The History

Geographical position - urban layout: Gerace is part of the Province of Reggio Calabria and is located at 492 meters s.l.m. Among the rivers Novito and St. Paul. Rupe dominates 50 km of coast and in the past has played a leading role in controlling the territory. From the Ionian coast, both from the north and from the south, you arrive from the SS 106 and take the SS. 111 at Locri's height. An alternative route to reach Gerace directly from the highway, for those who love mountain and nature, is to enter the height of Gioia Tauro directly on road 111 leading to the famous hilly center. It is also about one hour from the airports of Reggio Calabria and Lamezia Terme. The population of Gerace is about 3000 inhabitants. The city was formerly surrounded by solid harbor walls and urban gates that bordered its access. The old town was so enclosed in a kind of fortress which was accessed via the Uralic Gate. The inner streets were paved with a massive stone of "cozzo", ie vertically to curb both the impetuous movement of rainwater and the hoofs of the horses; The bottom was slightly dull so that it could drain the rainwater. The open spaces were destined for various functions: the Piazza del Tocco representing the Curia Civilis (an ancient seat of the local parliament consisting of representatives of the nobility, the bourgeoisie and the "masters"), the civil administration; Piazza Tribuna anticipates entry to the episcopal citadel, the Curia Episcopalis, the seat of the Mother of all Churches in the Diocese and seat of the bishop. The main artifacts of the noble buildings, which usually appear on the main arteries and on the squares of the City, are characterized by majestic portals on which the coat of arms of the house is engraved, lacquered by balconies that open onto open spaces like Courtyards and gardens. Around the offices of power extended the buildings of other wealthy and popular people. All these buildings characterize the gerache landscape that over time has developed in an orderly fashion and according to precise urbanistic criteria. Geo-physical structure: Gerace is placed on a conglomerate of rock-shaped rock-shaped plateau. The urban structure is structured on three fundamental nuclei: Borgo Maggiore, Minor Village and Città Alta. The city has adapted its morphological structure in relation to the orographic connotation, outlining the main structures to the functions acquired over time (Cathedral and Citadel, Castle, Square, Upright Gate and Defensive Walls). The defensive walls were intertwined, as can be seen from the axonometric drawing of Giovambattista Pacichelli (XVII century), by a series of urban gates structured and distributed according to a precise criterion that respected the orographic and morphological structure of the City. In the Borgo Maggiore there were four entrances: to the southwest the door of the Barbara, to the south the door of the Borgo Maggiore called Portella or Piana, to the west the door of Tracò (in connection with the street and the door of the Sederìa that allowed 'Access to the locality of the High Zone and the Castle), to the north the gate of St. Lucia. The Borghetto had its own door called also Porta Maggiore. Two other important ports were the internal and external calls of the Bridge. The first allowed access from the part of the low area called Mergolo, the other was located inside. The High City was controlled by the inner door of the Sun (so called because it faces east) or the Bombarde (as there was a firebox there), from the door of the Coffin (the name of the church above) to the east and from That of the Sederìa (ie iron-rich area) to the west. The northern area was dominated by the mighty castle of the Castle. Almost all the doors were flanked by sacred buildings. Other visible accesses in the above-mentioned Pacichelli plant have disappeared. At the doors were added the defensive walls surrounding the center and the sight towers, erected during the Aragonese period to defend themselves against the Turks, of which remains S. Siminio. History (from the origins to our days: works of art, architectural structures, illustrious characters): Numerous churches, palaces decorated with windows and portals made by local stonecutters, a tangle of streets and alleys make Gerace a rare example Of urban texture that embraces several centuries of history. The city has been influenced by the uses, customs and architectures of the various domination of the Kingdom of Naples; From feudal lords, rulers as well as, preponderantly, from the Church, being Gerace millenary bishopric. In fact, for a long time, the Latin ritual with the Byzantine convention coexisted.
This is evidenced by the basil worships still present such as the Annunziatella and the little church of S. Giovannello Where for some years the ancient Greek Orthodox rite was periodically served. And then the churches of St. Mary of the Mastro, St. Catherine, and magnificent buildings of Latin worship, such as the Cathedral, which dates back to the Norman period that denotes the influence of Byzantine style. Structures that resemble a striking historical-artistic synthesis of architectural elements that resemble the different cultures present in Gerace that over time had about 100 monasteries, convents and churches. Such a massive presence of sacred buildings is explained not only by the presence of the bishopric, but also by the high number of lay laureates. The story of Gerace is rooted in the presence of ancient prehistoric and protostorical funds, of which there are many testimonies. At Contrada Stefanelli, a pre-Roman Necropolis was found. Up to now, 27 tombs of rite dormitory have been explored, with a regular chamber with side quays, dating to the Early Iron Age. Jewelery, armies, scarabs, spirals, spearguns, ivory glass and amber objects, pottery, are deposited at the museums of Locri and Reggio. The finds found testify to a well-armed and advanced agro-pastoral civilization that has trade with the East and Central-North Europe. Known by the Greeks and Romans, who probably used the rock to control the hinterland, the Byzantines and Normans play an important role in the land control economy for its outstanding strategic position, becoming also "Beautiful, Great and Famous Town "As was defined by Al-Edrisi, a geographer following Ruggero II of Altavilla. Successive political administrations also appreciated the qualities of Gerace until the Second World War when it was in the forefront of the area. After a period of subordination to Locri Epizefiri and the Romans, he began to repopulate with the arrival of the Byzantines and the transfer of bishops from the now abandoned Locri to Aisha Kyriakì. The displacement of the main settlement nucleus from the navy to the cliff occurs not only because of the Arab invasions, but also for a re-evaluation of the resources of the Hinterland, in a prospect of economic, demographic and coastal zone control. The Arabs have ransacked the city several times, but never succeed in conquering it. In the year 951, the Saracen army, in order to avoid the clash with the Byzantine army, was content with a tribute accorded by the people of Gerace. The following year, the Muslims returned a striking victory over the Byzantines near the Merima River. But Gerace was not plundered. The Arabs returned after 20 days to take over the strategic fortress, but the City was still spared for the timely intervention of a Constantine official who agreed to a truce with the Emir after paying a heavy ransom. Gerace was ruled by the brothers Guiscard and Ruggero the Norman were fighting power with weapons and especially with cunning. During an episode of their adventures, the wife of a local lord for assisting one of the two contenders was impaled: "The muggle was forced and full of mischief in the back, and when it was swollen, great cruel men were dead" (Fra ' Simone da Lentini). Under the Kingdom of Frederick II, the City experienced building upgrades but also the contrasts between Church and State. With Angioini he was infused with Ruggero di Laurìa, losing the status of Free City. In the order of institutionalized feudalism and excessive fiscalism, the city government was left to Narcisio Paglierico Ruggeri. In 1300 Roberto, Duke of Calabria, removed the Feudo to Lauria, declared Gerace à Regia, and in 1342 the famous bishop II of Seminara, of Greek and Latin of Petrarca and Boccaccio, entered. On July 26, 1348, Queen Jovan I lifted Gerace to assign it to the Great Cameroun of the Kingdom Enrico Caracciolo. The Caracciolo died, the fief in 1360 was handed over to the Grand Siniscalco Niccolò Acciajuoli, Florentine, and returned in 1363 to the son of Enrico, Antonio Caracciolo. When Caracciolo was dumped by King Carlo De 'Durazzeschi in 1385, the lands were assigned to Alberico Barbiano of Faenza, Great Contestable of the Kingdom, Captain of the Company of St. George. In 1390 Antonio Caracciolo was reinstated by King Charles. Subsequently, in 1392 the county was assigned to John and then to Battista Caracciolo. Following in 1443 Giorgio Caracciolo and in 1446 the first Marquis of Gerace, Tommaso Caracciolo. During the apostolic of Aymerico (1429-1444), the most important modifications of the Cathedral are made with the construction of the Chapel of SS. Sacramento in the western apse. From 1458 to 1473 Gerace returns to be a Township, ruled by Correale Marine Corps. In 1473 King Ferrante assign at the the City at Enrico d'and after the death of those who will die in 1478, the Sovereign grants the Marquis to his nephew Ludovico D'Aragona. In 1480 under the bishopric of Constantinople Calcopulo the abolition of the Greek rite by the Diocese was adopted and the Latin one adopted. During the fall of Charles VIII in Calabria in 1494, for two years the marquisate was occupied by Eberard Stewart D'Aubigny. Following, after the defeat of the French, Ludovico D'Aragona, in 1496, who left Cardinal, left the lands to Brother Carlo until 1501. In the meantime, to defeat the continuous invasion of the Turks, the defensive system is strengthened through a dense network of towers Coastal observation. El 1502 Consalvo de Cordova, called "El Gran Capitano", was married Marquis of Gerace by King Ferdinand the Catholic. The city gains importance for silk production but especially for strategic-military value. Gerace remains in the hands of the Cordova until in 1558 it was sold to Genoese Tommaso De Marinis and by these in 1574 to the Genoese Battista Grimaldi. The ascending parable of this family begins with Giovan Francesco and Giovan Girolamo, first of Gerace (1609). In the first half of the 20th century, the Diocese was ruled by Commendatus Bishops (including Cardinal Bandinello Sauli who enriched the Crypt of the Cathedral of Marbles). Between 1571 and 1582 Tiberius Alfarano, Chierico Beneficiary of St. Peter in Rome, was commissioned by the Roman Curia to draw the Ancient Vatican Basilica. The innovative spirit of the Tridentine Council led to the episcopal throne Tiberius Muti (1538-1552) who made three important pastoral visits. They followed: in 1552 Andrea Candida set up the Seminary and provided the Cathedral with a precious choral choir wrought with scenes from the New and Old Testament; The historian Octavian Easter and Vincenzo Bonardo (1591-1601), accused of being sympathizing with Campanellian cause. Turks are becoming more and more pressing. In 1638, in front of the Gerace marina, six Maltese galleys capture three pirate tartars, killing 80 men and capturing 300. In this turbulent climate, letters and limbs flourish; Palaces and important religious buildings arise. After the brief Austrian viceroy (1707-1734), the policy of Charles III of Bourbon, strongly opposed to the temporal power of the Church and the feudal lords through a series of reforms in favor of disadvantaged classes, was suffocated by the strong opposition of the landowners And the change of government following his rise to the Throne of Spain (1759). The period is characterized by a flowering of sacred buildings due to legacies or laity initiatives that will characterize the territorial organization and the urban-man relationship. Since the '500, Gerace had a Frumentario Mountain, a Monte de Pegni, a Mount of Maritages in favor of the poor girls of the Borghetto (XIX century and the hospitals of St. James (active in 1507) and that of S. Gennaro From 1730 to 1748, the figure of the Prelate campanario fonso Del Tufo was dominated, and he gave impetus to the clerical cultural formation, spending a huge sum to restructure the Cathedral and buy what is today a major part of his treasure. Bishop Pier Domenico Scoppa (1756-1793) bought the artistic silver statue depicting the Assumption, while France was governed by the new revolutionary princes and Naples was fremed with the Savior Parthenopean of 1799, the geracese bishop's seat was entrusted to Vincenzo Barisani who reopened the Seminary after the ruins of 1783. With the French (1806-1815) Gerace was elevated to the Capoluogo di Distretto And subordinate. The overthrow of the feudalism operated by the French can not overcome the overwhelming power of the ancient and new feudal lords. Meanwhile, the cathedral, which had undergone major changes after the earthquake of 1783, was restored in 1829 by bishop Giuseppe M. Pellicano. The year 1840 marks the birth of the first homes in Locri, promoted by some wealthy families of Gerace and by bishop Luigi M. Perrone. In September 1847, a scream of "Viva Italia, live the freedom!" Bursts out an insurgency headed by some young people from the Gerace district. The Bourbon Tribunal condemns capital punishment Michele Bello, Gaetano Ruffo, Domenico Salvadori, Rocco Verduci and Pietro Mazzoni who will be shot on October 2, 1847 in Piana di Gerace. Upon the unity of Italy, the Piedmontese government will only add taxes; Annihilate every embryonic form of industry and commerce; To force populations to emigrate and apply patterns of life alien to South culture. In 1880 the Tribunal's activity began in Gerace Marina and the following year the transfer of the municipal headquarters took place. The friction between the two centers is done Increasingly marked until in 1905 their separation occurred. The hilly town takes the name of Gerace Superiore and then returns to the early Gerace in 1941. One of the most beloved bishops of the Diocese was certainly Baptist Chiappe (1922-1951). He did six pastoral visits. He was humble and helpful. During the last world conflict he was spared the outbreak of a deadly dust that would have brought about catastrophic consequences. On September 5, 1943, after blasting a first deposit at Calvary, at 17 o'clock, the Italian command ordered ordering a second powder containing bullet bullets. Twice the fuse repeatedly turned off. At the third order an artillery captain, without the orders received, threw himself on the cord, blocking the combustion. The Geraches, attributing the episode to divine intervention, in 1947 drew gratitude to the statue of the Immaculate, a golden crown embellished by two splendid brillants donated by Pope Pius XII. In 1954, Bishop M. Perantoni, among the few tumults, realized the project of some of his predecessors to relocate the bishopric to Locri. The hilly city, even if plundered by this last historical bastion, suffering from systematic burial by men, does not lose its cultural importance. In 1970 the Hospital Day-Lungodegenza was opened and in 1986 the ring road was inaugurated. In the last few years much has been done and much remains to be done to adequately value the medieval village in projection of systematic development of the territory. Gerace is half of a world-wide tourism that finds its history, in its unmatched architectural beauty, a motif of great interest. In Cities, regular schools and universities converge for their insights. Significant also the religious tourism presence and that of the elderly and foreigners. Like all the countries in the South, this Center also suffers from the problem of emigration linked to the lack of productive activity. The etymology. The meaning of the name Gerace revolves around at least three hypotheses. The first is linked to the history of the Locri magnogreca to which it would seem to be connected as an acropolis (Hieros-akis = sacred summit). The second assumption is related to the Locresi refugees who, by the end of the tenth century following the propitiatory flight of a sparrow (in Greek Hierax) laying over the rocky massif, founded a new city on the rocky massif. According to other historians, the name would be a bribery of S. Ciriaca, or Ajia Kiriakì, of Byzantine origin, as it was formerly called Gerace.