Le Castella (KR)

LE CASTELLA

Le Castella is a renowned tourist resort of the Costa dei Saraceni, (Saracens’ coast), and it is part of the Riserva Marina di Capo Rizzuto (Capo Rizzuto Marine Reserve), in the Province of Crotone. The symbol of the town is the 15th-century Aragon castle that is located on a small island joined to the shore by a strip of sand. La Castella is the modern name of the site, while in the past it was called Castra, Castra Hannibalis, Castellorum Maris. The current name is probably due to the presence of many castles in the area. The origins of Le Castella are ancient and the site shared common historical events with the surrounding areas. Its landscape was greatly admired in ancient times, which originated many legends. It was assumed that Calypso’s island, described by Homer in his Odyssey, was located just nearby the present-day village. Le Castella is one of the three legendary Japigi promontories identified with Capo Rizzuto, Capo Cimiti and Le Castella. The name derived from the mythical Japyx, son of Dedalus, who was one of the most gifted artists in the ancient Greece. Some ancient literary sources report that Japyx or Japige escaped from Crete to follow his father to Sicily. On his way back, there was an aggressive storm and he was shipwrecked on the coast of present-day Calabria, and the site was named Terra Japigia.



 


 

The peculiar red-orange fine sands form the beaches and sea bottoms in several coves. In summer, diving is allowed in the bathing areas of the Reserve. High quality tourist offer includes well-equipped tourist resorts. Many villages around Le Castella deserve to be visited: Isola di Capo Rizzuto; Santa Severina, perched on a high cliff overlooking the Neto river valley; Caccuri, located along the route to Sila mountains and Cirò, characterized by a beautiful ancient hamlet.

The port is located in the Eastern bay of Le Castella village. It consists in a Northern dock and a stretch of sea bounded by a curvilinear outer breakwater and a small inner jetty. The dock, that is not yet completed, is well protected against the winds and can accommodate boats with draft no deeper than 2m. The stretch of sea is affected by rip currents under certain conditions.

The Fortress stands on a small peninsula. It is a renowned fortified building probably of Magna Graecia origins. It was largely remodeled over the centuries depending on rulers and defensive needs. Very important Classic Age (6th-3rd centuries B.C.) quarries of blocks and column drums were discovered in Punta Cannone and the port area. It can be assumed that the column drums for the Temple of Hera Lacinia, in Capo Colonna promontory, were quarried here. On the back side of the fortress, traces of a patterned stone wall similar to those present in ancient Phrourion were found where the original settlement stood. The Romans introduced a colony for the fleet control, as a consequence of a truce pact between Rome and Taranto. The commander Hannibal sheltered here on his way back to Carthage, and, for this reason, the settlement was called Castra Hannibalis for a long time.



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