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Tindari is one of the last Greek colonies, founded in 396 B.C. by Dionysus I, tyrant of Syracuse, as fort and military outpost, it was dedicated to Castor and Polluce, the Leda and Tindaro's sons; this last one probably gave the name to the town. In 264 B.C. the Carthaginians led by Hannibal occupied the town; ten years later the Romans took it but the end of its age was due to an earth-fall first, then to an earthquake around 365 A.D., and at last, to the Arabian devastation in 836 A.D.
Under the Norman rule, Tindari declined forever. In 1904, in fact, Rogers D'Altavilla founded the Benedictine monastery of the SS. Salvatore in Patti; starting point for the foundation of the bishopric (1122), ignoring Tindari because of it was bound to the Byzantine tradition. In 1544 Ariadeno Barbarossa destroyed the Sanctuary of Tindari, saving the figure of the Brown Madonna.
In 1719 the inhabitants held out and killed more than a hundred hussars belonging to the General Mercy's troops. The beauty of Tindari lives today through its remains. The Greek theatre was built by the Greeks in the V century B.C. with some sandstone blocks, and later the Romans adapted it to the circensian games: the Agora (I century B.C.) with three big parallel arteries (decumani), perpendicularly intersected by different narrow roads (cardines), the arcaded agora, over which, into the highest zone there was the sacral acropolis of the town; the remains of two houses (I century B.C.) of peristyle type with the tablinium; the thermae made of a court, a frigidarium with a bathtub, two tepidari, a calidarium; the monumental propylaea with four arches was built by the Romans with some big sandstones and destined to become a Basilica for the public meetings, or a Gymnasium for sports trainings; the remains of the Cyclopean walls, built by Dionysus; a tower (XVI-XVII cent.) near the theatre.
Inside the Antiquarium, set at the entrance of the excavations, there are the marble statues of some togated personalities, a head oh the Emperor August, a Corinthian capital, some ceramics of the Bronze Age, some roman oil-lamps of the republican-imperial Age, some working tools and many historical remains found here.
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