/ / Gerace: photo description (Gerace)

Gerace: photo description (Gerace)

Gerace is a small town in the province of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region of Calabria. It is located 10 km from the ancient town of Locri, on top of 500-foot cliff. The city's name comes from the Greek words for the Sparrowhawk. According to legend, the first inhabitants of these places, fleeing from the attacks of the Saracens in 915 the year, followed by a hawk-Sparrowhawk, which led them to the mountains. However, archaeological finds made on the territory of modern Gerace, they say that in these places people lived in the Neolithic period. Later, in the heyday of the ancient Greek colony of Locri, a settlement remained on the hill, and in Roman times it housed a military garrison. After the Byzantine conquest of Italy in the 6th century Gerace had become an administrative, military and religious center, which received the name of Santa Ciriaca. And in the 11th century in Calabria appeared Normans, the city became the center of one of the Norman principalities. Its symbol was Otila castle (in Italian Castello Altavilla). At the end of the 13th century, during the so-called Sicilian Vespers, Gerace was occupied by the Aragonese Admiral Roger of Lauria, who turned the city into his fief, but after only half a century Gonzalo de córdoba once again made it a Principality. Only in 1806, the year with the abolition of feudal rights Gerace became a provincial capital. Still later, in the 19th century, the coast was built by the district Gerace Marina.

The main attractions of the city today can be called the ruins of the Norman castle that once stood on the cliff-top. Of particular interest to visitors is a perfectly preserved medieval center of Gerace, where there were 128 churches. From them remained only a part of the Church of San Francesco of the 13th century with a priceless Baroque altar, the Greek Church of Santa Maria del Mastro the end of the 11th century tiny Church of San Giovannello the 10th century and the magnificent Norman Cathedral, one of the largest in Calabria. Inside it consists of a Central nave and two side aisles, separated from each other 26 th columns, brought from ancient temple Locri.