Mahdia Governorate is in central-eastern Tunisia, named after its largest town and administrative centre. It comprises an area of coastal relative lowland, but extends further inland than its coastal length.
The two main coastal cities are of historic note to Greek, Roman, and early Muslim societies. They include the Mahdia shipwreck – a sunken ship found off Mahdia's shore, containing Greek art treasures – dated to about 80 BC, the early part of Roman rule in this region. The old part of Mahdia corresponds to the Roman city called Aphrodisium and, later, called Africa (a name perhaps derived from the older name), or Cape Africa.