Belcastro is an ancient Medieval centre
of Sila Piccola which enjoys a beautiful panoramic position
on the Jonic coasts of the Squillace Gulf.
Its foundation seems to date back to the Byzantine era (VI
century AD), even though recent finds from digs dating back
to the Bronze Age, could make one imagine a continuous human
settlement beginning in the 2nd Millennium BC.
Historically, certain information sees Belcastro as an Episcopal
seat (IX century) during the Byzantine age and a fortified
centre already beginning in the VIII century by the name of
Geneocastrum. The walls were erected to defend against Saracen
attacks, as they were already established in Sicily since
'830. The latter finally stormed the village (896) and occupied
it for 40 years.
The Byzantines redeemed Belcastro during 936 but had to cede
it again with the arrival of the Normans (1065), who assigned
the centre to the Faloch family and made Belcastro a county
of the Reign.
During this period, the Faloch family alternated power with
the Aquino family, to whom the administration of Belcastro
passed permanently in 1277. This latter family ruled the centre
until 1373, the period when it changed name to Bellocastum
The rise to power of the Sanseverino family (1373) only lasted
a short while due to their insubordination to the crown. Belcastro
passed firstly to Count Pietro Paolo of Viterbo (1404) then
was sold to the Ruffo family (1427).
From this time on, the fief ended up as a dowry of the Spaniard
don Antonio Centelles, who being responsible for the rebellion
against the crown, lost all of his assets comprising Belcastro,
which then returned to the Spanish Crown (1444).
In 1462 the village was assigned to Enrico of Aragona, son
of Ferdinando I, and in 1472 to Ferrante de Guevara, who was
part of the Conspiracy of Barons, causing him to lose his
The fief went to Giovan Giacomo Trivulzio (22 April 1487),
who, when the Franco-Spanish War broke out, decided to line
up against Carlo VIII (1497), who then lost the conflict,
leaving France on its knees.
In 1500, Belcastro was acquired by Countess Costanza d'Avalos
d'Aquino and in the space of a few years, the village passed
hands to Alvise d'Aquino (1528), Alfonso d'Avalos (1541),
Ferrante d'Aragona (1542), Tommaso de Diano (1548) and Scipione
Imperato (1554). Giovan Battista Sersale finally interrupted
this dance of power by acquiring Belcastro in 1577 for 80
thousand ducats. His descendants governed until 1673, a period
when a terrible earthquake damaged Belcastro (1645).
The Caracciolo family then ascended to power (1673), followed
by the Poerio (1714), de Mayda (1746), who ruled until 1755,
the year the Poerio family returned.
During 1799, Belcastro adhered to Republican ideals, inaugurating
a period of clashes with Cardinal Ruffo's troops, who reclaimed
the settlement until 1803. The same year, it returned to the
Poerio family who governed until the Unification of Italy
San Tommaso d'Acquino was born in Belcastro. He was a member
of a powerful feudatory who governed the village during the
A visit to the City
The Castle (XIV century) dominates the hills of Belcastro,
with its beautiful Mastra Towers. Here one can also admire
the ex S. Michele Arcangelo Cathedral (XII-XIII century) and
the ancient city walls.
Descending down the beautiful alleyways of the historical
centre, one will come across the Pietà Church, which
preserves a wooden Byzantine Madonna in its interior (XI century),
the 15th century S. Rocco Chapel and Palazzo Poerio, constructed
during the '600s by Sersale.
The Byzantine Castle remains situated on the Timpe hills,
are also noteworthy, as well as the S. Maria della Sanità
From Belcastro, one can easily reach the Sila National Park,
and undertake interesting naturalistic excursions.
Place of interest
- Castello dei Conti d'Aquino
- Palazzo Poerio (1645)
- Cattedrale di S. Michele Arcangelo (XII-XIII sec.)
- Cappella di S. Rocco (XVI sec.)
- Chiesa della Pietà (XVI sec.)
- Rione Castellaci
- Resti del Castello Bizantino sul colle Timpe
- Chiesa della SS. Vergine dell'Annunziata ('400)
- Palazzo Poerio
- Ruderi della Chiesa di S. Maria della Sanità
- Resti della Torre del Crocchio
- Resti della Torre di Magliacane
- Visita di Santa Severina
- Visita di Sersale
- Visita di Zagarise
- Visita di Andali
- Visita di Cropani
- Visita di Petilia Policastro
- Nessun Museo segnalato
- Patronal feast on 7th March.