One will come across Gerace inside the Aspromonte
National Park, defended in a panoramic position along
the Ionian coasts of Calabria.
Its foundation was connected to that of the most influential
and powerful Locri. Its citizens would have founded the first
settlement during the VII century BC, on the cliff, where
during Medieval times, Gerace then developed.
The progressive decadence of Locri and the danger of frequent
Saracen incursions along the coast, beginning during the IX
century, pushed the citizens of Locri inland. Tradition wishes
that a Sparrow-hawk was followed in order to choose a place
for the foundation of the new centre, giving it the name of
Jerax, which in Greek precisely signifies Sparrow-hawk.
The centre then assumed the name of Hagia Kyriaké,
Híeriaky, Sancta Cyriaca and Santa Dominica.
The new centre was fortified and became one of the centres
in battle with the Saracens, who inflicted heavy losses on
the Byzantines during 952 and finally managed to storm Gerace
The Byzantines quickly reconquered the city and brought it
once again under the Roman Eastern Empire (around 1000) and
constructed the Basilica (1045).
A few years later, Gerace was conquered by the Normans commanded
by Robert Guiscard (1059) under whom the City inaugurated
a period of economic and architectonic development. New churches
were constricted, which are still present today in the village,
and the Castle.
The Cathedral was once more consecrated under the Swabians
(1194) in the presence of Emperor Frederick II (1222).
Gerace was conquered by the Angioinians (1266) and rose to
the title of earldom in the following century and became a
fief of Enrico Caracciolo (1348).
In 1480 the Greek cult ritual, an ancient Byzantine inheritance
was abolished in favour of the Latin one.
It changed hands to the Aragonese (mid '400s) and became a
marquisate and then in 1502 passed to Consalvo de Aragona.
The '600s was a black century for the centre, characterised
by repeated important seismic events which gravely damaged
the Byzantine and Norman buildings, which had to be heavily
The last nobiliary of Gerace were the Grimaldi's, who obtained
the fief in 1609 and who ruled it until the abolition of feudalism
After a brief pause of French domination (1806-1815), the
village returned under the Reign of the Two Sicilies, becoming
a Bourbon district capital.
Gerace adhered to the Carbonari motions (1820-21), paying
for this with the lives of some representatives who were later
hounded and executed.
A visit to the City
Gerace is an art coffer. The City gem of great value is
definitely the Assunta Cathedral (1045), the largest in all
of Calabria, which guards a great artistic patrimony in its
From the cliff high above, the important remains of the Castle
look down on the City. One can admire a remarkable panorama
of the territory from here.
There are many places of cultural interest which we would
like to list below. Among the main ones of interest for certain
are: the Byzantine Church of San Giovannello (X century),
the San Francesco Convent and Church (1252) and the S. Anna
The visit then passes through doorways, alleyways and Medieval
arches, with which Renaissance and Baroque elements converse
with some nobiliary buildings.
Gerace is an excellent departure point for excursions to the
Aspromonte National Park and to visit coastal centres, among
which we would like to point out the important town of Locri.
Gerace produces an excellent white wine called Greco di Gerace.
Place of interest
- Castello normanno (XI sec.)
- Cattedrale dell'Assunta (1045)
- Chiesa di San Francesco (XIII sec.)
- Chiesa di San Giovannello (X sec.)
- Convento di San Francesco d’Assisi (1252)
- Chiesa di San Giovannello (XI sec.)
- Chiesa di Santa Maria di Monserrato
- Chiesa di San Martino
- Chiesa di Santa Maria del Mastro
- Chiesa di San Giorgio
- Convento dei Cappuccini (1534)
- Convento dei Minori Osservanti (1612)
- Chiesa del Sacro Cuore
- Chiesa di Sant’Anna
- Chiesa di San Nicola
- Chiesa di San Siminio
- Belvedere Bombarde
- l’Arco dei Vescovi
- Palazzo del Balzo
- Palazzo Vitale
- Palazzo Delfino
- Casa Marvasi
- Porta del Sole
- Porta delle Bombarde
- Parco Nazionale dell'Apromonte
- Visita di Locri
- Nessun museo segnalato
- Il borgo incantato in luglio
- Festa di Maria SS del Carmelo in luglio
- Festival Musicarchitettura in agosto