Motya was an ancient and powerful Phoenician city on San Pantaleo Island.  Many of the city's impressive ancient monuments have been excavated and can be admired today.

The city, founded at the end of the 8th century BC, soon became one of the most important Phoenician colonies; thanks to its proximity to Africa it was one of the first obligatory transit routes towards Spain, Sardinia and Central Italy.The Phoenicians traded with the Greek colonies present in Sicily, but not all their contacts were of a friendly nature, and a series of battles and wars eventually culminated in the destruction of Motya by Dionysius of Syracuse in 397 BC.

During the Middle Ages, Basilian monks settled on the island and renamed it San Pantaleo.

Fragments of the walls, with those of two gateways, still exist, and coins as well as pieces of ancient brick and pottery were found scattered throughout the island.

The island of Mozia is owned and operated by the Whitaker Foundation (Palermo), famous for Marsala wines. Tours are available for the small museum, and the well-preserved ruins of a crossroads civilisation: in addition to the cultures mentioned above, Motian artifacts display Egyptian, Corinthian, Attic, Roman, Punic and Hellenic influences. The Tophet, a type of cemetery for the cremated remains of children, possibly (but not entirely proven) as sacrifice to Tanit or Ba‘al Hammon, is also well known. Many of the ancient residences are open to the public, with guided tours in English and Italian.



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Unnamed Road, Marsala, Italy
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Founded: 8th century BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Julia Zagar (9 months ago)
A short charming boat ride to this interesting island is one of those hidden gems we read about. On the island is a small but perfectly formed museum, which houses the incredibly beautiful “Youth of Mozia” statue amongst other interesting artefacts. Some of the rooms are almost museum pieces themselves. The rest of island (give yourself a good hour to wander) is dotted with ruins and excavations. There is even a little cafe serving drinks but not food.
Russ Rush (17 months ago)
Very interesting place, lots of historical facts from different eras.
Witold Kepinski (3 years ago)
On the tiny Mozia island off the western coast of Sicily ?? is the Giuseppe Whitaker Museum, which houses a magnificent collection of Phoenician artefacts collected by amateur archaeologist Joseph ‘Giuseppe’ Whitaker. Motya was an ancient and powerful city. Motya has become known recently for the marble statue of the Motya Charioteer.
MadIccy (4 years ago)
Another of Sicily's hugely important historical sites, massively worth the boat trip and certainly worth spending the time to walk around the island. The museum has featured on TV due to the importance of several of the finds on the island. One part that I particularly like is that to the north what looks like a causeway is actually the remains of a Phoenician Road.
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