9 Scilla RC 3Extreme corner of the Italic peninsula, between the Ionian and the Mediterranean Seas, the region of Calabria is divided from Sicily by the mythical Scylla and Charybdis Sea, through which Ulysses’ ships passed. Visitors can enjoy natural and uncontaminated landscapes composed by age-old woods, while like living nativity scenes, the lands of the inland region were built on cliffs to be defensible against the Saracens’ attacks. Land rich of history, culture, archaeology, Calabria is an open-air museum, like the famous Paolo Orsi said. The journey of the historical civilizations starts from the Palaeolithic period, chronicled by the bison in the “Grotta del Romito”, to the Neolithic and then the proto-history, during which the Pelasgians produced the culture of the “Enotria”[1], that is the land of wine. From the Pelasgians descended the Itali. Thanks to them the most southern side of the actual Calabria was called “Italia”. During the 1970s some archaeological excavations coming from the period of the proto-history have been discovered in Roccella Jonica. This discovery concerned some tombs with very rich grave goods, especially for women and marked the recurring contacts between the Calabrian coast and the Mycenaean world.
12 Monasterace RC Kaulon (1)Starting from the half of the 18th century BC (750), Chalcis settlers arrived from Greece, who founded the city of Reggio. Later, the Achaeans established Sybaris, Croton, Scillezio, Kaulon and Locri, which in turn created Scidro, Terina, Ipponio and Medma on the Tyrrhenian coast. The settlers who gave rise to Posidonia, then Paestum, left from Sybaris. The colonies mentioned originated the wonderful civilization of the Magna Græcia, that became greater than the homeland. Expression of it were the Pythagorean school in Crotone and the sculptural one, that almost certainly designed the statues of the two bronze warriors dated back to the 5th century BC, discovered in the sea of Riace. Another school shaped by Magna Græcia was the legal one in Locri (Zaleuco). The settlers brought to the actual Calabria traditions, habits and way of living typical of Greece. Also the manufacturing processes of the homeland were introduced as well as the custom of cultivating the vine and the olive tree.
28 Roccelletta CZ Santa Maria delle Roccelle 21In the following years the discord started in the very rich Greek colonies and many internal fighting destroyed the civilization of Magna Græcia. Crotone annihilated Sybaris which, in turn, had destroyed Siri. Other conflicts were prosecuted among all the Hellenic cities. These civil wars benefitted before the Bretti (also called Bruzi) and later the romans that, at the beginning of the 3rd century BC arrived at the Strait of Messina. After the roman conquest, the territory underwent some changes and the typical model of rural development became the latifundium. Country houses, extraordinary and independent worlds under many points of view were born during this period. On the Ionian coast the major Villas are the ones of Casignana and the Naniglio of Gioiosa Jonica, inside which there was a production of oil, wheat, but specially wine. During the years that followed the fall of the roman empire, Justinian, the Byzantine emperor, occupied a large part of Italy, stealing it to the Ostrogoths. Calabria (or Bruzio) became one of the most developed areas of the whole empire and Europa. It was the period in which the “Basiliano” movement was created, the monastic order founded by St. Basilio from Neocesarea del Ponto. There was the flowering of 400 monasteries, epicentres of a superior culture. The Basilian monks were also extraordinary farmers and planted vineyards, olive groves and woods of chestnut trees. Thanks to the incentive of the “Basiliano” movement and the Greek Orthodox church, during the 1990s, from Mount Athos, which was the most important spiritual centre of the region, arrived to Bivongi father Cosma. He had been persuaded to move to Calabria by an Hegumen (head of a monastery in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches) who had had a vision of Calabria and said before dying: “please, Kosmas, go to the Holy Land because it is plunged into the dark and needs our help to be brightened up”. For the Greek Orthodoxies Calabria is a Holy Land because here many Italian-Greek Saints were born. They were venerated in Greece, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine; moreover, many of them participated to the foundation of Mount Athos, which is the holiest place of Orthodoxy.
17 Stilo RC La Cattolica2Kosmas came to Calabria and obtained by the city hall of Bivongi the ruins of the San Giovanni Therestis monastery, that he, with lots of love, redeveloped and consecrated to the Orthodoxy. Following events brought father Kosmas far from the land that he considered “his”. So, he was sent to Anatolia (Turkey) to the Church of the Silence, in which Christians prayed in secrecy. In 2010, still dreaming about coming back to Bivongi, father Kosmas died suddenly while he was into a cell of a monastery in Mount Athos. Even now, in the valley of the Stilaro, Stilo, Bivongi and Pazzano, the byzantine spirituality can be perceived, and it is custom drinking wine extracted by Greek vines. Essential in wine-making are: Greco Nero, Greca Bianca, Magliocco, Malvasia, Inzolia, Moscatello Bianco (Muscarella), Moscatello Nero and Pedilonga (Gaglioppo). Cantine Lavorata face up and collaborate right with this remarkable reality.
15 Gerace RC Cattedrale 171Starting from the 9th century AD, the Arabic and Saracenic raids began, marking the end of the byzantine civilization in Italy. First the Byzantines and later the Longobards, that had settled also in Campania, asked for the help of the extraordinary Normans, warriors arriving from France, hailing from Denmark and Norway. The greatest among them were the Hauteville brothers, who with Drogo, William Iron Arm, Robert Guiscard, and Roger occupied the whole southern Italy and then also Sicily, creating the very strong Norman Kingdom. In the late 12th century, the last heir of the Hauteville Norman dynasty, Constance, married the twenty-years old Henry IV, while she was thirty. He was the son of Frederick Barbarossa, from the Swabian House, Emperor of Germany. Malicious gossips told that the Queen was sterile so, when she got pregnant and it was time to give birth to the child, she made it in the open air in front of all the soldiers of a military contingent. Constance and Henry were the parents of a child who was considered the “Wonder” of the world: Frederick II, Duke of Swabia. The disagreements between Frederick II and the papacy favoured, after the death of the emperor, the arrival of Charles of Anjou to South Italy, who destroyed the prosperous Norman-Swabian kingdom. His dynasty lasted till the half of the 15th century, when the Aragon arrived. After a war between French and Spanish for the dominancy in the southern Italy, the Spanish took over from the Aragon. This period, during the modern age, was the most negative for part of the Italian mainland. The Austrians succeeded for a short period the Spanish, then they were followed by the Bourbons, who helped South Italy in its recovery till the arrival of the Piedmonteses in 1860.