SAN MARCO ARGENTANO
Not too distant from the Tyrrhenian coasts of Northern Calabria,
is where one will come across San Marco Argentano,
an ancient centrepreserving a huge cultural and historical
The present day suburb is of Norman foundation (XI century),
but San Marco Argentano is thought to be the heir of ancient
Argentanum, a Bruzi city (IV century BC), as cited by Tito
In reality, its existence is already documented beginning
in the VIII century BC, by the name of Argyros, when it was
a mining centre extracting silver.
It became a Bruzi dominion in the IV century BC by the name
of Argyrano and became a strong Roman adversary, to which
it had to succumb in the subsequent century. In fact, the
Lucani’s joined the campaign to conquer the rich Magno-Greek
city of Thurii (282 BC), which then asked for help from Rome,
which in turn already had expansionistic sights in the South
After the conquest, the Romans changed its name to Argentanum.
When the Punic War broke out, Argentanum, like all other Southern
centres, had no doubts on where to give its support and during
the Second Punic War, it supported the Carthaginian General,
Hannibal, therefore sharing history with him.
The end of the Punic conflict, saw the City enter permanently
into the Roman Republic, then become a Municipium (88 BC).
During the Imperial Era (44 AD), Cassiodoro, Viatore, Dominata
and Senatore were martyred here.
Following the Greek-Gothic war (535-553), it became Byzantine
property then later Longobard (VII century).
The City suffered a period of decay, aggravated by continuous
Saracen (IX century) raids, which pushed the inhabitants to
seek refuge on higher ground, therefore founding San Marco
(969), in honour of the apostle.
When Robert Guiscard conquered it in 1048, he made it a strategic
fortress in the conquest of Calabria. He decided to amplify
the castle, which resulted as already being constructed on
the ruins of a fortress of the Roman era. He had defensive
walls erected and the Cathedral (XI century).
Following unification into the Reign of Italy (1861), the
centre assumed its present day name of San Marco Argentano
A visit to the City
The Norman Tower, constructed in 1048, dominates the hill.
It was constructed by Drogone or Robert Guiscard. The fortress
results as being constructed on the ruins of a previous fortress
dating back to the Roman era.
The following stand out from among the religious buildings:
the Cathedral, the Episcopio, of Norman foundation (XI century),
containing Byzantine and Arabic elements, and the Convent
and Francescana della Riforma Church, just outside the City.
In the City, one can also admire the 16th century Sicheilgata
Fountain and visit the Matrio Morelli Civic Museum.
At 4 kms from San Marco Argentano, one can visit the S. Maria
della Matina Abbey, founded by Robert Guiscard (1060) and
consecrated on 31st March 1065. For a long while, it was in
competition with the Sambucina Abbey near to Luzzi.
Place of interest
- Torre di Drogone (1048)
- Cattedrale e l'Episcopio (XI sec.)
- L'Abbazia della Matina (1060)
- Chiesa e Convento della Riforma (XIII sec.)
- La fontana di Sikelgaita ('500)
- Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Longobardi
- Chiesa di San Marco
- Chiesa di Santa Caterina
- Cappella della Benedetta
- San Giovanni degli Amalfitani
- Mulino di Mezzo
- Museo Civico Mario Morelli
- Carnevale Sammarchese
- Festa di San Marco Evangelista dal 16 al 25 aprile
- Estate Sammarchese
- Festa del del Sacro Cuore di Gesù in luglio
- Fiera dei Cento Comuni in settembre