THE BYZANTINE CALABRIA: BISANZIO AND THE GREEK-ORTHODOXIC FAITH IN CALABRIA
“The fortunate geographical position sees Calabria at the center of the Mediterranean, which has always been a crossroads of peoples, goods and culture that stop over 800 km of coastline for commercial or colonial purposes. For this network of exchanges and intense relationships, the indigenous Enotria will become the Magna Graecia of the colonial era, following the colonization of populations of large groups coming from Greece aimed at finding and finding new living spaces from which to start and get wellbeing and fortune. A network of balances that will be turned upside down after nearly eight centuries of Greek great civilization by the Romans who will impose their power in the Mediterranean, from the third century BC. until the end of the imperial era. At that precise moment Christianity was already an official religion and Rome separated itself from Byzantium in what will be recognized as the great schism between East and West, between the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchal religion. Calabria will detach itself from the central power and will therefore be annexed to the Patriarchate of Byzantium and to its direct control as the new Orthodox Eparchy and the Byzantine theme (region, dominion), the Thema of Calabria. It was one of the richest regions and at the same time one of the most culturally and artistically cared for by the Greeks of the East.”
Organized by the Archaeologist and Licensed Guide Prof. Tommaso Scerbo,
Specialist in Archeology of Magna Graecia.
(The following program is purely indicative, and can be modified if requested)
DAY ONE: LAMEZIA – ROSSANO
Arrival at Lamezia airport and transfer to Rossano, welcome drink and accommodation in the reserved rooms and meeting with the guide for a briefing on the itinerary. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
DAY TWO: ROSSANO – CORIGLIANO
Breakfast at the hotel and meeting with the guide. Departure for Rossano. Visit to the church of S. Bernardino, fifteenth-century reconstruction of a Temple of the fourteenth century, to the Cathedral inserted in an urban system of the Middle Ages, rebuilt in 1330 by Robert d’Angiò that shows the image of the Madonna Acherotipa or not painted by hand human; the basilica of Panaghia within which is a Byzantine fresco depicting St. John Chrysostom; to the church of S. Marco Evangelista which structurally recalls the Cattolica di Stilo. Visit the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art where there is the ancient evangelist “The purple code”. Outside Rossano at 609 meters on the side of a hill facing the sea, it is isolated the Pathirion (S. Maria del Patire), of 1130 which together with the aforementioned Cattolica di Stilo are among the most famous monuments of Byzantine architecture of the South. On the sides of the rock there are several hermit caves that can still be visited today. For centuries, Rossano was not only the most important reference point for the Greek Orthodox religion, but also the refuge of populations fleeing Ottoman domination. Lunch in a farmhouse or typical restaurant. Continue to Corigliano, leaning on steps on the hill, with a beautiful view of the sea. At the top is the well-kept castle of the Compagna of the century. XV with four crenellated towers and drawbridge. In the middle an ancient double-arched viaduct connects the two parts of the picturesque town. Return to hotel, dinner and overnight.
DAY THREE: CIVITA – LUNGRO
Breakfast at hotel. Meeting with the guide and departure for Civita.
In the heart of the Pollino Park “the village among the rocks” so defined for the immense green mountains that surround its valley, is a casket that preserves the ancient traditions of the arbëresh people. The houses of the historic center are built in stone, each characterized by the presence of a chimney that is different from all the others.Wandering through the streets of this wonderful village, we note the typical little houses called Kodra houses, so called in memory of the Albanian artist Ibrahim Kodra who visiting Civita portrayed them recognizing elements of his painting. The seven houses are distinguished from the others by the curious morphology that re-proposes the features of a human face, a reflection of the distribution of the spaces inside the house. Several recently renovated churches within which it is possible to admire the inlaid and carving wooden iconostasis. Lunch in a local restaurant. Transfer to Lungro. In the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, where it is possible to take part in the Greek-Byzantine ritual mass. The medieval village (XII century) also preserves Albanian architectural evidence with the typical gjitonie (small squares) that make their way through groups of houses. Return to hotel, dinner and overnight.
DAY FOUR: SHOPPING AND RELAXATION
Day dedicated entirely to relaxation at the selected facility with spa and gym . For those who want to transfer to Cosenza for an afternoon dedicated to shopping.
DAY FIVE: ALTOMONTE
Breakfast at the hotel meeting with the guide and for Altomonte defined the “Spoleto del Sud”. Altomonte is a miraculously intact jewel, always visited by cultured and intellectual tourism. The church of Norman origin of Santa Maria della consolazione is splendid, with a very beautiful rose window on the façade and is considered one of the greatest examples of Gothic-Angevin architecture in the region, with remarkable works of art inside. The Civic Museum, housed in the ancient Dominican convent where Tommaso Campanella studied, is rich in works of art, including a triptych attributed to Simone Martini. Lunch at a restaurant on the spot. I’m going back to the hotel. Dinner and overnight.
DAY SIX: SIBARI – PAPASIDERO
Breakfast, meeting with the guide and departure for the visit of the Sibari excavations. The archaeological site of Sibari is located on the Ionian coast of Calabria a short distance from the mouth of the River Crati. This part of the Calabrian territory, known topographically as “sibaritide”, saw the rise, development and expansion and then the decline of the great polis of Sybaris; here they were implanted, in times following the destruction of the Greek city, partly overlapping its ruins, first the Hellenistic center of Thurii and then the Roman one of Copia. This exceptional stratification makes Sibari one of the most extensive and important sites of the Mediterranean of the archaic and classical age. Stop at La Grotta delle Ninfe, it is an enchanting cave that opens up into a fissure with a characteristic crescent shape, from which sun light insinuates during the day. Inside the evocative limestone cave, a pool of thermal water has been created that is constantly maintained on 30 degrees centigrade and from which a stream flows out towards the sea. Lunch in a local restaurant. Transfer to Papasidero for a visit with a bus to the Neolithic caves and to the local museum that will pleasantly engage the afternoon between art and nature, in total relaxation.
DAY SEVEN: ROSSANO – LAMEZIA
Breakfast at the hotel. In good time transfer to the airport for the return flight from Lamezia Terme. End of our services.