Crotone is situated facing the Ionian Coasts
of Calabria, extending over a neighbouring promontory near
to an outlet of the River Esaro.
According to tradition, the foundation of Crotone came about
by the hands of the Greeks who arrived by sea; to be precise,
Achei, during 710 BC (other possible dates: 743 and 718 BC).
Legend names Myskellos di Rhype, who by obeying the oracle
of Delfi, came to Italy, stayed in Sibari and founded Crotone.
Its name has a mythological derivation. Cróton was
Hercules' friend who disembarked on a visit in Calabria. One
night he jumped out of his sleep when he heard a noise, caught
a glimpse of a shadow in the darkness and had no other choice
but to kill the unfortunate person, who happened to be Cróton.
He was deeply heartbroken and decided to found a city, naming
it after his sadly departed friend.
In reality, Crotone, developed so quickly that in a short
time it then founded other colonies along the Calabrian coast,
among which Kaulonia and Scillezio. A peaceful phase of expansion,
characterised by precise politics (VII-VII century BC), was
followed by the clash with the colony of Locri Epizefiri,
which was founded by the Locresi population (who came from
the Gulf of Corinth) during 673 BC. The latter, stronger through
support from Reggio Calabria, came out the winners after the
Battle of Sagra, which took place near the River Tórbido.
The defeat led to a strong imbalance in internal politics,
which was only resolved after the arrival of Pitagora di Samo
in Crotone, who by preaching rigour and discipline, inspired
a political party which stayed in power for some years.
Crotone gives great importance to athletics, so much so that
one of its athletes Milone, was able to put six victories
under his belt in the Olympics (between 540bc and 512 BC).
During 510 BC, Crotone made a move in war against Sibari.
The battle took place near the Trionto River and saw the Crotonese,
led by Milone, victorious and Sibari razed to the ground.
The waters of the Crati were then diverted to submerge the
The triumph of Pythagoras followed and governments who were
inspired by his doctrine ascended to power in many Magna-Greek
cities. This continued until the democratic revolt which was
cruel to his followers and which banned Pythagoras, forced
him to seek refuge in Metaponto, where he later died in 490
Apart from this, a period of economic development followed,
which led to the formation of the Italiota League (Crotone,
Thurii, Heraclea Metaponto, Caulonia and Reggio), which came
about in order to countervail the Lucani in the North and
expansionistic goals of Dionysius of Siracusa.
The latter attacked Reggio, besieging and destroying it (387
BC), took Caulonia and moved against Crotone, occupying it
for 12 years.
After being freed, it had to face the Bruzi, who, beginning
during the IV century BC, created a powerful province with
Cosenza as head town.
The besiegement by Crotone Agatocle (299 BC) and Pirro (280-278
BC) followed, which were opposed by the inhabitants who called
the Romans to help them (277 BC). The latter annexed the City
to their Republic, decreeing the beginning of its decline
and the end of a prestigious past.
The citizens were not keen on the new nobiliary, as only 70
years later, they opened the doors to Hannibal who remained
in Crotone for three years. He later sailed away from Italy
for good from here (203 BC). In response to this, the Romans
reduced the City to a colony (194 BC).
It became a Municipium (88 BC) declining slowly during the
Imperial era, which Crotone never had the capacity to characterise.
During this period many villas and great estates sprung up
and the City's population numbers diminished.
Crotone returned to the historical platform as a strategic
fortress during the Greek-Gothic War (535-553) fought between
the Ostrogoths and Byzantines in Italy.
The Byzantines, winners of the battle, inaugurated a fiscal
policy of depredation (VI century), which threw a great part
of Calabrian cities into gloom for centuries. The only positive
point was the work of some Basilian monks who diffused a certain
degree of culture.
History had to wait until the X century before the Saracens
disembarked and occupied Crotone (931), strengthening it with
Arabic domination was ephemeral though, being quickly cancelled
from Southern Italy by the hands of the Byzantines (end of
the X century).
The Normans (1054) succeeded them and allowed rebirth, both
cultural and economical, in Southern Italy. This work continued
with their successors, the Swabians (1194), who with Frederick
II, raised the South to a cultural European centre.
The Normans raised Crotone to a county, assigning it to Guglielmo
Greutesnil (1132). This title later passed to Rainero Marchiforte
(from 1216 to 1222). Frederick II included it in the Royal
Estate, granting it noteworthy power.
The Renaissance era was however interrupted by the Angioinians,
who descended in Italy from France, with the help of the Pope
(1266). They defeated the Swabians, calmed the Ghibelline
revolt (1268), and finally made Crotone a fief of Pietro Ruffo,
who was already Count of Catanzaro.
A few years later, the Franco-Aragonese conflict broke out
(1282-1372) beginning with a revolt of the Sicilian population,
which is known in history as the Vespri Siciliani (30th March
In this ambit, Crotone was occupied by Ruggero of Lauria (1292),
Admiral of Pietro III of Aragona.
In 1307, power returned to the Ruffo family, who administered
the City until the XV century when the last heir married Don
Antonio Centelles from Spain. These however, were found guilty
of treason against the king and lost all their title and fiefs.
Crotone then returned as Royal Estate.
During 1541, Viceroy Don Pedro da Toledo decided on new fortification
During the popular motions of 1647, it remained loyal to the
Spanish crown, but famine and pestilence brought the population
to its knees.
Following the War of Spanish Succession and the Treaty of
Utrecht (1713), the Reign of Naples along with Calabria, passed
hands to the Austrians until 1734. Their governing of Crotone
was definitely not enlightening.
In 1799 the inhabitants adhered to Republican ideals and planted
a Freedom Tree in the square, but surrendered to the Sanfedisti
troops of Cardinal Ruffo.
The French took the City in 1808 and remained in power until
the final fall of Napoleon (1815).
It returned under the Reign of the Two Sicilies and hosted
Vendite Carbonare (Secret city associations linked to the
Carbonari movement which promoted independent ideas) but refused
to adhered to the uprising led by the Fratelli Bandiera (Bandiera
Brothers, 1844). It was only during 1860, that the population
chose the Garibaldine cause, sponsoring it with 40.000 ducats.
The singer/songwriter Rino Gaetano was born in Crotone (1950).
A visit to the City
The historical centre extends over the Cavaliere Hills and
is dominated by its Castle. It is still delimited by its town-walls
which date back to the '500s.
From the Castle, which was built on the site of an ancient
Greek acropolis, one descends towards the Assunta Duomo (Cathedral)
with its Neo-Classic façade.
While walking through the historical centre and the Pescheria
district one cannot help but admire the numerous nobiliary
buildings which embellish the City.
Among the other churches worth visiting, we would like to
mention the S. Chiara and S. Giuseppe with its Baroque portal.
One must definitely not miss a visit to the National Archaeological
Museum to better understand the Magno-Greek civilisation.
There are numerous places to visit along the coast, some defensive
towers and the Capo Colonna Archaeological Park, where one
can still admire the remains of a temple which has survived
since the V century BC.
Place of interest
- Castello di Carlo V (XVI sec.)
- Duomo della Madonna dell'Assunta (XI sec.)
- Chiesa di S. Chiara (XV sec.)
- Chiesa di S. Maria di Prothospartariis
- Chiesa dell'Immacolata
- Chiesa di SS. Margherita e Brigida già del Purgatorio
- Chiesa di San Giuseppe (1719)
- Chiesa dei SS. Pietro e Paolo
- Chiesa del SS. Salvatore
- Palazzo Olivieri–Susanna in Vico Montalcini (1526)
- Casa Zurlo in via Suriano
- Casa Turano in via Concordia
- Palazzo Morelli in via Risorgimento
- Palazzo Sculco in via Ducarne
- Palazzo Suriano-Albani in Piazza Umberto I
- Palazzo Barracco in Piazza Castello ('700)
- Palazzo Del Majda in via Suriano (XVIII sec.)
- Palazzo Gallucci in via Risorgimento
- Villa Berlingieri, Bastione delle Mura (1882)
- Palazzo Albani in Piazzetta Albani
- Palazzo Berlingieri in Piazza Umberto I
- Palazzo Giunti in via Fosso
- Quartiere La Pescheria
- Riserva Marina di Capo
- Torre di Nao (1550)
- Torre di Mariello a Capocolonna
- Torre di Scifo (XVII sec.)
- Torre Tonda lungo la strada per Papanice
- Vrica e Stuni Rizzuto
- Santuario di Hera Lacinia
- Parco Archeologico di Capo Colonna
- Villa romana a Casabona
- Villa Romana a S. M. Marchesato
- Parco Nazionale della Sila
- Isola di Capo Rizzuto
- Visita a Cutro
- Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Crotone
- Museo Provinciale d'Arte contemporanea
- Museo Civico di Crotone
- Museo Archeologico di Capo Colonna
- Pinacoteca Bastione Toledo
- Fondazione Morelli
- StraCrotone in aprile
- Festa di Hera Lacina in Maggio
- Festa della Madonna di Capocolonna la penultima domenica
- Festival dell'Aurora
- Kroton Jazz Festival
- Carnevale Magno Greco in agosto
- Una Casa Per Rino
- Festival della Cucina Calabrese in settembre
- Festa di San Dionigi il 9 ottobre
- Festa di Santa Lucia il 13 dicembre