AIELLO CALABRO

The ancient village of Aiello Calabro is situated in a panoramic position on a hill a few kilometres from the Tyrrhenian Sea.

History

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 Calabro.

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 its interior.

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

Museums

- Nessun museo segnalato

Events

- 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.

AIELLO CALABRO
Art City

Calabria region of Italy

 

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