Patti, Province of Messina, Sicily, Italy
Unfortunately a number of earthquakes and landslides started its decadence, until it was finally destroyed by Muslim pirates in 836 AD. Its survivors dispersed in the area, and a number of them founded a new site, located on the high ground overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in the present Gulf of Patti and called it "Epì Akten" (=on high banks) which name then changed into Patti.
The place was mentioned in 1104 AD, when COunt Roger of Altavilla established a monastery in Patti, probably on the spot of a previous Byzanthine building. After Roger's death his widowed wife Adelaide of Monferrat remarried Baldwin of France, but her unhappy second marriage led her to take refuge in the monastery of Patti, where she died in 1117 and was buried in the Cathedral.
The town grew in importance under the Normans and was again a bishop's seat, and rose again also after the terrible pillage of Tunisian pirate Barbarossa in 1544. After the Battle of Lepanto, which brought to a halt the pirate raids in the Mediterranean, the population started to move to lower areas, and formed the borough of Patti Marina, which became a flourishing export harbor of local ceramics throughout the Mediterranean.
What to see
- The cathedral, of Norman origin but rebuilt in the 18th century, preserves the Renaissance sarcophagus in the transept to the right which is the resting place of Queen Adelaide, the mother of Roger II, and a fine 16th-century painting of the Virgin by Antonello de Saliba.
- The ruins of Tyndaris, including a basilica, a theater, a lavish Roman Villa of the Late Empire with mosaics and baths, against the wonderful background of the sea.