The ancient village of Aiello Calabro is
situated in a panoramic position on a hill
a few kilometres from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Not much is known for certain about its origins through archaeological
digs but some associate it with the Greek city of Tyllesium
or Temesia. Various archaeological campaigns are trying to
throw some light on the subject.
To date, digs have uncovered remains which go from the Paleolithic
era to the Iron Age, but with scattered finds.
However, its position near to Via Popilia or Annia, which
during 132 BC linked Reggio to Capua, has to confer the strategic
importance of Aiello for the entire Imperial era.
Aiello, like other cities of Calabria and Southern Italy,
was attacked and devastated by the Saracens (981).
The Aiello Castle would definitely have been important, if
at the time the Normans of Robert Guiscard tried in vain for
4 months to besiege the city; being only victorious when the
inhabitants allowed its conquest.
Under the Swabians (1194), Aiello acquired major importance
and belonged to the noble Riccardo, son of the Archbishop
of Salerno. For this reason, its inhabitants opposed the descent
of the Angioinians (1266) in Italy and rejoicingly adhered
to the Ghibelline Revolt of 1268.
Having beaten the opposition, Carlo I of Angiò and
his successors imposed an oppressive fiscal regime which earned
them antipathy from the entire population.
It was only with the arrival of Alfonso I of Aragona (1442)
that the situation improved, thanks to commercial development.
The King removed the Sersale administration, which was of
Angioinian nomination, and entrusted it to Viceroy Siscar
(1463), whose heirs stayed in power for more than a century.
During the subsequent centuries, the power changed hands to
the Cybo Malaspina (1574), who administered Aiello until the
arrival of the Bourbons in Southern Italy.
During this period, the village suffered famine (1604), economic
crisis (1622) and the destruction through terrible seismic
activity during 1638. The population diminished and only the
nobility resisted the economic crisis and also constructed
new nobiliary buildings.
During 1783 a further earthquake destroyed a large part of
the Castle and in 1799 its inhabitants adhered to Republican
ideals linked to the Partenopea Republic. Revolt was suppressed
shortly afterwards by Cardinal Ruffo's troops, but re-ignited
once more in 1801 and finally in 1806, even though this time
against the French, by now owners of Naples (1806).
In 1925 the centre assumed its present day name of Aiello
A visit to the City
Aiello, though offended by numerous earthquakes during its
history, still preserves its Medieval Matrix city plan with
inserted Renaissance and Baroque elements such as balconies,
masks and heads.
The first religious building one will come across is the S.
Maria Maggiore Church with its beautiful portal (1493) and
bell tower. It also contains a polychromed marble altar in
Walking further up, one will come across the S. Maria delle
Grazie Church and Palazzo Cybo Malaspina with its elegant
travertine façade. The S. Cosmo and S. Damiano Church
contains a beautiful '500 portal and the Parochial of San
Giuliano complete the visit to religious buildings in Aiello.
The Siscara Castle, which was gravely damaged by seismic activity,
preserves only some towers and parts of the walls.
Place of interest
- Ruderi del Castello dei Siscara
- Parrocchiale di San Giuliano
- Chiesa di San Cosmo
- Chiesa di S. Maria Maggiore (1493)
- Chiesa di S. Maria delle Grazie (1473)
- Chiesa di San Giuliano
- Chiesa di S. Francesco (1718)
- Palazzo Cybo Malaspina o Giannuzzi
- Palazzo dei Belmonte
- Palazzo Maruca
- Palazzo Civitelli
- Palazzo De Dominicis
- Palazzo Longo o Pucci
- Palazzo Di Malta (1600)
- Il Parco Archeologico di Serra Aiello
- Nessun museo segnalato
- The Feast of the Madonna delle Grazie on 1st and 2nd July;
- Feast of San Geniale on the 1st Sunday in May;
- Festival of Santa Lucia on 13th December.