Caccuri (KR)

Once upon a time, there were the Middle Ages...

Caccuri, a small village in the heart of the province of Crotone whose origins are uncertain, is located on the hills above the left bank of the Neto river.
 
A delightful medieval setting ready to reveal the hidden beauty of its entire area. Amidst steep hills, alleyways and rocky spurs, winding streets unfold interrupted by the so-called "rughe” (wrinkles); small squares that lead to the entrance of each home.
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In Caccuri, a large number of remnants of a fascinating and distant past can still be seen today, such as the beautiful manor house that sits atop a cliff.
 

In Caccuri, a large number of remnants of a fascinating and distant past can still be seen today, such as the beautiful manor house that sits atop a cliff. The town (which in the past belonged to important families like the Ruffo, Cavalcanti and the Barracco barons), still preserves its original charm, appreciated by visitors through extraordinary examples of nineteenth-century technology (found in the bathrooms with wash basins in English porcelain), in the ancient kitchens and in the tower aqueduct, as well as through the authentic Neapolitan majolica tiled floors or in the eighteenth century frescoed ceilings. The Villa Comunale (the town's park) lies at the foot of the Castle; this is a picturesque park due to its calcareous rocks of unusual shapes, which stand out between the castle and the park's pine trees. The Town Hall is located here.

 
Caccuri
 

In the surroundings area of Caccuri and worthy of a visit, is Sila National Park; a reserve renowned for its rich biodiversity and part of the UNESCO sites of excellence.
Caccuri's attractions include the aforementioned Castle, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, the rose window of the Abbey of Santa Maria del Soccorso and the various architectural and natural landscapes. The town’s medieval environment is recreated every year during its Medieval Day; an event that attracts many enthusiasts and inquisitive onlookers. The urban grid retains the features of the old town centre consisting of a maze of streets and alleys that lead to the castle.
Also noteworthy is the presence of three Basilian Monasteries that, before the Normans arrived and imposed the Latinisation of the Eastern rite churches, had a great influence on the life of local population: The monastery of Santa Maria della Paganella or dei Tre Fanciulli, Abate Marco and Santa Maria di Cabria. The santuario di San Rocco (shrine of St Rocco), situated on the edge of the inhabited town centre and near the “Porta Piccola” (small door) also deserves a visit, an access route to the town’s countryside and olive groves. The shrine is located near the via Murorotto or street that runs along the ancient route of the walls that protected the village from assaults, where a valuable brick arch can still be admired.
Caccuri was the filming location for the movie “Il brigante Musolino” (The Brigand Musolino / Outlaw Girl) by Mario Camerini, with Silvana Mangano. Every year the Accademia dei Caccuriani awards the Premio Letterario Caccuri per la Saggistica (Caccuri Literary Prize for Essays), held on 9 and 10 August and rewards national and international authors who have been particularly successful in terms of the quality of their works.

 
Caccuri
 
Caccuri Castle

Caccuri Castle is an imposing seventeenth century manor house built at the top of a cliff that overlooks the valley; immersed in the landscape, it is the meeting point between the Mediterranean scrubland and Sila forests.
The castle's origins are very ancient; it was built by the Byzantines as defensive garrison to watch over the Neto valley. The building has a trapezoidal floor-plan with a central courtyard. An inventory of 1781 describes the interiors as rich with fresco paintings depicting knightly scenes, candlesticks, mirrors and large paintings of Spanish Monarchs, Popes and the Knights of Malta.
Recent restoration works have turned it into an elegant building, ideal for hosting cultural activities and events. Inside, its key feature is the Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) that has a single hall divided by an arch of triumph which displays the coat of arms of the Cavalcanti. The original ceiling is the coffered painted ceiling. The main altar in lacquered wood and gilt, is richly decorated with acanthus leaves. The central altarpiece depicts Santa Barbara (St Barbara), while the side altar, decorated with Rococo-style stucco-work, is dedicated to San Gaetano da Thiene (St Cajetan). The collection of seventeenth-century paintings by the Neapolitan School is also of great artistic interest.

 
Caccuri
 
Abbey of Santa Maria del Soccorso

Caccuri's monumental complex of Badia di Santa Maria del Soccorso (Abbey of Santa Maria del Soccorso) includes the former Dominican convent and the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Soccorso o della Riforma (Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso or of the reform) as well as the Cappella della Congregazione del Santissimo Rosario (Chapel of the Congregation of the Most Holy Rosary). The church’s façade, in addition to the University's coat of arms, features the coat of arms of the local feudal lord; Giambattista Spinelli, duke of Castrovillari and count of Cariati. On entering the church of Santa Maria del Soccorso, visitors immediately notice the Guatemala green marble holy water stoup and the endless series of wooden altars; worn out by the passing of time and the hands of thieves who stole all the the valuable altar frontals, the sole remaining model can be found in the altar of St. Barbara, in the Palatine Chapel of Caccuri Castle.
As visitors walk inside, their attention is immediately drawn to the canvas of the Madonna del Rosario (Madonna of the Rosary), to then observe the contrast between the majestic altar in plaster and the arch in Italian “pietra serena” (grey sandstone) that leads to the Cappella Gentilizia dei duchi Cavalcanti (Chapel of the Dukes of Cavalcanti) who built the chapel so they could attend mass without having to mingle with commoners. Within the monumental complex of S. Maria del Soccorso, outside the Church, (before the entrance to what used to be the entrance to the cloister) is Caccuri’s true gem in terms of artistic heritage: the Cappella della Congrega del S. Rosario (Chapel of the Congregation of the Holy Rosary), where indulgences have been granted since 1679. Terracotta tiles alternated with eighteenth century majolica tiles in blue shades form the flooring of the chapel, which could be accessed only by the friars of the Congregation and patrons of the Chapel's construction.

 
Caccuri
 
Gastronomy

Not to be missed are the local specialities, baked daily by the old bakery in Piazza Umberto I: calzone with sardella (calzone with white-bait), mastacciuoli pastry, pitte 'mpigliate (raisin and nut pastries, typical of the Christmas period), cuzzupe e muccellati (typical Easter pastries) and the typical bread, i.e. Pitta bread.
The people of Caccuri love to enjoy these products together with locally produced red wine. In addition, the many species of mushrooms that grow in the surroundings have a high gastronomic value: porcini, vavusi, rositi, cocolini, mucchiaruli, ovoli (Caesar's mushroom), mussi, vovi, chiodini (honey mushrooms) and pinnelle.

 


 


Address Via Adua, 5
  88833 Caccuri (KR)
Phone number 0984 998040
Fax 0984 998555
Website www.comune.caccuri.kr.it
 

 

Several mineral springs flow in Caccuri surroundings. Sulfur and chloride-rich water of the Lepre stream is used for bathing and drinking, the sulfurous water of the Bruciarello stream is suitable for bathing and the saline water of Calderazzi is employed in draughts.

Cave settlements are widespread around Caccuri. The Grotta del Palummaro, whose entrance is on the bank of the Lese stream, is geologically interesting, and it is among the biggest and deepest karst caves in the area.

The Main Church consecrated to Santa Maria delle Grazie stands at the center of the town and it is a typical example of Calabrian Baroque. The bell tower houses a precious bell dedicated to the Madonna in 1578, whose construction was commissioned by the Università of Caccuri to Angelo Rinaldi. It is a three-nave church and the Chapel of San Gaetano opens on the right nave. The church of San Rocco, the patron saint of the town, located along an ancient access road to the village, is worth a visit. The Dominican Monastery known as Chiesa della Riforma or S. Maria del Soccorso, was erected along the road leading to the Abbey of S. Maria la Nova in the municipality of San Giovanni in Fiore. Founded in 1518 by the Dominican monk Andrea da Gimigliano, the monumental complex of the Badia di S. Maria del Soccorso is acknowledged as the Convento by local people because the monks left only at the end of the 19th century when the building was sold to baron Barracco. Inside the complex but outside the church, close to the former entrance to the cloister, the Chapel of the Congrega del S. Rosario stands. It is the most representative monument of the town; in the Chapel the plenary indulgence has been granted since 1679, as the papal bull issued by Innocent XI shows.

The smooth stone roads lead to the 6th century majestic castle that dominates the huge cliff below. The castle atrium houses the Chapel of Cavalcanti. The interior is decorated with paintings and statues attributed to the 1800 Neapolitan school. The chapel has a wooden ceiling and a stone front door, the work of stonemasons of the time. The distinctive shape of the only tower, the gloomy Torre Mastrigli, is the symbol of the city coat of arms and it makes the town recognizable from afar.



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