Catanzaro (pronounced [katanˈdzaːro] ( listen);
Ancient Greek: Κατανθέρος, translit. Katantheros, or
Κατασταρίοι Λοκροί, Katastarioi Lokroi), also known
as the city of the two seas, is an Italian city of 91,000 inhabitants
(2013) and the capital of the
Calabria region and of its province.
The archbishop's seat was the capital of the province of Calabria
Ultra for over 200 years. It houses the University "Magna Græcia",
the second largest University of Calabria.
Catanzaro is an urban centre, with much activity, including some
coastal towns, such as
Sellia Marina and Soverato, and the
municipalities of Silas, with a total of 156,196 inhabitants.
Catanzaro is being consolidated to form a greater metropolitan area,
by the Region of Calabria, and in connection with the town of Lamezia
Terme, comprising 10 municipalities. This will lead to the creation of
an integrated area involving over 200,000 inhabitants.
During the summer months, the Ionian coast from
Catanzaro to Soverato
is an important tourist attraction, especially for the youth, and is
in the presence of several important structures located in the coastal
districts of the city and the towns of Copanello and Soverato.
Catanzaro is also known as city of the three V's, referring to the
three distinct features of the city, namely Saint Vitalian, the patron
saint; velvet, because the city has been an important silk center
since Byzantine times; and wind (vento in Italian), because of the
strong breezes from the
Ionian Sea and La Sila.
"VVV" was the symbol by which Catanzaro's silk industry was known,
identified for both its domestic and foreign markets, and iconic for
the finest fabrication of silks, velvets, damasks, and brocades from
4 Historical names
5 Main sights
6 Notable people
10 See also
12 External links
Catanzaro overlooks the Gulf of Squillace, in the Ionian Sea. The
Catanzaro stretches from the sea to an elevation of 600
metres (2,000 ft). The historic center is approximately 300
metres (980 ft) above sea level. The town dates back to the
valley of Fiumarella (formerly known as River Zaro). The Bishopric,
St. Tryphon (or San Rocco) and St. John (or castle) marks the city's
historical center and is connected to the North Sila. Due to its
particular geography, the municipality gets wet from the sea, and is
still subjected to a snowy winter. Catanzaro's rivers include the main
stream of the Fiumarella (in local dialect Hjiumareddha), which joins
with the river Musofalo, and the torrent Corach (formerly called
The climate of
Catanzaro is typically Mediterranean, temperate, and
characterized by a windy spring and autumn.
According to the 30-year average of 1961–90 reference, the average
temperature of the coldest month, January, came to 8.9 °C
(48 °F). The hottest month, August, is 24.5 °C
The climate, as mentioned, is marked by the presence of wind, even
high intensity, especially during spring and autumn. The annual
average intensity is about 4 knots (4.6 mph) with peaks at 6
knots (6.9 mph). The months of April and May are characterized by
strong winds and the "scirocco libeccio".
The annual rainfall is around 1,000 millimetres (39 in),
distributed in 87 days on average, with a long summer and a minimum
peak in the autumn and winter.
Certain assumptions trace the origin of
Catanzaro to an ancient Greek
colony, already in place, which became the land of Scolacium, believed
to have been built on the ruins of the ancient city of Trischines.
Other hypotheses identify Catanzaro's development to have grown from
various settlements scattered in the area of Catanzaro, Marina,
Tiriolo (formerly Teure), Santa Maria di Catanzaro, and on the hill
Trivonà (Trischines, along the valley of Corach which formed the old
"Land of Feaco"). The mouth of the river, according to legend, created
the ancient Ulysses Skilletion.
In the district of Germaneto along the valley of Corach, a Greek
necropolis of the fifth century BC and an ancient Roman settlement
were found. Archaeological discoveries show that the municipality was
active since the Iron Ages, flourishing with the populations of
"Vitulo", so called because they worship the statue of the calf, which
the Greeks renamed "Italoi" (worshipers of the calf), and governed by
the famous Italian king of the same name, brother of Dardanus and
ancestor of the Trojans.
Italy gets its name from this figure.
According to another legend,
Catanzaro was named after two Byzantine
generals Cattaro and Zaro who led the coastal city of Magna Graecia
Skilletion or Skillakion, corresponding to the Roman Scolacium (near
Catanzaro's Marina), first on Zarapotamo (today Santa Maria di
Catanzaro) and then later on Trivonà, a military fortress.
Catanzaro was always choice land due to its safe, high location, and
the territory was under several groups' control, including the
Saracens, Normans, and Venetians. The
Saracens were the first to push
the town's development to its highest regions by the second half of
the ninth century. Byzantine general Nikephoros Phokas was responsible
for the naming of the "Rock of Niceforo". Catanzaro's development into
a fortress town was established by General Flagizio, who began the
construction of a citadel, which later assumed the name of
Katantzárion. According to some assumptions, the name is inspired
from the development of workshops for creating silk, what the Greeks
call "Katartarioi" (Καταρτάριοι) (spinners of silk).
At the beginning of the tenth century (circa 903), the Byzantine
city was occupied by the Saracens, who founded an emirate and took the
Arab name of قطنصار - QaTanSáar. An Arab presence is evidenced
by findings at an eighth-century necropolis which had items with
Around the year 1050,
Catanzaro rebelled against Saracen dominance and
returned to a brief period of Byzantine control. In 1069, Catanzaro
was the last city in Calabria, after many months of resistance, to
fall under siege by the Normans of Robert Guiscard, who built the
Norman castle, still in existence today. During this era, arts and
crafts pioneered, and particularly the processing of silk, which was
traded with other regions in Italy, other countries and Eastern
In the 13th century, Emperor Frederick II made
Catanzaro a direct
possession of the crown. Later the city was the household feud of the
Ruffo, Caraffa and Soriano families. The Normans elevated Catanzaro
into a noble county, giving it to Peter Ruffo. The latter was lost in
a struggle against Manfred of Sicily, but he later returned to the
Charles I of Anjou
Charles I of Anjou signed the peace of the War of the
Vespers. For fourteen years, it was the royal domain of King Ladislao
of Naples, and in 1420 it was returned again to Nicholas Ruffo, who
gave it as part of a dowry for his daughter Enrichetta who was married
to Antonio Centelles. After a rebellion by the rural people, King
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon took control of the city. In 1460 there was a war
with the partisans of Centelles. When peace returned, the city was
granted new privileges which greatly promoted the development of its
silk industry, for which its damasks were known throughout Europe.
From this time forward,
Catanzaro firmly established itself as an
import center for its textile productions.
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor gave authorization for Catanzaro
to bear the imperial eagle attached to a coat of arms depicting the
hill tops of the town.
On 23 December 1961, at the Fiumarella viaduct near Catanzaro, there
was a serious rail accident, when a train derailed and fell about 40
metres (131 ft) into the river below. Seventy-one passengers lost
their lives on impact, and 28 others were injured to varying degrees.
Catanzaro was designated to be the capital of Calabria.
Catanzaro had different names, which correspond to different periods
of history through the city:
Katantza'rion, a Greek settlement
Chatacium, during Roman times
Qaṭanṣār - قَطَنْصَار, Saracen period (903–1050
Rock of Niceforo, Byzantine period
Cathacem, Norman period
Cathanzario, under the Kingdom of Naples
Catanzaro, under united Italy.
Matteotti Square (Piazza Matteotti)
Catanzaro Bridge, a well-known, one-arch bridge (Viaduct
Morandi-Bisantis)- one of the tallest in Europe.
Duomo (Cathedral). Built over a Norman cathedral built in 1121, in the
16th century it received a Renaissance façade which was however
destroyed in 1638. The church was almost entirely destroyed by the
bombings of 1943, and was later rebuilt.
Church of the Santissimo Rosario (15th or 16th century), with a
Renaissance façade and a single nave interior
Church of Sant'Omobono (11th or 12th century).
Byzantine small church of Sant'Omobono (11th century).
Chiesa dell'Osservanza, or Santa Teresa. In the interior is the 16th
century Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre and a statue of "Madonna delle
Grazie" by Antonello Gagini.
Remains of the Norman Castle.
Porta di S. Agostino and Porta di Stratò, two gates of which are the
last remains of the medieval walls, demolished in 1805.
Palazzo de' Nobili (15th century), now Town Hall.
Piazza Grimaldi, a town square named in honor of the House of
Grimaldi, who had branches that traded heavily within Catanzaro.
Nobel prize winner.
Mimmo Rotella: contemporary artist and inventor of the Decollage.
Filippo De Nobili: writer, poet, librarian, historian anti-fascist and
Catanzaro's current economy is mostly based on tertiary and services.
Industries are mostly medium and small-size companies working within a
Catanzaro is served by the SS106 Jonica state road which connects it
to the A2 motorway.
In the city centre is a line with three stations. A metropolitan
service (with c. 1,600,000 users per year, with 20 trains working) is
provided by Ferrovie della Calabria, with a total of 11 railway
stations in the city, plus others in 12 comuni of the hinterland. The
rest of the public transportation system is based on 49 bus lines of
AMC (Azienda per la Mobilità Catanzaro). The city counts two main
Lega Pro club
U.S. Catanzaro 1929
U.S. Catanzaro 1929 represents the city of
association football. They play their home fixtures at the Stadio
Fatti di Reggio
Catanzaro guide, city of Catanzaro, Calabria
Italy". Initalytoday.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Catanzaro.
Official website (in Italian)
Accademia di Belle Arti - Catanzaro
Calabria's History, Culture, Language and Genealogy
Calabria · Comuni of the Province of Catanzaro
Caraffa di Catanzaro
Isca sullo Ionio
Motta Santa Lucia
San Mango d'Aquino
San Pietro Apostolo
San Pietro a Maida
San Vito sullo Ionio
Sant'Andrea Apostolo dello Ionio
Santa Caterina dello Ionio
Sorbo San Basile
Torre di Ruggiero
Regional capitals of Italy
Trieste, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol