At the foot of the promontory where the tower of Chia stands, built by the Spanish in the17th century to defend the coast from pirate incursions, there are ancient historical Sardinian ruins that slowly emerge from the sea. It was initially a coastal storm, in the nineteen-twenties, that revealed traces of a necropolis and, in the years that followed, several excavation campaigns made it possible to uncover the ruins of an ancient city, an archaeological legacy of inestimable value. A treasure forgotten for centuries, surrounded by a series of heavenly beaches, the ‘seven pearls’ of Chia, a renowned tourist resort that brings lustre to the Municipality of Domus de Maria.
A Neo-Punic inscription carved into one of the ruins recovered from the sea, identified as a sacred building, also provided history with the name of the mysterious site: Bithia. Today, we know that it was inhabited for over a thousand years, from the 8th-7th century BC to the 6th century AD, until, during the last phases of the Roman Empire, the ’unobstructed ’ pirate incursions in the western Mediterranean forced its inhabitants to take refuge inland. Until then, Bithia, which was built on a pre-existing Nuragic settlement, must have been a thriving harbour town, first Phoenician, then Punic and lastly Roman.