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Santa Severina

Description

This small town of the province of Crotone, still keeps intact precious traces of a rich history and culture. The origins of the village date back to Ages of the Enotri, an Italic population, that inhabited the region in the IX century B.C., while between the VIII-IX centuries A.D., Santa Severina became an important Byzantine trading center. Traces of this historical period, built into the rock, are preserved in the Byzantine district, called Greece. During the Norman rule , a castle was built on the ancient "kastron" and the town was proclaimed "royal city" and its inhabitants of Greek origins, started to Latinize. The fief submitted the domain of several feudal families, of which the most important was the one of Gruther that, from 1691 to 1806, became the Lords of Santa Severina.
The urban structure retains its medieval features, perched on a steep hill, on the summit of which stands the imposing Castle and in the nearby old center, the Cathedral of St. Anastasia is located in the beautiful main square.
Not to miss:
- the Main Square, recently paved, which features an elliptical shape characterized by a compass in the center and a symbolic decoration, representing the planets, alchemical symbols such as those of gold and other precious metals, which, in this context, seem to be related to those of time and the Seasons.
- the Castle is one of the best preserved examples of Norman military architecture in Calabria. Built where once stood the antique Byzantine "kastron", it was restored in 1496 by Andrea Carafa, at the time, Lord of Santa Severina. In the mid-XVI century it was reinforced with the battlements of the massive walls, a masonry bridge and a deep moat. In the XVIII century, under rule of the Gruther Family, the core of the tower was turned into a mansion and the main floor was redecorated with frescos of the artist Francesco Giordano. Today, the castle houses the Archeological Museum of Castles and Fortifications in Calabria, with relics of various periods from the Bronze Age, through the Classical period, with exhibits from the Byzantine, Swabian and Angevin eras and a walkthrough itinerary on the evolution of the architectural structure of the castle.
- the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, the symbol of the religious authority in opposition to the political one of the castle. Its foundation dates back to 1274 and of the original structure remains very little after the rebuilding of 1705 and renovations of the last century. One of the few remaining original features is the portal, art work of the South Italian stonemasons. Noteworthy are the other XVIII century stone portals, carved by the craftsmen of Rogliano, as well as the XVII century polychrome marble altars;
- the Baptistery, adjacent to the cathedral, a jewel of Byzantine art and probably the oldest monument of this period in Calabria. Built between the VII and IX centuries, probably as "Martyrium", it features a circular design inscribed with a Greek cross, covered by a dome and a smaller cylindrical fairing. The eight columns inside are definitely of the classical era and still visible are several inscriptions in Greek;
- the Diocesan Museum, located in the archbishop's palace, near to the Cathedral, which hosts one of the most important collections of religious art in Calabria;
- the Church of Santa Filomena (or of Pozzoleo), located behind the castle. Its foundation date to the XI century and features a Byzantine system. The name is linked to an ancient legend of a child that fell into a well and was miraculously saved by the Madonna. Outside it presents two twin portals of Norman ancestry.

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