BELMONTE CALABRO

Not too far from Amantea and the Tyrrhenian coasts is where one will come across Belmonte Calabro, on top of a hill and still surrounded by its Medieval walls.

History

On seeing Belmonte as one ascends from the coast, already suggests its defensive needs, which were satisfied by the founders of the village.
It was in fact during the Medieval period, during the time of continuous Saracen raids (IX century), that the inhabitants of some of the already existing country houses, united on the hills and erected a round tower, to which a further two towers (XII century) were added adjacent to it, and defensive town-walls.

The Castle was erected during 1270 following the revolt against the Angioinians of Amantea. After calming the revolt, Carlo I of Angiò ordered his Marshall, Drogone of Beaumont, to build a fortress in the hills, which assumed its founders name.
After ten years, a small village already existed, which took on the name of its Patron Saint; San Bonaventura.

The King entrusted the county to Pietro Salvacossa (1338), already noble of Ischia, and who in a few years also tried to put his hands on the country houses of Santa Barbara and Tarifi. He was however stopped by Queen Giovanna I of Naples. The same queen ceded the fief of Belmonte to Guglielmo Sacchi (1367), whose family administered it until the Aragonese ascension to the throne of Naples. The latter gave Belmonte in fief to Galeazzo Di Tarsia (1443).
The Tarsia family governed until 1573, when they sold Belmonte to Torino Ravaschieri, whose family were succeeded by the Pinelli family and finally the Pignatelli family. All these families left an architectonic imprint on the fief by erecting splendid nobiliary buildings.

After the proclamation of the Republic of Naples (1799), a freedom tree was planted in the square of Belmonte, igniting an unavoidable clash with the troops of Cardinal Ruffo. After the bloody rebellion calmed down, power returned to the Bourbons, who in only a few years had to face a French descent in Calabria (1806).
Belmonte, under these conditions, was under siege for a long time and only on 17th February 1807, was conquered by the French.

The Council of Vienna then restored the rule of Southern Italy to the Bourbons (1816), who stayed in power until the date of Unification into the Reign of Italy (1861).

An earthquake gravely damaged the village in 1905.

A visit to the City

Belmonte is proud of its Medieval imprint in the form of its defensive town-walls which surround the lower edges of the village.

Among the churches, the following are noteworthy: Collegiate dell'Assunta with canvases from the '700s, the Medieval Purgatorio Church (1270) and the Annunciazione Church with its beautiful stone portal.

The nobiliary buildings of the lineages who governed Belmonte, are also important: Ravaschieri, Del Giudice and Pignatelli.

Not much remains of the Castle after the earthquake of 28th March 1783, the French siege (1806-7) and the various plundering that followed.

One must not forget to taste the famous and delicious Belmonte tomato, culinary flag of the village.

Place of interest

- Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo (1586)
- Chiesa del Purgatorio (1270)
- Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione (1622)
- Convento e Chiesa del Carmine (1562)
- Convento e Chiesa dei Cappuccini
- Chiesa dell'Annunciazione
- Chiesa S.Pasquale Bylon
- Chiesa dei Vadi
- Palazzo del Rivellino (1579)
- Palazzo Barone-Del Giudice (XVIII sec.)
- Palazzo Pignatelli (XVIII sec.)
- Palazzo Ravaschieri della Torre (1640)
- Monumento a Michele Bianchi
- Monumento ai Caduti in Guerra
- Torri costiere

Museums

- Museo della civiltà contadina, Palazzo Baronale

Events

- The Carnival;
- Patron Feast of San Bonaventura on 14th April;
- Feast of the Madonna del Carmine on 16th July;
- Festival of Pasta with the “ i ziti de' piecoru” on 16th August.

BELMONTE CALABRO
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Calabria region of Italy

 

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