The Museum and Archeological Area of Naxos
The site of the ancient city of Naxos (now the Archaeological Park) extends south of the modern center of Giardini Naxos. It occupies the promontory of Schisò south of Taormina and covers an area of about 40 hectares between the Santa Venera stream to the west and the wide bay to the east, once the colony's port.
Naxos is the first Greek colony of Sicily, founded in the second half of the eighth century BC. from Calcidesi of Euboea and from Nassi from the homonymous Naxos of the Cyclades. The Museum, the first stop on the itinerary of the visit that winds through the urban area, was built in correspondence with Capo Schisò, exploiting the space of a Bourbon fortress which in turn had incorporated a late sixteenth-century tower guarding the entrance to the port. The exhibition, on two floors, follows a chronological and topographical criterion, offering a significant sampling of the many artifacts found in the excavations conducted for over fifty years.
On the ground floor there is first of all a small nucleus of materials of particular interest, purchased in Taormina by Paolo Orsi or donated to him or coming from research conducted by him: the funerary objects of the second half of the eighth century BC. from Cocolonazzo di Mola, effective evidence of the encounter between Greek colonists and local populations (the Sicilians) or the utensils from a closet from the late Bronze Age from Malvagna. The ground floor room is then entirely dedicated to prehistoric finds and to the earliest moment of life of the colony, with ceramics found in the town (cups, mugs, plates, hydriai amphorae, deinoi) and in the necropolis (vases for ointments, cups) , ceramics imported from Greece, but above all produced locally in imitation of the Greek types.
The two rooms on the upper floor illustrate in an exhaustive way the sacred areas (urban and extra-urban), the archaic and classical inhabited area, the naval arsenal, the necropolis (from the 5th century to the 3rd century BC), the craft activities, and the Byzantine phase of the site's life.
Among the many artifacts on display are the architectural cladding slabs of sacred buildings and the antefixes with a Silenic and Gorgonic mask, decorative elements of the roofs placed at the ends of the tiles, whose production, albeit with different types, has developed from the last decades of VI up to the whole of V BC confirming the spread of the cult of Dionysus in Naxos, whose divine image characterizes the coinage of the colony since the first issues.