Hidden Gems of Italy: The Sanctuary of Tindari


Perle nascoste d’Italia: Il Santuario di Tindari

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Have you ever heard of the ‘Madonna Nera’? The magnificent Sanctuary of Tindari in northern Sicily houses a particular depiction of the Virgin Mary: a Byzantine wooden statue originating from the East that portrays a black Madonna.

The sanctuary stands in a spectacular position almost 300 meters high on a promontory with a panoramic view of the entire coast of Patti, a popular seaside resort near Messina, part of the vast area of ​​the Nebrodi mountains.

The current building stands on the ruins of a pre-existing church destroyed by pirates; it was rebuilt in the 16th century in Baroque style and enlarged in the second part of the 20th century.

Tindari is an evocative place whose origins seem to go back to the ancient Greek acropolis of Tyndaris, whose remains can be seen in the adjacent Archaeological Area of ​​Tindari.

The legend revolving around the Black Madonna make Tindari a popular pilgrimage destination.

The origins of the Byzantine statue are linked to a legend that says the statue arrived via a ship from the East during a period of iconoclastic persecution; the ship was forced by a storm to take refuge in the bay of Tindari. The statue was in a trunk in the hold of the boat.

When the storm subsided, the ship was not able to depart due to its excessive load. Thus the sailors decided to lighten the weight by abandoning the trunk with the statue in the water. The locals recovered the trunk and, after opening it, discovered the marvelous Byzantine statue made of cedar wood depicting the Madonna holding baby Jesus in her arms. The icon was taken to the highest hill in the area, where a Christian community already existed. That was the beginning of the cult of the Black Madonna of Tindari.

The black Madonna is honored every year on September 7, when numerous pilgrims gather in Tindari to attend solemn celebrations.


Hai mai sentito parlare della ‘Madonna Nera’? Il magnifico Santuario di Tindari nella Sicilia settentrionale custodisce una particolare raffigurazione della Vergine Maria: una statua lignea bizantina originaria dell'Oriente che ritrae una Madonna nera.   Il santuario sorge in una posizione spettacolare a quasi 300 metri di altezza su un promontorio con vista panoramica sull'intero litorale di Patti, rinomata località balneare del messinese, facente parte della vasta area dei monti Nebr

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