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The Castle

The castle of the towers   The ancient castle overlooking the river Straface was built by Robert Guiscard between 1034 and 1038 on a pre-existing Lombard fortress. Of triangular plan, it was different from all the others for its massive, wide and majestic towers that rise on the strong walls. Domus imperialis The Norman building was restored in 1239 by Frederick II, who stayed there during resting periods and lived there when travelling from Sicily to Apulia and vice versa. The castle of Amendolara then assumed the dignity of “domus

imperialis”, before the castle of Rocca Imperiale was built.

A belligerent outpost   In addition to receiving the Swabian emperor, it was an important station for passing riders, a safe haven for Basilian monks and a reference point for the Crusaders who set sail to the Holy Land. The castle, over time, also housed other personalities such as Helen of Epirus with the whole court of Manfredi.   Witness of pleasant and fatal events   Impregnable manor exposed to continuous struggles, it had limited periods of peace. In 1428, within its walls was born to a young girl belonging to the servants of the castle, Giulio Pomponio Leto, the great humanist of the Renaissance founder of the Academy of Rome. It is said that the woman, after giving birth, was transported in secret, on a stretcher, with the baby, to another house. Such secrecy was due to the fact that the father of the baby was none other than the lord of the castle himself, Count Giovanni Sanseverino. Within the walls of the manor even some real tragedies occurred: in its prisons, at the end of ’600 was imprisoned Giulio II Acquaviva Aragon and in the same castle his brother died from poisoning.   A visit to the castle  The current appearance of the fortress is the result of striking reconstructions dating from the late eighteenth century. Part of the walls and some towers were incorporated in private homes; what can be seen today is the access bridge in stone, replacing the drawbridge, the moat once filled with water, the polygonal tower and the Aragonese colonnade. Inside you can still admire a triptych fresco of the Neapolitan school dating from the late thirteenth century and depicting the Crucifixion with St. John and the Madonna.

The hen with the golden chicks The castle is not to be confused with the “Stone of the Castle”, a large limestone outcrop protagonist of a legend which recounts that at midnight on December 24th of each year, the rock opens and shows inside a hen with twelve golden chicks, some valuables and a dining table. This spell would only last a few seconds and it is said that many people remained trapped inside. On top of it there are the ruins of a time not yet specified. SOURCE: “I castelli della provincia di Cosenza: itinerari tra i paesaggi castellari” di Vincenzo Condino

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The History

The village of the almond trees A legend narrates that Epeo, the famous builder of the Trojan Horse, caught in a storm near the coast of Calabria, promised the goddess Athena to build a city devoted to her in the place where he would land safely. The request was granted so he built it, calling it Lagaria. The city of Magna Graecia later became Amendolara, a name probably deriving from the Latin amygdalaria (almond trees), with reference to the high production of almonds. The mythical island of OgygiaEpeo has probably not been the only Greek who arrived accidentally on the beach of the  Calabrian town. Another great traveler handed down by Hellenic tradition stayed for about eight years on the so-called Shallows of Amendolara, a strip of land flooded by the sea, 10 miles off the coast of the ancient Lagaria; following the route described by Homer in the Odyssey you might come to the conclusion that the submerged island is the mythical island of Ogygia, where Odysseus would have stayed as a guest of the nymph Calypso.

 

Warships on the seabed

Some historians tell us, however, that in 377 BC, the fleet of Dionysius the Elder, consisting of 300 warships, would have sunk in these waters. What is certain is that the area was already inhabited during the Bronze Age: in the oldest and most characteristic part of the country, the Rione Vecchio, stood the village inhabited by Protohistoric Enotri.

Religious life in the early Middle Ages

After undergoing the Roman domination, Amendolara had a flourishing religious life first with the Byzantine activity, then the Cistercian one, as evidenced by the numerous churches and hermit caves scattered over most of the territory. With the construction of the castle, around the year one thousand, began to appear Swabian dynasties, Angevins and the various Seigniories.

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Accommodation & Restaurants

ACCOMMODATION

HOTEL ENOTRIA

20, VIALE CALABRIA – 87071
0981915026

HOTEL ENOTRIA DI GESTINTUR SRL

VIA NAZIONALE – 87071
0981915261

HOTEL ENOTRIA DI GESTINTUR SRL

1, VIALE CALABRIA – 87071
0981915882

RESTAURANTS  RISTORANTE SETEA DI COSTANZO CARMELA

CTR. COLFARI – 87071 –

AMENDOLARA (CS)

THE WONDERFUL CASTELS IN BASILICATA - PUGLIA - CALABRIA - SICILIA

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