SQUILLACE

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.

History

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 of Scolacium.
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 904.

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 prosper economically.

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 AD).
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 Archaeological Park.

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

Museums

- Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra

Events

- Nessun Evento segnalato

SQUILLACE
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Calabria region of Italy

 

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