IN THE CENTRE OF MAGNA GRAECIA

The fertile terrain and wealth of water led to the area being chosen by Greek colonists to extend their Empire. In the province of Crotone there are many places suitable for those wishing to spend a light-hearted holiday exploring the magnificent countryside.

History

Crotone is an ancient land and there is evidence of settlements dating back to prehistoric times. The Arcadians, the first of the Greeks to cross the Adriatic Sea, moved here in around 1600 BC, led by  Oenotro. The actual date the city was founded is not clear, although there are many legends on the subject. The Oenotrians found plenty of land suitable for pasture and agricultural cultivation in Calabria and in order to bind the populations to the land they founded small villages close to the mountains. Greek colonists flocked to Calabria in the 8th and 7th centuries BC, making this area, with its fertile terrain and wealth of water, into the region known as Magna Graecia. Crotone expanded and developed until it became the most powerful and highly-developed “Polis” in Magna Graecia, despite internal conflict. In 277 it was conquered by the Romans, who made it into a battlefield in the conflict with the Carthaginians. In 194 it was reduced to a colony and its name was only to reappear in history in the era of the war between the Byzantines and the Goths. Today Crotone is a modern agricultural and industrial city.

The city and its monuments

In the city one can admire the Duomo, built in the 11th century, but which has been modified numerous times over the years, as one can see from the classical style façade and the interior with its nave and two aisles, evidence of an older structure. Inside there is a 14th century baptismal font, the Madonna di Capo Colonna and a wealth of stucco decoration and gilding. Then there is the castle, constructed according to the wishes of the viceroy Pedro de Toledo. Today it holds the Sottocampana barracks and the Civic Museum, containing ancient pottery, majolica tiles and objects found during excavations of the ancient site of “Kroton”. Finally, it is worth visiting the Castella building, reconstructed in the 16th century, but renovated several times as a result of piracy by corsairs who sacked it repeatedly; today facilities are being prepared in this imposing building for a museum dedicated to the sea.

The geographical area

In the province of Crotone there are numerous summer holiday resorts, including Cirò Marina, Isola di Capo Rizzuto, Santa Severina and Petilia Policastro. Cirò Marina is famous for its wines, while Isola di Capo Rizzuto, on the edge of a ledge close to the sea, has seen extensive tourist development over the last few years, with the recent creation of tourist villages and campsites on the sea. Santa Severina has an old Byzantine district called Grecìa, which contains houses carved out of the rock. The town has a Byzantine and Norman past: built at the top of a tall cliff, with views over the Neto valley, it has a recently restored castle and is surrounded by walls and impressive ramparts. Finally, Petilia Policastro, an important military centre in the Byzantine era, is situated on a rocky spur at the meeting point of two streams, the Cropa and the Sòleo.