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ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREAS

Most of the archaeological heritage of Calabria, which dates back to the first Greek colonies, is collected in the 4 following large archaeological parks situated in Locri: Capo Colonna, Roccelletta of Borgia and Sybaris, here, which is the only case in the Mediterranean, three different ages overlap. The whole region is rich in findings but only a part of them have been discovered. Founded around the years 730-720 BC by Achaean populations, Sybaris was, with Kroton and Taranto, one of the largest cities of Ancient Greece; it had over 100 thousand inhabitants spread over 510 hectares of land protected by a wall of 10 km. Today the layered remains of three ancient cities, Sybaris, Thourioi and the Roman Copia , which emerged during the excavations of Sybaris Archaeological Park are a unique example in the whole Western world. Attached to the Sybaris Archaeological Park which opened in 1996, is the new National Archaeological Museum of Sybaris, it is the main cultural and historical centre of the Ionian coast of the province of Cosenza. It exhibits the most important finds from the surrounding area, including those of the pre-colonial sites of Francavilla Marittima and Castiglione of Paludi. Kroton was an ancient and powerful Achaean colony of the 6th century BC, surrounded by nearly 20 kilometres of fortified walls and defended by an army of over 150,000 men, it was the seat of the Pythagorean philosophical school, of the medical school – that was considered the best one of the entire ancient world – and of the gymnastic school. Ten kilometres to the south of Crotone, on the promontory of Capo Colonna, stands the Archaeological Park that bears the same name: the 30 hectares of land used for excavations, the 20 hectares of woods and the Mediterranean bush have rendered it one of the most sacred areas of the entire Mediterranean basin. At Capo Colonna, in fact, was erected the majestic sanctuary dedicated to Hera Lacinia wife and sister of Zeus, protector of pastures, women, female fertility, family and marriage. The new Archaeological Museum collects artefacts found in the excavation area; remains of the pre-colonial era are displayed in Antiquarium di Torre Nao, located within the park. In the best-equipped National Archaeological Museum of Crotone are collected the first findings of the Archaic period and the precious treasure of Hera. The remains of the ancient Greek city of Skilletion, which later on became a Roman colony with the name of Scolacium, are evident in the Archaeological Park that bears the same name and was founded in 1982 with the attached Antiquarium of Roccelletta. In the Park of great interest and beauty are the ruins of Santa Maria della Roccella, the amphitheater of the 2nd century AD that completed the ancient Scolacium, three thermal plants, a necropolis and the aqueduct, which were identified by preliminary researches carried out on the hill overlooking the area. Hippion – At four kilometers from the coast, on a small hill located at just about 500 meters above sea level, enclosed by the modern town of Vibo Valentia, are the remains of ancient Hipponion built near the previous indigenous centre called Veipo. Hipponion, the colony of Locri Epizefiri was founded in the late 7th century BC along with Medma in order to acquire new arable lands and have an access to the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the halls of the Norman castle, the Archaeological Museum was set up, it houses the findings from the excavations of the Greek city. The ancient colony of Lokroi Epizephyrioi was founded shortly after the birth of Kroton in 709 BC. Among the most important cities of Magna Grecia was Locri Epizefiri, the birthplace of Zaleuco, author of the first code of laws and related penalties, and Nosside, a follower of Sappho and a major poetess of Ancient Greece. The Archaeological Park is located about 4 km from today's Locri. The town’s entrance is directly accessible from the 106 Ionica highway.

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