The town dated back to 640 BC, was founded by the Chalcis and from then on it became a thriving center until the Roman time, later followed by a period of decline under the Byzantine caused mostly by the frequent raids of the Saracens.
In Roman times, along with the nearby Montebello was part of a defensive system designed to monitor access the S. Elia river, the privileged path to reach the Aspromonte.
Pentedattilo is considered today one of Calabria's most picturesque and characteristic town. For the visitor its a step in another world, offering a unique and extremely suggestive view, hard to describe...
...and if you are brave enough, you can take the road that runs along the mountain and admire the beautiful hawks and other birds! (For picture takers, the best time to visit would be at sunset).
The time , and life, has stopped in this little town many decades ago, the abandoned houses create a dramatic scenery that can not and must not be missed in the itinerary of anyone visiting Calabria.
After being completely abandoned in the 1960s, Pentadattilo is slowly coming back to life, a peaceful life built by volunteers from all of Europe, who since the 1980s have fixed streets and renovated houses, so that craftsmen could open their workshops and artists could perform for the “Paleariza” summer festival, and cinephiles could enjoy the “Pentedattilo Film Festival”, an international short film festival that is held every year between August and September.
The charm of the old country, the silence of these places, the spring blooms so abundant and colorful give this place an atmosphere all its own and makes you want to stay there forever to protect and take care of what is left.
The night illumination is spectacular and the suggestive atmosphere climbs a few notches.
According to a local legend, the mountain peaks represent the murderous hand of Bernardino Abenavoli, the baron of the town of Montebello.
Above, below and beside, almost same shot at different times.
The church of San Peter and Paul.
The Mediterranean art from Pentedattilo
The terra cotta products by Arghilla' are molded and decorated by hand. Each piece is unique.
The suburb has a strong evocative charge, with the ruins of the Castle remains and the SS Pietro and Paolo Church, which preserves the Alberti family tomb.
At 7 km from Melito, inland, on the tip of Monte Calvario at 250m above sea level, lies the ancient village of Pentadattilo (pente-dactylos-five fingers) talking its name from the rock above which has the form of a large hand.
Until 1811, before the unification of Italy, it was a separate commune. Pentedattilo is an evocative suburb which forms part of the Grecanica area of Calabria and is administratively a frazione of Melito di Porto Salvo.
Here, on the night of 16th April 1686, the famous strage of the Alberti family took place.
The two families, Alberti and Abenavoli, who for years had been in dispute, were the main participants of an amorous and political plot, which developed into the massacre of the Alberti family.
The reason was jealousy over the engagement of Antonietta Alberti to the son of the Viceroy, Don Petrillo Cortez; who had arrived to Pentedattilo to attend the marriage of his sister to Lorenzo Alberti.
In a wild impetus, almost all the Alberti family were massacred and the survivors were taken by Bernardino to his castle in Montebello Ionico.
Don Petrillo Cortez was taken hostage and the beloved Antonietta was forced to marry baron Bernardino in the church of San Nicola on 19th April 1686.
The Viceroy, on hearing the news, disembarked in Calabria and returned the favor with the massacre of the Abenavoli family, and confined Antonietta to a convent for the rest of her life.
Over the centuries, the massacre has given origins to various legends.
One of these states that the stone towers that overlook the represents the bloody fingers of the Abenevoli baron, ( the town is also been referred to as the 'Devil's hand)
A glimpse of the the rugged territory surrounding the town.
Interested in renting a house? Some are being restored ( 11 so far ) and are available for rent, weekly or monthly...usually they rent fast. Interested?
Ceramic Art by Arghilla'
The art of Nicola Tripodi is permeated by a sense of curiosity and passion as it explores the mazes of our land's history. It sometimes follows unknown or neglected paths, those hidden among the folds of minor folk culture, it is the culture of the people who live and celebrate it every day.
His figures are chosen from among objects of bygone days, when even things were known to possess a soul, but his work also tells stories of the sea and the land, of the symbols of tradition which he recovers and rereads, breathing new life into them and bringing them closer to our hearts.
It is the art of the earth and of an infinite universe of testimony and allegory which can still surprise us today.
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