|Comune di Giardini Naxos|
Bay of Giardini Naxos at sunrise
|Province||Province of Messina (ME)|
|• Mayor||Nello Lo Turco (since May 2010)|
|• Total||5 km2 (2 sq mi)|
|Elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Density||2,000/km2 (5,100/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||Maria SS. Raccomandata|
|Saint day||september 8|
Giardini Naxos (Sicilian: Giaddini) is a comune in the Province of Messina on the island of Sicily in Italy. It is situated on the coast of the Ionian Sea on a bay which lies between Cape Taormina and Cape Schisò. Since the 1970s it has become a popular seaside-resort.
Founded by Thucles the Chalcidian in 734 BC, Naxos was never a powerful city, but its temple of Apollo Archegetes, protecting deity of all the Greek colonies, gave it prominence in religious affairs. Leontini and Catania were both colonized from here. Hippocrates, tyrant of Gela, captured it in 494 BC. Its opposition to Syracuse ultimately led to its capture and destruction in 403 BC at the hands of Dionysius the tyrant, after it had supported Athens during that city's disastrous Sicilian Expedition. Though the site continued to be inhabited, most activity shifted to neighbouring Tauromenium.
In 1544, following the raids by Turkish corsair, Barbarossa Kheir-ed-Din, several military buildings were constructed to protect Cape Schisò from the Barbary pirates who continued to attack and plunder the coastal villages. These were Schisò Castle which was rebuilt from an earlier 13th-century castle, Schisò fort, and Vignazza Tower. The latter is a quadrangular watchtower which served to patrol the coast south of Port Schisò; if any pirate boats were sighted, the observers inside the tower could alert the villagers and neighbouring watchtowers by sending out smoke signals. Vignazza Tower is located in the Recanati area of Giardini Naxos.
Prior to the early 1970s, Giardini Naxos was a quiet fishing village. Now it is a popular tourist destination, famous for its beaches, panoramic view of the bay and surrounding hills, and its small, but bustling fishing port. It attracts foreign visitors and Italians alike, many of whom own summer residences in the comune. The seafront is lined with hotels, smaller pensions, pubs, restaurants and pizzerias.
The public beaches and lidos are quite crowded in the months of July and August, especially around Ferragosto which occurs on 15 August and people celebrate this event by camping on the beach in tents and running into the sea at midnight for a swim with an accompanying display of fireworks. Lifeguards are provided by the comune and are posted at regular intervals along the beaches. Besides swimming and boating, there is plenty to do and see in Giardini Naxos. There are shops, discothèques, Karaoke bars, strolling musicians wearing traditional Sicilian costumes, live bands, theatrical productions, and impromptu dancing on the beaches at night.
The beautiful town of Taormina is situated in the hills above Giardini Naxos and can be easily accessed by car and bus. Giardini Naxos also has several churches and an archaeological park.
A view of Taormina from the bay of Giardini Naxos
Constructed upon a small hill formed by lava rock, Schisò Castle was rebuilt in the 16th century from an earlier, medieval structure. Its tower was used to keep watch for raiding corsairs.
- Sometimes spelled as Giardini-Naxos. However, the official form as used in the statuto comunale is not hyphenated.
- Official site (Italian)