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Caulonian itineraries
Artistic and historical guide

by Nicola Frammartino

  by Teresa Giamba
  by Gustavo Cannizzaro

From prehistoric...
by Maria Teresa Iannelli

by M. P. Castagna

by Gustavo Cannizzaro


 Itinerary N. 1
  by Gustavo Cannizzaro

 The high area "Susu"
  Part one
  Part two

 Itinerary N. 2
  by Gustavo Cannizzaro

 The low area "Jusu"
  Part one
  Part two

 Itinerary N. 3
  by Gustavo Cannizzaro

 The Territory
  Part one
  Part two



























































Itineraries – Itinerary II (second part)
by Gustavo Cannizzaro

The Teatro Vecchio (old theatre)  ex church of San Leo

The 1600s church was built by local hands. It is planned in the shape of a Latin cross, some of its features, such as the dome, suggest more ancient roots, but because its builders were local hands, the technical construction model was probably the ancient Basilian domes. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1783 and was restored during the following years. It was the home of the Arch-confraternity of the Immacolata until 1842. After that the building was deconsecrated and turned into a schoolroom then a theatre and finally into a municipal storage place. In 1985 following the restoration subsidised by the Municipal Administration, the building became an exhibition room, for conferences and displays and concert hall for the town’s brass band: “Città di Caulonia”. Leaving the theatre and carrying on down the Via del Carmine one reaches the small Largo del Carmine where the church of the Arch-confraternity of the Immacolata and the Souls of Purgatory, stands.

Church of the Immacolata

Church of Immacolata

This home of the homonymous arch-confraternity, used to be part of the destroyed convent of the Agostinians. The church’s facade, recently restored, is laterally delimited by double pilasters on which the cornice and the gable rest. The only decorative elements are the great doorway and the niche above it which is decorated with a fresco of the Immacolata. Leaning on the left side of the church is the beautiful 1700s bell tower, also recently restored in its brilliant colours which were typical of southern XVIII and XIX century architecture. Inside, the church is embellished by late 1800s stucco decorations. It has one nave and four lateral altars, two of which date back to the 1700s. The barrel vault, with stucco decorations, has a big, central, oval painting dated 1933 and signed by the Neapolitan artist G. M. Girosi.

Church of Immacolata (interior)

It depicts the proclamation of the Immacolata’s dogma. The balustrade in blended marble separates the nave from the presbytery. On the altar there is a statue of the Immacolata in white marble which Frangipane recognised as XVIII century Sicilian style. The wooden sculpture of Christ belonging to the XVIII century, with its pathetic expression and its fashioning follows the great Neapolitan sculptural tradition. Also the wooden statue of the Immacolata, XVIII and XIX century,

is probably in serrese style. The statue originally had other elements to it: clouds, angels and a full cape which were eliminated and substituted by a real cloth dress and cape so as to facilitate the statue’s transportation during processions. Lastly, there is the starry halo of the Immacolata, made by the goldsmith Franco Cannizzaro and his brother Emilio Fameli. The halo is made of two concentric rings of about 850g of gold. On the external ring, at equal intervals, there are eight pointed stars in gold plate with a half carat brilliant in the centre of each one. The two rings are held together by a pattern of geometric triangular rays which enclose small gold globes with stylised palmettes which radiate from a one carat blue sapphire.

Among the furniture there is an organ with an independent resonance box with a span divided by a small pilaster decorated in gold wood. The date, 1771, is inscribed on the doors which are painted in oil colours to resemble marble. The pipes are distributed in two spans (nine per side, descending externally). The registers with pommel stay rods are on the right of the “window” keyboard  and the pedals are encased. Next to the church is what remains of the elegant garden.
Backing away from Largo Carmine, Via Teatro is met.
It it inclined and narrow and it snakes between

the stone houses ending on the very steep Via Sant’Antonio.This last street ends with the homonymous old Gateway which used to be the main entrance to the city. Of all the four entrances to the town, this is the best preserved one. The external facade of the gate is surmounted by the Carafa coat of arms while the internal facade still has its original wooden architrave. Like all towns of ancient origin, it was encircled by walls and gates. Wanting to reconstruct these walls as they were in medieval times would be difficult because of scarce information until the XVI century; however as for the 1600s and 1700s, there are both documents and prints to testify them. Farther Fiore, at the end

Via T. Campanella

of the XVII century, wrote: “the city is enclosed by strong walls with ramparts at regular intervals, with huge bronze cannons which make it invincible”. In the print published by the abbot Pacichelli during the first years of the XVIII century, it was obvious how the 1600s walls had been made to exploit the place’s natural defences. Along the entire north western side of the town where there is a high cliff, there is no fortification at all, while on the south eastern side there is an uninterrupted wall. In the southern area, precisely where the church del Carmine stands, because of the land which descended towards the valley in narrow terraces, there is a defence system of  watchtowers and ramparts. Along all the oriental side, the walls are studded with watchtowers until the draw bridge. The defence system is completed by four entrances. On the western side is Porta Amusa, so called because it went from the town to the homonymous river, thus to Roccella and Gioiosa. On the south eastern side is Porta Allaro, also this leading to the homonymous river and so to Motta Placanica. Under the castle was the “pusterla” as small entrances which rose on narrow and low passageswere called. Lastly, on the south side of the town stands the Porta del Redentore, now Porta Sant’Antonio after the nearby church. About this entrance Father Fiore wrote: “…Porta del Redentore, or royal entrance with a tall bastion above it from which two great walls are visible which are flanked by bronze cannons which defend it in times of trouble, from May to October, manned by citizens who stand guard night and day”. Returning up from Porta Sant’Antonio, Via San Biagio rises immediately to the right.

The narrow and steep alley ends in a flight of steps which lead near to the apse of the small church of San Biagio. Turning right at the beginning of this alley, on the left is the 1st Vico San Biagio interesting for its spontaneous buildings and a beautiful stone staircase which, after a small ramp, splits into two asymmetric ramps sustained by a typically southern vaulted brick wall. The alley ends in a precipice from which one can admire the vast panorama of the high part of the town. Today the San Biagio area has lost its old morphology thanks to the hydro-geological reassessments which eliminated quite a number of houses that made up one of the most ancient areas of the historical centre. Thanks to consolidation work, a small clear area has been obtained and a small square has been built. Returning to Via San Biagio and carrying on along it, number 9 exhibits an interesting entrance doorway in granite and pink tuff. That is all that is left of an interesting building which was the old convent of Santa Maria di Valverde before it was moved to the high part if the town. Descending, and turning right onto via San Gerolamo one reaches the small San Gerolamo square, and, after a steep descent, one crosses Via Vallone to reach the begining of Via Tommaso Campanella which snakes back up hill, with brief steps interspersed, to the place whiere the palazzo Asciutti, with its important late 1700s granite doorway, rises. This entrance is the work of Serresi hands and it repeats the decorations of the entrance to the ex convent of San Giovanni Teresti at Stilo in the arch’s frame. Via Tommaso Campanella becomes less narrow in the tract in front of this building , it then becomes Largo Manganello which leads to the clearing known as Bellavista. From here, the panorama is that of the last tract of the valley of the Allaro river made beautiful by the green citrus plantations which stretch to the Ionian Coast. The inhabitants of Focà and of Marina di Caulonia are also a part of the panorama. The small square of Bellavista is supportes by a wall of local stone built in 1954. At the foot of this wall is the “Mascina” (a Greek word which indicated the place where myrtle grew in abbundance). The urbanisation of this area began in 1930 and among its buildings are the Municipal palazzo, built in fascist style, and  the new church of san Zaccaria which houses an interesting electro-mechanical nativity scene and three big paintings by Ciccio Ammendolia in 1967, of the Beata Vergine, Christ, and San Zaccaria. Leaving San Zaccaria, which is also a bus station, one meets Via Roma which descends to Via Port’Allaro. Passing the Porta Allaro, at the civic number one, there is a doorway built in tuff which is surmounted by a coat of arms on which the date, 1771, is inscribed. Retracing a few steps one finds the Portella hill. Like all the internal streets, it has been re-paved in river stones as it used to be before the 1960s when cement covered it. This hill joins Via Strati and leads to the high part of Caulonia as a kind of shortcut. At the top of via Strati, Via Nobili begins. It sports narrow spaces, dumping arches, gangways and cramped houses and leads to Via Badia. The first part of this road leads to a small square where traces of an old palace, now completely ruined by alterations super-imposed constructions and adaptations. It is still possible to see the granite staircase which splits into two flights after the first. The structure is completed by a loggia which develops on two sides. The staircase has been deprived of its wrought iron which decorated it for years. Opposite this palazzo are the ruins of another palce which stand as testimony to the way in which the town’s buildings reached above the “Miserte” area with their bastions. The Miserte were balconies that went right round the cliffs on which Caulonia is built. They crumbled away following earthquakes and atmospheric phenomena. Via Badia carries on to Largo San Nicolello which is encompassed by the side of the church of Santa Maria dei Minniti on one side; from here, after a short descent, one returns to Piazza Mese.

Asciutti palace

Allaro gate

Asciutti palace

Vineda (Mese square)

ex Nescis palace

Sant'Antonio gate

Hyerace palace

Cricelli palace

Mese public square


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