The Greek in Calabria finds its foundation in the “Tema tis Calavrìas”, the western province of the Byzantine Empire of which the region constituted for centuries an outpost.
An extraordinary journey through Greek Calabria, through the lens of Lorenzo Melissari.
Roghudi, the “ghost” village. Roghudi Vecchio is located ten kilometers from Bova. After having crossed an impervious road to the north in an incredibly evocative landscape, you reach what is a real “ghost” village. Roghudi, in fact, due to two floods in the early seventies, has been depopulated. The two events have pushed the population to leave the country, despite the resistance of some elderly people. The contrast with Bova, today, is strong. In fact, it passes from a well-kept town to a ghost town, where time has stopped. Its name derives from the Greek rogòdes, “full of crevasses”, and is rather evocative of the environment that surrounds it. The village, in fact, is perched on a rock that extends into the great and suggestive fiumara Amendolea. The territory surrounding the village is a continuous alternation of cliffs and landslides. The country can be visited with a guide. Because of the bumpy road and the state of neglect of the village, we advise against visiting Old Roghudi alone.
Pentedattilo, without inhabitants but full of life. Closer to the sea and at a lower altitude, rises one of the most beautiful ethno-architectural jewels of the Greek area: Pentedattilo. Its name derives from the Greek Pentedàktylos, “five fingers”, due to the shape similar to a hand of Mount Calvary on which it is perched. Pentedattilo is uninhabited from the early sixties. But unlike Roghudi – which is now in a complete state of abandonment -, it maintains its charm unaltered thanks to some youth associations that have given new life to the town. The stone houses, adorned with prickly pears, have become lodgings for widespread hospitality.
Gallicianò, another part of the Municipality of Condofuri, is the only village currently entirely Hellenophone, although the language remains here used in an increasingly exclusively domestic environment. Thanks to its structural isolation, it has kept intact its cultural, artisanal, musical and choreutical traditions and has developed in its inhabitants a strong spirit of aggregation and hospitality, peculiar characteristics of the Greeks of Calabria.
Bova is the “capital” of the Greek area. Since the time of Magna Graecia, he has played for this area of Calabria the economic and cultural fulcrum. It was an important city even in the Byzantine period when it housed the bishop’s seat.
The life of the historic site of Amendolea, a fraction of the Municipality of Condofuri, was very painful: repeatedly devastated by the Saracens, in 1099 became a fief of Richard Amigdalia, in 1495 of the Abenavoli and finally of the Ruffo from which it takes its name the Castle that dominates the valley of the same name. Condofuri itself was founded in the fourth century AD, during the Byzantine colonization, probably on the site of the Peripoli locrese. Of its ancient origin it remained a trace for a long time especially in the religious rite and in the dialect spoken by the population.
Castello di Sant’Aniceto
We are on the cliff of the Castle of Sant’Aniceto, one of the most breathtaking viewpoints of Calabria, in the town of Motta San Giovanni (Reggio Calabria), a small village of just over 6 thousand inhabitants located in that area of Greek culture that below various aspects – starting from the surviving Hellenophon tradition just reconsecrated with the opening in Bova (Reggio Calabria) of the Museum of the Greek / Calabrian language – preserves a direct line with the Magna Graecia and the Byzantine. civilization.
Bruzzano has ancient origins. According to a thesis it was founded by the Greek colonists.
Brancaleone vecchio, anciently called Sperlinga, from the Greek Spèlugx, or cave, stands on a ridge that is a little less than 300 meters high. This center was built on a vast complex of rock environments, used by hermits between the 8th and 10th centuries. d.C., as places of meditation.