Giardini Naxos

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The beach on which the first Greek colonists probably landed 2700 years ago, closely followed by Syracuse and Leontinoi. It flourished, thanks to the strategic position dominating the straits, but in 403 BC Dionysius of Syracuse, while extending his power over the island, send an army to destroy Naxos, possibily in fear of a revolt because of the inhabitants’ good relations with the sicels. In the Middle Agesit became a town of fishermen and lemon-growers. From this bay, Garbaldi, with two steamboats and 4.200 men, set out on his victorious campaign against the 30.000 Bourbon troops on the Aspromonte in Calabria, 19th August 1860.

Now accomodates thousands of tourists. They are drawn to the charming position, the particularly mild climate, the long beach and the splendid scenery. The seaside attractions only add to the archaeological lustre.

The bronze statue of Silenus is part of the thread that links Giardini Naxos to its ancient origins. This work was executed by master Domenico Tudisco in 1984. According to Greek mythology, Silenus was the god of the woods and wild nature. He was the son of Pan. He had a humsn appearance with horse’s tall and ears. Silenus was constantly drunk and spent his time running after nymphs, assuming obscene attitudes. He invented some musical instruments and, when someone was able to catch him, revealed important secrets by amazing tales.
When he grew old he brought up Dionysius who had a role in procession during the festivities and the harvest.
In the coinage of Naxos which started about 530 BC and was probably the most ancient of the Greek colonies in Sicily, the figures of Dionysius and Silenus were largely represented. In the most ancient ezample of the image of Dionysius, patron of the cultivations and wine, a bunch of grapes represents the fertility of the soil and the vineyards which supported Naxos. Silenus, symbol of fertility, replaced the bunch of grapes and was always impressed on Maxos coins until the destruction of the city in 403 BC.
The wine production of this area went on in the Roman period too, and some amphorae found at the excavations of Pompei and painted in black, show that they came from Tauromenium, today Taormina, founded by Andromaco and the Naxos exiles in 358 BC.

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