|Amphoras from the Museo della Nave Punica. |
These amphoras are representative
of those used by Phoenicians for the transportation of goods.
They distinguished themselves not only as merchants and explorers, but through the spread of their written alphabet which is believed to be a precursor of the Greek, Roman, Aramaic and Hebrew alphabet.
Phoenician appeared on the western coast of Sicily sometime around 800 BCE because of Sicily's strategic position. The Mediterranean in antiquity was at the very heart of known civilization and Sicily was located in the heart of the Mediterranean.
The island of Motya was an ideal Phoenician outpost because the surrounding lagoon of Lo Stagnone offered a protected area that could be easily defended
Today Motya is an important archeological site. To visit Motya you can board a ferry for a short but very scenic 15 minute ride from the Salt Museum of Ettore Infersa at Lo Stagnone. Tickets are purchased at a stand adjacent to Mama Caura, a charming espresso bar /restaurant where you can sit and savor a gelato or granita or a glass of local wine. Above Mamma Caura, are apartments--bed and breakfast accommodations which can be booked on a weekly or daily basis. I am told by reliable sources that they are pricey but the views are priceless. If you happen to be there on August 15, the feast of Ferragosto, you can dance and eat and watch fireworks from Mamma Caura.
Among the Phoenicians' many legacies to the modern world, was their knowledge of viticulture or wine making which have survived to the present day. Several ancestral varieties of modern wine grapes in the Mediterranean are attributed to them. As you take your perch on the patio of Mamma Caura, to take in the natural beauty of the salt ponds and the lagoon, you can lift your glass the the impresarios of centuries past.
|Mamma Caura |
where the "traghetto" or ferry to Motya departs.
In the background is the salt museum and Lo Stagnone lagoon.
Ciao a presto!