Acri is a fundamental popular artistic locality
of Calabria which is spread across three hills in a panoramic
position overlooking the Mucone and Chàlamo
torrents at the edges of the National Park of Sila.
The territory where Acri lies was frequented since the Eneolithic
period (3.500-2.800 BC) as demonstrated by digs carried out
and subsequent finds on the slopes of the Dogna Hills.
Some identify the ancient city as that of Pandosia and others
still with Acheruntia, an ancient Bruzi city.
Mindful of its proud past, Acri did not willingly accept domination
by Rome and therefore sided with Hannibal during the Second
Punic War, paying for this choice through besiegement by the
Romans (203 BC).
Finally at peace during the Imperial era, Acri enjoyed a period
of economic development facilitated by peaceful politics inaugurated
by Augusto, and which was continued by successive emperors.
After the end of Rome it entered as part of the Odoacre Reign
(476-493) and then the Ostrogoth Reign of Teodorico (493-553).
In the ambit of clashes during the Greek-Gothic War (535-553)
Acri was once again besieged by Totila and his troops who
plundered and almost completely destroyed the city (542).
The Longobards made it their Gastaldo (an administrative ward
governed by a civil employee of the Royal Court) until 896
when it was conquered by the Byzantines and entered into the
territory of the Eastern Roman Empire. Acri was besieged,
plundered and conquered numerous times by the Saracens and
had to wait more than a century to return to a stable governmental
situation under the Normans of Robert Guiscard, who assigned
the city to Count Simone Cofone (1074).
In a period (XII century) characterised by heavy clashes between
powerful monks from neighbouring abbeys and Norman feudatories,
Acri was heavily damaged by an earthquake (1185). It was only
during Swabian ascension to the throne (1194) that it once
again prospered economically thanks to the silk trade.
Like the rest of Italy, it passed under the Angioinians (1268)
and suffered bad economic administration. Nevertheless, Acri
remained faithful to the French until 1462 when it was besieged
by the Aragonese who penetrated the City after betrayal by
an Acri citizen. This led to devastation, pillage and homicide
as well as the S. Maria Maggiore Church, which had accommodated
women and children, being set alight. Commander Nicolò
Clandioffo was sawed alive in the public square.
The same history was repeated 30 years later in reverse with
the same characters: the Aragonese were besieged by the French
(1496) under Carlo VIII who destroyed the castle and sawed
alive the nobiliary of Acri.
During 1799 the City adhered to the Republican motions paying
for this choice 7 years later through besiegement and destruction
by the Sanfediste troops (1806).
The liberal feeling did not diminish and Acri actively participated
in the Carbonari motions (1820-21) as well as the Renaissance
ones (1848) and later those of the Unitarians (1860).
The Blessed Angelo was born in Acri (1669-1738) and the Poet
Vincenzo Padula (1819-93).
A visit to the City
There are many places and artistic attractions in Acri. We
can begin with its two splendid churches. Although both suffered
various earthquakes over the centuries, they have preserved
their historical and architectonic value.
One must not miss a visit to the S. Maria Maggiore Church,
which was readjusted during the XVII century and which preserves
a wooden crucifix in its interior from the '300s.
The 16th century S. Francesco of Paolo and Madonna of Rinfresco
are also noteworthy.
Other works of art can be found in the Cappuccini Convent
and the Medieval Annunziata Church.
Acri still preserves its Castle ruins and is embellished by
the presence of nobiliary buildings, today seat of museums
such as Palazzo Sanseverino and Palazzo Ferraudo.
- Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Palazzo Sanseverino
- Museo Beato Angelo, Convento del Beato Angelo
- Museo della Civiltà Contadina, Palazzo Ferraudo
Place of interest
- Chiesa di S. Maria Maggiore
- Chiesa dell'Annunziata (1269)
- Chiesa di San Nicola Ante Castillum o San Nicola di Mjra
- Resti del Castello
- Chiesa della Madonna del Rinfresco (1521)
- Chiesa ed il convento di San Francesco di Paola ('500)
- Basilica del Beato Angelo d'Acri
- Chiesa di Santa Chiara (1724)
- Chiesa e Convento di San Domenico (1524)
- Chiesa e Convento dei Cappuccini (1590)
- Chiesa di S. Francesco di Paola ('500)
- Chiesa di S. Nicola
- Chiesa di S. Caterina
- Palazzo Sanseverino (XVII sec.)
- Palazzo De Simone-Julia
- Palazzo Julia (XV sec.)
- Palazzo Padula
- Palazzo Astorino Giannone
- Palazzo Spezzano
- Palazzo Civitate
- Serra Crista di Acri
- Visita di San Demetrio Corone
- Abbazia di Sambucina
- Lago di Cecíta
- Parco Nazionale della Sila
- Sausage and meatball festival in February;
- San Giuseppe Fair on 19th March;
- Chestnut Festival in October;
- Fair of the Blessed Angelo at the end of October.