Catanzaro faces onto the Gulf of Squillace in the Ionian Sea. Main city of its own province, the city occupies a strategic location on a land strip in the heart of the Mediterranean and for this reason was a compulsory stop for the maritime courses between Europe and the Middle East. A legendary tale connects the city to the history of Skilletion and its foundation is credited to Ulisse. The city, built on three hills, extends between the district Marina, the district Sant'Elia and the Sanctuary of Termine. Till 1805 the three mile fortified walls was almost intact: the city was a fortress with bulks, bastions and civic fortified entrances. In some high points of the city, on a nice day of good weather, it is possible to clearly admire both the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian Seas.
The name of the city is for certain of Byzantine origins (katantz'arion, which translated means: city built on a terraced land strip). The inhabitants introduced the fine art of styling silk fabrics to the European Continent, which made Catanzaro famous and wealthy. After the Byzantines the city submitted the Saracen domination, which was followed by the Norman and the Aragon dominions.
The actual Cathedral is built on the ruins of an antique church of 1064 entitled to the Madonna dell'Assunta and of the Saints Pietro and Paolo, which was destroyed in more than one occasion by earthquakes, fires and the air raids in 1943. The new building, completed in 1960, has the original plan features: the bell tower (42 metres tall) is topped with a bronze statue of the Assunta, artwork of the sculptor Giuseppe Rito. The structure is a Latin Cross shaped building with a main central nave and hosts ten paintings, masterpieces of Lorenzo Jovino of Salerno, who also is the author of the Triumph Arch that features the Sacred Trinity. Situated in the portico is a group statue of "the Madonna and Baby Jesus" which is dated to the end of '500.
The chapel of San Vitaliano, patron Saint of the city, hosts a bust of the Saint of the XVI century.
Suggestive is the large organ of 3206 pipes and 90 commands. Other artworks, furniture and decorations, saved from the raids are preserved in the Dioceses Museum.
The complex of San Giovanni was built between '400 and '600 on the ruins of a Norman castle, using part of the old rests of the previous building. Of this complex are: the Church of Santi Giovanni Battista and Evangelist, the Congrega dei Bianchi di Santa Croce. Another two buildings are the Hospitio and the Convent dei Teresiani which were used as a military base and prison. After a lot of refurbishments they have become seats of important cultural events and exhibitions.
At the back of the Cathedral rises the Santissimo Rosario, the Renaissance façade and the inside preserves a unique nave with a curved barrel vault.
Of the '600 is the Church Monte dei Morti and della Misericordia, a Greek Cross shaped building with a superb Baroque portal.
The only survivor of various disasters in the Byzantine district is the small Church of Sant'Ombrone, of the X century, spiritually connected to Costantinopoli and the Greek- Orthodox religion.
The Fountain of the Cavatore, artwork of Giuseppe Rito completed in the Sixties, stands out for the contrast between the colours of the bronze, which celebrates the work of the craftsmen and the grey granite basement from where the water springs out. Both elements are placed between Neoclassic brick nichel (built between 1869 and 1874).
The Fountain of Santa Caterina was finalized at the end of the XIX century by the most important foundry of Europe, the Société Anonyme des Hauts-Forneaux & Fonderiese du Val D'Osne.
No to miss: the ruins of Torre Cavallara (XVI century), the Monument in honour of the Garibaldino General Francesco Stocco, the Monument entitled to the Heroes of the First World War (1915-1918), The Anchor or Monumento entitled to the Lost at Sea, the Politeama Theatre, the Coach Museum, The Risorgimental Museum, the Province Museum "Villa Margherita" and the Silk Museum.