History of Mozia

At the northwestern tip of Sicily, almost in front of Marsala, the sea forms a lagoon called Stagnone. The island of San Pantaleo, site of the Phoenician colony of Motya, stands in the middle of the lagoon.

The old city, founded in late VIII century B.C., met the typical requirements of many of the phoenician settlements: a little island close the coast surrounded by shallow sea, able to defend itself from hostile attacks and to offer a safe berthing for ships.

Mozia quickly became one of the most thriving phoenician colonies of the Mediterranean because it was an obliged transit point for trade routes to Spain, Sardinia and central Italy.


The Greek presence in Sicily caused wars that, with ups and downs, eventually led to the destruction of Mozia in 397 B.C. at the hands of Dionysus of Syracuse. After that, survivors moved to the Sicilian coast founding Lilybaeum, present-day Marsala.

The island didn’t remain entirely uninhabited as confirmed by the numerous archaeological evidence. 

The most significant findings of the archaeological excavations of Mozia are displayed in the little museum created therein by Giuseppe Whitaker, enthusiastic scholar of natural science, history and archaeology who bought the island in the early 1900s and carried out the first systemic studies.

The important impetus for knowledge and enhancement of archaeological heritage of Mozia, is due to this illustrious member of an English wealthy family with industries and trade in Sicily.


Discover Mozia

Click/tap on the points on the map to learn more

Map of the island

mappa Mozia
Museo WhitakerAbitato: Zona ATofetNecropoliZona industrialeCappiddazzuStrada MarinaPorta NordTorre orientaleFortificazioniCasa dei mosaiciCasermettaPorta SudKothonAbitato zona KZona industrialeAbitato zona centraleAbitato zona DAbitato zona BPorta di Nord OvestTempio del KothonAbitato zona E

Whitaker Museum

The museum of Mozia, entitled to Giuseppe Whitaker, is located in a building that was his residence on the island. It includes artifacts from historical Whitaker Collection and from the excavations carried out by the Superintendence of Western Sicily (later Superintendence of Trapani), La Sapienza university in Rome, University of Leeds, University of Palermo, the C.N.R. and University of Bologna.

Residential area 'Zone A'

Large residential block of Mozia. Other three are located to the North, South and West. It’s called House of the amphorae because of the artifacts found there.


Open air sanctuary where the remains of human and animal sacrifices were placed (end of the VIII-IV cent. B.C.).


Incineration and inhumation in stone sarcophagi were both used (end of the VII-VI cent. B.C.)

Industrial area

District characterized by the presence of furnaces for the production of vases and possibly places for tanning and dyeing fabrics.


Large temple with a tripartite plan. The deity that was worshipped is unknown.

Sea Street

The street that across the Stagnone connected Mozia to the Sicilian coast started from the North Gate (VI-V cent. B.C.).

North Gate

Along with the South Gate, it was the main entrance to the city. It has two massive projecting bastions dated to V cent. B.C.

Eastern Tower

The staircase leans on a tower of the last phase of construction of fortifications (V cent. B.C.).


First ring of walls was built in the mid-sixth century B.C. Later it underwent restructuring and reinforcing, latest of them at the end of the V cent. B.C.

House of Mosaics

Residential complex characterized by a colonnaded portico with floor decorated with white and black pebble mosaic. Panels represent single animals.


Building leaned on one of the towers of the city wall.

South Gate

Building leaned on one of the towers of the city wall.


A water basin connected to the Temple and fed by freshwater springs.

Residential area 'Zone K'

The place where the statue of the Young man of Mozia was found, visible inside the Museum.

Industrial area

District characterized by the presence of furnaces for the production of vases and possibly places for tanning and dyeing fabrics.

Central residential area

Part of a street facing northwest-southeast is visible, bordered by several buildings, one of which has been interpreted as a possible sacred site.

Residential area ‘Zone D’

Residential block called House of the domestic sacellum, with a large dwelling characterized by the presence in the last period (IV cent. B.C.) of a small chapel (sacellum) and a bathroom.

Residential area ‘Zone B’

There is a northwest-southeast oriented street, lined with partially excavated buildings. The road artery, on step slopes towards the coast, is about five meters wide and can be dated to V cent. B.C.

Northwest Gate

Gate of the fortifications which is adjacent to a building possibly used as gatehouse and a small place of worship.

Temple of Kothon

Large temple building, surrounded by a circular wall, characterized by the presence of betyls erected in the courtyard.

Residential area ‘Zone E’

Three residential blocks, separated by two streets, were found in the ancient town of Mozia during the renovation of the modern building in 1995.