Polistena was founded between 950 and 1050 when, due to numerous attacks by the Saracens, the inhabitants of the coastal stations were forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in the inland areas. After the domnation of the Normans, Swabians and Anjou, the city became part of one of the largest and most prosperous fiefs of Southern Italy, ruled by the Lords Milano-D'Aragona. The next century was characterized by a series of earthquakes and a long period of famine, and for these reasons the local economy suffered a setback. The rebirth started in the early decades of the XVIII century, probably due to the proclaim of Polistena as capital city of the fief of the Milano Family, princes of Ardore. Completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1783, the reconstruction was entrusted to the architect Schiantarelli, who designed the new town planning based on the old Roman scheme.
Sites of Interest:
- the Mother Church, dedicated to Saint Marina, the patron saint of the city. It was rebuilt after the earthquake of 1783, on the lands that used to belong to the Dominicans, on which stood an old church dedicated to Our Venerable. The church originally featured a single nave plan, while the two side aisles were added in 1852. The interior décor is of the XIX and XX centuries and preserves the altar from the original church, in polychrome marble, on which stands the XVIII century statue of Santa Marina. It also features a series of paintings by the artist Francesco Jerace, a native of Polistena;
- the Church of the Trinity, which overlooks the underlying plain of Gioia Tauro, with its characteristic majolica dome. It was rebuilt in Neoclassical style in the late XVIII century, after the 1783 earthquake. The interior features a single nave plan and preserves precious works from the XVII to the XIX centuries;
- the Church of the Rosary, built between 1852 and 1862 by Raffaele and Alfonso Rovere. The interior features three aisles and a XIX century choir and wooden sculptures of the XVII and XIX centuries;
- the Church of the Immaculate (XIX century), located in the oldest part of town. The building features a single nave plan with two side chapels, it houses a Baroque altar in polychrome marble, completed in the XVIII century;
- the Palace and the Chapel of the Milano - D'Aragona Family, built after 1783, and now entitled to the Riario-Sforza Families;
- the decorated portals of the XVIII - XIX century noble residences and palaces (Rodinò, Sigullò, Avati, Cavatore, Jemma and Amendolea).