Patti Tourist Attractions
LocationThe diocesan town of Patti lies on the eastern part of the north coast, between Cefalù and Milazzo, on a terrace above the Gulf of Patti with a view of the Lipari Islands.
It developed from a Benedictine priory founded by Roger I in 1094 and has links with an important historical personage: Roger's third wife Adelasia of Montferrat, whose sarcophagus stands in the cathedral.HistoryWe meet Adalasia again in San Fratello, which had been founded by her Lombard army in the 11th century. Following the death of the Gran Conte Roger I on first January 1101 she took over the regency for her six-year-old son Roger II until he attained his majority in 1112 at the age of seventeen. In that same year 1112 she was courted by the King of the Crusaders Balduin I who had ruled since 110, even though he was still legally married to an Armenian princess living in Constantinople; he sought Adelasia's hand not solely because of her wealth but also because Norman Sicily was so important politically. As a countermove, marriage to Balduin would give Adelasia the rank of queen. The marriage contract was negotiated in 1113, when Adelasia made it a condition that, if the union produced no children, the crown of Jerusalem would pass to her son Roger II. Quoting Runciman - "In the summer of 1113 the countess sailed from Sicily with a splendor such as had not been seen since Cleopatra sailed for Kydnos to fetch Mark Anthony. In her galley, its bows decorated in gold and silver, she rested on a carpet worked in gold". Nine more ships carried her Arab bodyguard and her personal treasures.Only four years later, however, in 1117, after he had spent her rich dowry, Balduin had the marriage annulled. Adelasia "devoid of all her riches and almost without any entourage, sailed back to Sicily filled with anger" (Runciman). In 1118, the year when Balduin also died, she died in Patti and was buried here. Later she was re-interred in a Renaissance sarcophagus, which stands in the right transept of Patti Cathedral.
In recent years Patti has become noted for other reasons. When building the motorway the ruins of a Late Roman villa were discovered between the road and the rail station, to the east of the Montagnareale River. It is richly adorned with mosaics and dates from about the same time as the Villa Casale near Piazza Armerina, and is even larger, covering an area of 20,000sq.m/24,000sq.yd. The villa was buried in an earthquake in the 10th-11th centuries. The main building consisted of a large peristyle, or columned courtyard, and two rooms. The floors are covered in mosaics made by artists from North Africa. Parts of a complex of thermal baths have also been excavated; they are still being uncovered and restored. When it is finally opened to the public this site promises to be one of the principal places of interest in Sicily.
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