Its strategic position at the base of a promontory stretching 5km out into the Tyrrhenian Sea, has given Milazzo an important role since it was founded by settlers from Zancle (modern-day Messina) over 2,500 years ago.
Today, Milazzo is the main port of departure for those heading to the Aeolian Islands, but in 260BC it was the site of a famous Roman naval victory against the Carthaginians in the First Punic War.
Some 200 years later, the waters off Mylae (Milazzo) were the setting of another defining moment in Rome’s history. Sextus Pompey, Pompey the Great’s son, was involved in a running battle against the Second Roman Triumvirate. He chose Mylae as his naval base and in 36BC engaged Octavian in battle. Neither side triumphed, but Octavian came out stronger. In a second confrontation a month later, the future Emperor Augustus (for Octavian was he!) defeated the rebel forces at Naulochus, just a few kilometres away. Sextus fled to Miletus, where he was later executed.