Looking out over the homonymous gulf of the Jonic coast,
is where one will come across Squillace,
a suburb which if full of history and art.
The present day centre came about during the era of Longobard
and Saracen invasions (VII-VIII century) which pushed the
inhabitants of the ex Roman colony of Scolacium to transfer
to its present day position in the hills, giving better control
over the territory.
The Roman city in turn, derived from ancient Greek Skyllétion,
which legend wishes its foundation to be by Ulysses or Menesteo
following the destruction of Troy, while history wishes its
foundation to be by Athens.
Skyllétion quickly entered into the orbit of the Greek
colony of Cróton, following its historical destiny.
It was then taken by Dionysus I (387 BC), the tyrant of Siracusa,
who annexed it to his allies in Locri.
In the IV century, it entered into the dominion of the Bruzi,
an Italic population of shepherds and warriors, which had
Cosenza as its administrative centre.
Events linked to the war between Rome and Taranto followed
the ephemeral attempt of the Greek Agathocles (299 BC) to
conquer Calabria and Sicily along with the subsequent wars
with Pirro (280-275 BC) which left a large part of the South
under the Republic of Rome.
The Second Punic War was probably supported by Hannibal, as
with other Greek cities in desperate attempt to resist the
Romans. As a result of the abandonment of Italy by the Carthaginian
general (203 BC) the centre became a Roman colony by the name
During the Imperial era it continued to prosper and in the
IV century became an Episcopal seat.
Flavio Aurelio Magno Cassiodoro (490-583 BC), prime minister
to Emperor Teodorico and the Goth Vitige, was born here. At
the end of his career he returned to Scolacium and founded
Vivarium and Castellense. The first was a centre of study
and a library which was considered the first university of
Europe. The second was a centre of study to teach agriculture.
The City was abandoned due to clashes linked to the Greek-Gothic
War (535-553) and frequent Longobard (VI century) and Saracen
raids (VIII century) and only restored to history by archaeological
digs conducted by Ermanno Arslan during the '900s.
The present day Squillace appeared in history in a letter
from Pope S. Gregorio Magno to the Bishop of Squillace Giovanni
(598). It was fortified by the Byzantines and for a long time
suffered attack by the Saracens who finally conquered it in
After a short while, Squillace returned under the Eastern
Roman Empire (965) then quickly taken by the Normans led by
Guglielmo Braccio di Ferro (1044). They erected the Castle
and Cathedral (1096). Under their dominion and the subsequent
Swabian (1194-1266), the City was given the opportunity to
Under the Swabians, Squillace belonged to Elisabetta of Altavilla,
Riccardo (1231), Federico Lancia (1256), the brother of Bianca
Lancia who was wife to Frederick II, and Galvano Lancia,
Under the Angioinians (1266) it became fief of Tommaso de
Marzano (XIV century) and the Del Balzo family.
The Aragonese wanted it to be part of the Royal Estate and
entrusted it to Prince Federico of Aragona (1485), who after
becoming King, entrusted it to Goffredo Borgia (1494), whose
descendants ruled until 1735, the year of ascension to the
throne of the Two Sicilies by the Bourbons.
An earthquake in 1783 changed the architectonic profile of
Squillace. Many buildings were reconstructed according to
architectonic tastes of the time.
The Castle became a prison structure during the Bourbon era
and hosted exponents from the Risorgimental revolts.
A visit to the City
The Duomo of the Vergine Assunta in Cielo (1784-1798) was
reconstructed on top of the Norman Cathedral and houses noteworthy
artistic works in its interior. Nearby one can visit the Immacolata
Church or S. Nicola delle Donne.
Ascending in the suburb, one can admire many sculptured stone
portals of nobiliary buildings. One will then arrive in Piazza
del Municipio where Palazzo Pepe is located. It preserves
a stone memorial tablet in memory of a Roman aqueduct (143
The nearby San Matteo Church with its beautiful Renaissance
façade is worth visiting.
In Via Antico Senato, one can visit the noteworthy Chiesetta
of S. Maria della Pietà and the 14th century double
lancet window in Casa Teti.
The Castle, dominated Squillace. It was founded by the Byzantines,
besieged and taken by the Saracens, reconstructed by the Normans
and modified by the Angioinians. Visitors can enjoy a stupendous
panorama overlooking the Jonic coast and Catanzaro from here.
There are numerous possible excursions: to neighbouring Medieval
centres, the S. Maria della Roccella Abbey and the Scolacium
Place of interest
- Resti del Castello Normanno
- Cattedrale della Vergine Assunta in Cielo (1784-98)
- Palazzo Vescovile
- Ruderi della Chiesa e Convento di S. Chiara
- Chiesa dell'Immacolata o di S. Nicola delle Donne
- Chiesa di S. Matteo
- Chiesetta Gotica di S. Maria della Pietà (XIII sec.)
- Chiesa di S. Pietro
- Portali di Casa Mungo e Casa Megna
- Palazzo Pepe
- Palazzo Maida-Chillà
- Finestra di Casa Teti
- Parco Archeologico di Scolacium
- Antiquarium del Parco Archeologico
- Abbazia di S. Maria della Roccella
- Visita di Catanzaro
- Visita di Máida
- Visita di Soverato
- Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra
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