “Dry Sea”. At the eastern end of the promontory, overlooking the sea and in correspondence of the ancient Acropolis is the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna of Tindari hosting the Byzantine Black Virgin, a wooden statue of the Madonna and child. The devotion of the Black Madonna does not have historical origins, however there is a pious tradition with a precise historical background that we can certainly accept. According to tradition, a ship returning from the Orient, there was a image hidden of the Madonna because it was removed from the Iconoclastic persecution. While the ship plowed the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea, a storm suddenly arose, which forced to cut short the trip and take refuge in the bay of Tindari. When the storm calmed down the sailors decided to resume the journey, they began to rise the anchor, hoisted the sails and began to row but the ship failed to move. They tried and tried again but nothing, it seemed as if they were stranded in the harbor. They then thought to lighten the ship and unloaded few crates, in one crate it contained the venerated image of the Virgin, to their amaze the ship began to move and they continued their journey. It is unknown the origins and destination of the sacred image. Other sailors of the Bay of Tindari immediately pulled the crate to dry land and opened it, to their astonishment they found the precious Image of the Virgin. There arose the problem where to place it. So they decided to carry the statue to the highest place, so Tindari, where for some time it was a Christian community. The tradition of the arrival of the statue of the Virgin was at the time of the iconoclast about the end of the eighth century early decades of the ninth century. It is the motive of credibility the fact that Tindari was the domination of the Byzantines for about three centuries (535-836) that Sicily strongly opposed to the heresy of the Iconoclasts. Tindari for about five centuries had the seat of the diocese, a thriving profession of the Christian faith and therefore the acceptance of the scared Image. This hypothesis, as well as in the historical context, still finds some consistency in an unbroken tradition almost unanimous. The hill of Tindari is suggestive and sanctified by the presence of the Virgin Mary called Black Madonna of Tindari and became sacred. The statue was carved in the orient about the 5th century in the period of the Council of Ephesus. Many of thousands of people have gone before the merciful Virgin and had a smile and grace. Black Madonna of Tindari sits behind the alter with the inscription “nigro sum sed Formosa” (black am I, but beautiful). At the foot of the rock face, nestle the Laghetti di Marinello (visible from the terrace before the church); these consist of small rock pools caught when the sea floods the sandy bay. According to legend, these pools came into existence to save a little girl who otherwise would have fallen to her death from the top of the headland because of her faithless mother (unable to believe in a Black Virgin); she was saved when the sea miraculously withdrew to leave a soft landing pad of sand that cushioned her fall. In 1982, one of the rock pools assumed the profile of a veiled woman identified by the local people as the Madonna of the Sanctuary. The rock pools are accessible on foot from the beaches of Oliveri.
We then continue to Cefalù. Corso Ruggero, is the main road which follows the old Roman decuman and bisects the city, from north to south. The two zones created are morphologically different, to the west lies the medieval quarter, with narrow streets, steps, arches and narrow passages, where poorer people stayed and in the east regular perpendicular street where nobility and clergy people stayed. The Catherdral (Il Duomo), the gold colored Romanesque stone which merges with the limestone cliff called La Rocca. The building was built between 1131 and 1240 following a vote of the Norman King Roger II who was on the verge of sinking back from Naples. His obvious character is primarily expressed in the façade framed by two towers and high apse flanked by smaller ones. Osteria Magno, the legendary residence of King Ruggero (Roger), then belong to the Ventimiglia family, which consists of two parts from different eras. The oldest part is colored in lava stone and gold that overlooks Via Amendola and enriched by two elegant mullioned windows dating from the late 200. The Church of Purgatorio (S. Stefano Protomartire) whose façade is characterized by Baroque , preceded by a fine stairway. As soon as you enter there is the sarcophagus of Barone Mandralisca. We then return our journey back to the hotel after this beautiful day.