Unique Architecture

Among the most meaningful artistic evidences spread in Crocchio Valley’s territory they are marked for uniqueness and authenticity the Municipalities of Cropani, Belcastro, Taverna and Zagarise. Cropani, the archaeological excavations of which have discovered deep roots, since the Neolithic, and a Sanctuary of Greek origin with some coins dating back the beginning of its history in the VII century. B.C.. The Sanctuary is dedicated to a goddess of water with remains of offers to priests and gods, which used to provide services and refreshment to various Greek settlers following the streets connecting the ancient coast towns. Cropani used to be a place of food production and stopping point which used to supply the business companies and the armies fighting for the domain of the Ionian territories. The name Cropani derives from the Greek “Kropos”, which means loam, fertile land.

Going through its silent medieval alleys, they can be admired ancient and noble town houses, with the balconies in wrought iron and elegant stone portals, the old houses with the stairs outside with some gardens suddenly appearing dotted with colored geraniums, the archs of the underpasses,  the known Collegiate Church of the Assumption (XIV century)  rich of works of art underlining the renewed devotion during the centuries, the Church of Saint Lucia (XIII century), the ruins of the walls bordering the village, the Church of Saint Catherine of Alessandria (XVI century), the ancient Convent of the Capuchin Fathers (XVII century),  the Church of Saint John the Baptist (XVI century).

Belcastro, perched on a hill dominating the high valley of Nasari river, according to the tradition gave birth to Saint Thomas Aquinas. In the town, in the XIII century, it started the building of the Castle which dominates the village in height with its four-sided tower which got the name from the feudal family of the D’Aquino Earls. Interesting and noteworthy they are also the Church of Saint Michael (XVI century) and the Church of the Annunciation (XV century).

Taverna, once called Trischene, was founded at the time of the Greek domination in Calabria. In 1613 it gave birth to the famous painter Mattia Preti, called Calabrian Gentleman. The town possesses many important reasons of attraction: the Churches, among which they stand out the one of Saint Dominic (XV century) and Saint Barbara (XV century), the ruins of the Feudal Castle, the Museum hosting different works of Preti.

Zagarise, at the slopes of Sila, village of medieval origin, is known above all for the very beautiful Church of the Assumption (XV century); to visit also the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore where they came out frescos of the ‘500 and the Tower of Via Gorizia, probably built by the Normans.

On the territory of Crocchio Valley they are present important structural evidences characterizing the rural landscape: historical not urban settlement structures like hamlets, districts, homesteads, and structures of transformation of agricultural products which link themselves to the ancient cultivation traditions of the area: chestnut, grain, olive. In all the piedmont chestnut strip it is marked the spread presence of “Pastillari”, stone farmhouses used in the past to dry the chestnuts. In Crocchio Valley’s territory there are about 130 “pastillari”, the presence of which is concentrated above all in the Municipalities of Sersale, Cerva and Petronà.

In Crocchio Valley we find different Watchtowers built to defend the territory from possible attacks coming from the Ionian coast (XIII-XV centuries): Belcastro – Castle of the D’Aquino Earls, once a Norman Tower; Magliacane Tower; Botricello – ruins of Tagliacarne Tower; Cropani – ruins of the Tower of Crocchio or Torrazzo; Sellia – ruins of the castle; Simeri Crichi – ruins of the Byzantine Castle; Taverna – watchtower or Torrazzo; Zagarise – cylindrical tower.