Tindari in Sicily has at its center a beautiful sanctuary dedicated to the Black Madonna, but it is also surrounded by legends and stories to be rediscovered.
Sicily always gives emotions. It does so with its brilliant beaches and the hinterland, which can be discovered on a trip out of town with a high rate of adventure. But this region is also a land of volcanoes, with Etna that snorts and fascinates adults and children. Among the various pearls that can be visited on a tour of the island, from Cefalù to Taormina, there is also a small jewel that moves halfway between the spirituality and the folklore of the legends that surround it: Tindari in Sicily. Tindari is a small fraction of Patti, in the province of Messina, known above all for the beautiful Sanctuary of the Black Madonna which every year is a destination for faithful and pilgrims. Let’s discover together the stories and legends that revolve around this mystical place, which overlooks the blue sea of Sicily and a tongue of land with a curiously human shape.
In this article
Tindari in Sicily, what to see and what to do with children
The hamlet of Tindari is located on a beautiful promontory of the Nebrodi Mountains, in Sicily, with a spectacular view of the sea. At the foot of the promontory there is a much loved nature reserve, where you can also visit the archaeological park of the ancient city of Tindari where you can still see the walls and the ancient amphitheater. But the real attraction of Tindari is its Sanctuary, which since 2018 is also the Papal Basilica: named after the “Matri ‘u Tinnaru”, as the devotees call it in dialect, it has at its center the beautiful statue of the Black Madonna in cedar wood with the baby in her arms. The past of Tindari is its great pride: founded by Dionysus of Syracuse, it was once called Tyndaris after the king of Sparta.
Children will be fascinated by the position of the Sanctuary, which is located on top of the promontory overlooking the sea. But most of all they will not believe their eyes when they will be able to observe, looking out towards the blue, the strange tongue of sand that looks like the profile of a woman, around which many local legends revolve. The beach of Tindari is a destination, in summer, also for swimmers: it is called a locality Marinello and look towards the Sanctuary from another (and privileged) point of view.
The sanctuary of Tindari
Legends about the Sanctuary of Tindari and the Black Madonna
The legend of the cave and the sorceress
One of the legends that revolve around Tindari is linked to a cave located near the beach of Marinello, under the promontory where the Sanctuary rests. It is said that in this cave once lived a cruel sorceress, who lured the sailors to be able to eat them. In the cave you can still see holes in the walls: it is said that they were the marks of the sorceress’s fingers, when in anger she hit the walls of the cave if the sailors managed to escape her clutches.
The tongue of land
There are also many legends about the tongue of land that can be seen from the view of the Basilica. The most famous is that a little girl, playing on the edge of the promontory, fell down on the beach, which did not exist before that moment. Found safe and sound after the fall, the locals began to think that the miraculous appearance of the tongue of land was the work of the Madonna, whose features for many also resume. From that moment, it is said, the Black Virgin began to cause miracles and conversions in all those who still did not believe. And the children, looking out over the Sicilian sea, will be able to recognize the sweet profile of a woman in that strip of beach that appeared centuries ago as if by magic.
Disclaimer: some places and attractions mentioned in the article may be closed or have undergone time changes due to the Covid-19 emergency. Always consult reference sites to check before traveling with children. Our intent is to reveal hidden places in Italy, villages and unknown places to travel in the vicinity when it can be done more lightly. This is why we will continue to give advice on families who can’t wait to start over!