This small town of about 1350 inhabitants, is located on the southeastern edge of the Calabrian Serre, on the Ionian side. Its altitude varies from 600 to 1370 m. In the past it was the poorest village in Italy, today it exploits the great tourist interest due to the archaeological findings of 2002. The Mardites of Nardodipace, known as “Le Pietre” are huge complexes of stones merged with each other from an archaeological point of view as well as anthropological are very interesting and attract the attention of both tourists and scholars. Formed by simple fractures almost certainly caused by the movements of the earth, they are made of quartz and granite and, being positioned on elevated hills, are very similar structurally to English megaliths, which has provoked fervent discussions over the years. The question is still open even if the seismic theory has taken the upper hand on the theory of a hypothetical civilization, that of the Lestrigoni described by Homer in the Odyssey, which colonized these territories and left an almost indelible mark of populations prior to colonization by part of the Greeks. The Megaliths, are located in two distinct areas: one mainly in the town of Nardodipace Vecchio, to be counted among the “ghost towns”; the other in Nardodipace, Ragonà and Santo Todaro, where farmers meet again who tell the story of a territory inhabited for thousands of years. Granite rocks of the Upper Paleozoic are clearly visible in the whole area, with varying heights and which mark an area of ancient anthropization. The agglomeration that forms the hill is in fact more likely to be the combination of different circular structures, underneath the current turf, similar to heaps, of Celtic matrix or very similar to the British megalithic structures. Therefore according to the Department of Archeophysics of the University of Turin, these megaliths are astronomically aligned just like the most famous English site. But they may have also had a religious purpose as a place of prayer or funerary like tombs.
Kaulonia or Kaulon was a colony of Magna Graecia, whose remains are located near Punta Stilo, in the municipality of Monasterace, in the province of Reggio Calabria.
The area around the site on which the polis insisted is called by the Kauloniatide archaeologists.
Archaeological research is consistent in identifying in the eighth century BC the period of foundation of Kaulon by the Achaeans; while the Crotonian influence, corresponding to the period of maximum splendor, can be dated to the 6th century BC
The city was limited to the south by the river Sagra, on whose banks in the sixth century BC the famous battle took place in which Kaulon allied with Kroton was defeated. Defeated again by the tyrant Dionysus I in 389 BC saw the deportation of its inhabitants to Syracuse. It was also prey to Hannibal in the Second Punic War, and ended definitively in the orbit of Rome by Quintus Fabius Maximus in 205 BC. Literary sources attest that Kaulon had a port with double landing located at the mouth of the Fiumara of Assi and was so a city that traded in timber ,. rich in raw materials such as stone, magnesia, salt, gold and lead, it would also be a center for the production of metal products and pottery.
The first excavations were carried out in 1911-1913 by the archaeologist Paolo Orsi, demonstrating how the structure of the city provided for the existence of a main urban center, surrounded by walls and placed at sea level, inside which there was a temple Doric, of which the foundations are still visible today. Outside the circle of walls, another important cultural center was located. From this area come some favissi, fragments of boxes, frontal sime, sime with lion-headed gutters. Of particular note are two exceptionally well-made mosaics, both depicting a dragon, one of which covers an area of 25 m² and is therefore considered “the largest Hellenistic mosaic found in the South”. Both mosaics are currently on display at the Museo di Monasterace. In 2013 the archaeologist Francesco Cuteri and his team discovered one of the largest mosaics of the Hellenistic period of the late fourth century BC, about 35 square meters large. Found in the ruins of a thermal structure, the mosaic is divided into 9 polychrome squares, and another space with a polychrome rosette at the entrance to the room. Also in 2013 is discovered in the urban sanctuary, a bronze table of the fifth century BC with a dedication in the alphabet Achaean, with graphic style stoichedón (letter by letter), developed on 18 lines. It is the longest Achaean text ever found in Magna Graecia.
Museum and Archaeological Area of the Ancient Caulonia – Monasterace SS106 Ionica – Contrada Runci – 89040 Monasterace (RC) tel. 09220.127.116.11 – fax 0918.104.22.168
Open to the public: from Tuesday to Sunday
ROCCELLA IONICA – Greek columns
Roccella Jonica is located 16 meters above sea level, in the province of Reggio Calabria. The town still preserves the remains of its ancient history. On the seafront we can admire two monolithic columns in Egyptian porphyry, which were part of a pagan temple remained unedified and that were
found in the Castellace – Melissari area, where probably the ancient Portus Auxonius, better known as the Port of Maccapè, was located. The history of the columns has inspired various hypotheses among these, one wants them from Egypt and destined to Rome, while another supposed them belonged to a Greek Temple, dedicated to the Diòscuri Castore and Pollùce. The discovery dates back to 1868, and the two columns were transported to the village of Roccella. Each column is almost 7 meters high and weighs more than 12 tons. Currently the two columns are located between the waterfront and Piazza S. Vittorio, where they were installed in April 1985.
MARINA DI GIOIOSA IONICA – Greek-Roman theater
The Greco-Roman Theater is one of the most significant examples of transition between the Greek theater and the Roman theater. The building, in fact, offers the testimony of the gradual passage between the type of the traditional Greek theater and the evolved forms of the Roman one no longer leaning or dug into a hill, but built into buildings. The building, dating back to the II century BC, was discovered in 1883 and brought to light by the excavations of the Superintendency of Bruzio and Lucania concluded in 1925. The theater, built in limestone and brick, has a semicircular shape and presents the open koilon direction of the sea. Originally, the cavea probably contained twenty rows of seats, of which only ten have been preserved, consisting of low walls on which stone and terracotta slabs rest, which brought the total capacity to about 1200 seats. The pulpitum wall, which supported the ancient stage, presents an alternation of semicircular and rectangular cavities, and on its sides there are two small stairs in sight. The theater, rising on a flat ground, was built on an “aggestus” of earth and sand, which caused the collapse of the upper part of the cavea.
GIOIOSA IONICA – Archaeological area of Naniglio
Outside the historic center of the town there is an archaeological site discovered and brought to light in the 80s (between 1981 and 1983) thanks to the work of Professor Alfonso De Franciscis of the University of Naples. This is a Roman villa in Naniglio, built towards the end of the first century. BC and that reached its maximum splendor around the III century AD, then undergo a slow and progressive abandonment in the following centuries. The plant is organized according to a main body of elongated shape, with two smaller bodies attached to the ends. The archaeological excavations have highlighted the lower sector of the complex. The element of great interest, due to its exceptional state of conservation, is the large hypogeum cistern with three naves, which was accessed from the upper level in ancient times by means of a spiral staircase. The roof of the cistern consists of a set of cross vaults, supported by eight square pillars arranged in two rows. At the two ends of this residential area there are some rooms, with polychrome mosaic floors with geometric patterns and plaster painted on the walls. Excavations recently conducted (2010), but still unpublished, have brought to light a large octagonal hall and several channels, one of which was probably connected to the cistern. In the area to the south of the latter there is also a complex of ruins not yet excavated, which corresponds to the spa district.
Many doubts still if to recognize in the Naniglio a temple: its structure, the word Naniglio that is equivalent to Temple of the sun, the discovery in the neighboring area of a marble bust representing a Gemio-Mitriaco and a bronze coin of the emperor Giuliano the Apostate who advocated solar worship.