In front of the piece of coast
which unites Trapani with Marsala, in the Western part of
Sicily, there are a group of islands which form part of the
Stagnone: a coastal lagoon where one can visit the remains
of the Phoenician city of Mozia, founded in the 8th Century
BC, for commercial control on the Western coast.
The lagoon is a natural regional reservoir and can only be
visited by boat, by which one can also reach the other two
islands: La Scuola and the Santa Maria.
From the Phoenician-Roman period, the coast experienced a
lowering, which caused a submersion of its ancient road which
once joined it to the coast.
The Phoenician City was conquered and destroyed by Dionysius
II of Syracuse in 397 BC, but was immediately re-conquered
by the Phoenicians the following year. The inhabitants escaped
and founded Lilibeo, today’s Marsala, and Mozia slowly
lost its importance.
In 241 BC, the Battle of the Egadi Islands and the defeat
of the Carthaginians, ended the First Punic War and sanctioned
the handover of Sicily to the Romans.
Mozia was practically forgotten until the end of the Norman
era, when the island was given to the Basiliani (Basilican)
Monks from Palermo, who gave it the name of San Pantaleo.
Its modern history began in the 18th Century with the first
identification of the island with ancient Mozia and the first
digs during the 19th Century.
But it was the archaeologist, Joseph Whitaker who, after having
bought the whole island, undertook and organised the digs,
bringing to light the archaeological jewellery of Mozia: the
Case dei Mosaici (House of Mosaics) and that of Amphora, the
Phoenician-Punic Sanctuary with its open ceiling known as
Tofet and that of Cappiddazzu, the Porta Nord (North Port)
area, from which the artificial road linking to the mainland
Mozia was a fortified city with walls interrupted by quadrangular
towers (5th Century BC), which can still be seen today along