The bay – The bay of Patti
stretches from Capo Calavà to Capo Milazzo, which juts out
into the sea like a sickle. The broad sweep of beach which stretches
along the ample width of the bay – a favorite haunt of sun-seekers
– is briefly interrupted halfway by Capo Tindari, which is
topped by its sanctuary.
Patti – Patti is a small town
in the hinterland extending down to the sea at Marina di Patti,
where remnants of a Roman villa have recently been discovered. The
old part of the town still retains its medieval network of narrow
streets spanned by arches and clustered around the cathedral.
Patti was elevated to a bishopric
by King Roger in 1131 and nominated a royal town by Frederick of
Aragon in 1312. It was granted the title of magnanima (generous)
by Charles V for its making a generous tribute to the crown. Very
little remains of the glorious past of the city, mainly due to major
earthquakes – one in 1693 particularly devastating –
that have ravaged the town.
The present Cathedral, with a finely
restored 1400’s doorway, dates from the 18th century. The
small clusters of columns which flank the main entrance are graced
with magnificent capitals, typical of the late-Romanesque. Inside
stands the sarcophagus of Queen Adelasia (in the right transept),
wife of Roger I, which is a 1500’s reproduction of the 1118’s
On the north side of the city, beside
the river Montagnareale, is the Porta San Michele, the only surviving
fragment of the Aragonese defensive walls, and the small church
of Saint Michael, preserving a fine marble ciborium by Antonio Gagini
(1538), featuring a group of angels flanked by St. Agatha and Mary
Villa Romana di Patti – Situated
in proximity to the underpass of the highway. The large Imperial
Roman villa was discovered during construction work on the highway.
The complex is arranged around a peristyle with a columned portico
leading to various rooms, one of which is with three apses, paved
with mosaic featuring geometric motifs and depictions of domestic
and wild animals. There would also have been baths on the east side
of the house.
Laghetti di Marinello – So
are called pools of water left by the tide on the wide sandy strip
below Capo Tindari, some of which harbouring a rich variety of aquatic
plants. The area is home to a rich fauna, comprised of gulls and
migratory species including the grebes, coots and little egrets.
These pools can be reached on foot (about 30 minutes) from Oliveri.
The beaches tails off into a glorious bay of clear blue water. In
the summer, this is a real paradise for bathers, although the beach
is rarely crowded (it is strongly recommended not to bathe in the
actual pools, since the water is stagnant).
Villa Romana di Terme Vigliatore
– In the district of San Biagio. This luxury suburban residence,
dating from the 1st century AD, has not been excavated fully. It
comprises the actual residential quarters, on the left, and, on
the right, a small bath complex reserved for the owners of the villa
and their guests. To the left, is a square peristylum, with eight
columns down each side (only partially excavated). Opposite is a
large tablinum (archive room) with an opus sectile floor made up
of black and white stone pieces laid in geometric patterns, surrounded
with a marble tile border. To the left are the kitchen, which is
next to the tablinum, and the bedrooms.
The private baths (to the right
of the site entrance), extended in two different phases, are the
most attractive part of the complex. First there is the semicircular
bath, to the left of which is the frigidaium paved with a fine black
and white mosaic depicting a boat with two oarsmen and a fisherman
(with a line). Around the central panel, are dolphins (at the four
corners) and a sword-fish above. The heating system of the various
sections of the baths is also clearly visible.