The town of Roccella Ionica still keeps the remains of its ancient history. Two Egyptian porphyry monolithic columns, that belonged to a pagan temple, can be admired along the promenade; they were discovered in 1863 by a group of fishermen. The ruined Medieval castle stands in the ancient and deserted area. The origins of Roccella date back to Magna Graecia. It was probably the ancient Amphisya reported by Ovid. In the 10th century, it was called “Rupella", then "Arocella", till today’s Roccella, name that derives from the fact that the town rises on the cliff (Italian rocca). The first documented evidence of the existence of Roccella Jonica dates back to 1270, when Gualtieri de Collepietro was given the castle of Roccella of San Vittore by Charles I d’Anjou. For a long time, Roccella was the only town standing on the Ionian coast, and it was subjected to Saracen raids. It was the fief of the Counts Ruffo of Catanzaro. The noble family was connected to the town for two reasons. First, the town became the capital of the principality, and the residence of ministers, auditors, and a great number of nobles that formed the Ruffo court. Second, the Priorship of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (il pialato in Roccella dialect), dreaded all around the Mediterranean area, was established in Roccella. Girolamo Carafa was the lord of Roccella till 1570. Fabrizio Carafa was appointed first Prince of Roccella in 1594 by Philippe II. When he died in 1629, his son Girolamo was appointed as well, and he died in 1652. His successor, Fabrizio Carafa III, ruled the city till 1671; his heir apparent of all the possessions was Carlo Maria Carafa Branciforte, the 4th prince of Roccella and first peer of the Kingdom of Sicily. The fief was then inherited by his sister Giulia Carafa Branciforte, the 5th princess, who married her cousin Federico Carafa di Bruzzano. In 1707, following several transactions and agreements, Vincenzo Carafa was appointed the 6th prince of Roccella, and his successor was Gennaro Maria Carafa, the 7th prince. The last member to have the title of prince of the town was Vincenzo Maria, who ruled from 1774 to 1806, when feudalism was abolished. By the decree dated May 4th 1811, Roccella became the main town of a district including the municipalities of Gioiosa and Castelvetere. In 1816 it became one of the municipalities of Castelvetere district.