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Historical Highlights

Tradition has it that some families of Scigliano, fleeing feudal persecutions, came to this area rich in forests, with plentiful, drinkable and irrigable waters, where they decided to construct their houses. The year was 1383.
It was called Serrastretta by the inhabitants of Taverna who often passed through this area on their way to Nicastro. They first noticed the village nestled " between two high hills " (called Serre) -- this is the name still in use today.
Its was founded as a hamlet of the " University" (today "Municipality") of Feroleto Antico. Just before 1600 the town acquired the role of University by design of the Royal Court of Calabria Ultra.
Serrastretta was at first under the dominion of the dukes Caracciolo, then, because of several internal disputes it would in a later century yield all of the county of Nicastro to Count Carlo d' Aquino.
After his visit to Serrastretta, it remained an enchanted place to him so he decided to build a palace to use as a summer-autumn residence here, called " the Castle " and which still exists in the lower portion of the town.
At the end of XVIII century all of the territory came under the control of the Regal State Treasury which seized it from the last heir of the Aquinos and tranferred if to the King of Naples. It followed first, a period of submission to the Kingdom of Naples.

With the coming of Napoleon Bonaparte in Italy, the territories of Feroleto and Serrastretta, and nearly all of Calabria came under the dominion of French.
This gave rise to a long period of brigandage, of which Serrastretta also had to suffer. Large bands, composed mainly of Bourbon soldiers and partisans, often threatened to plunder and to burn the town, giving rise to violent clashes with the population.
Only thanks to an intense campaign by G. Murat and General Manhes this phenomenon eventually ended -- definitively.
With the death of Napoleon and the end of French domination, Ferdinand IV was returned to the throne of Naples and Sicily and the entire area passed under the control of the Bourbons.

 During those years the Carbonari, began and, saw its proponents in Serrastretta. The large tree ("'u Milucuacciu") that stood above the main public square of the town, planted by the Carbonari of Serrastretta, but unfortunately uprooted for several reasons of public safety, was a reminder of those events.

 The residents of Serrastretta have always been active in the large changes in history: from the revolution of 1848 to the campaign of Garibaldi in southern Italy; from the expansionistic campaigns in the middle east to the last two great world-wide conflicts.
In memory of those who died in these two wars a monument was erected in the center of town, formed from a large granite block topped-off by Winged Victory, a fusion in bronze inspired to the "Nike of Samotracia", work of the sculptor Fortunato Longo.

The years of the post-war period have also seen Serrastretta hit by emigration, with exoduses from Italy which have provoked a progressive loss of population in the entire town, which today only eases in the summer, with the arrival of emigrants and tourists for vacations -- when the town resumes its splendor.
 

In the photo: the monument to the fallen


Administrative Life

Politically, Serrastretta has been an important place. Elevated to a Municipality in century XVI, in 1807 it became the center of the Governor (or Justice of the Peace). Subsequently this center was transformed into a Pretura (Magistrate's Court), which remained active until to 1933.
In 1865 The Office of Agency of Direct Taxes and the Cadastre (land registry office) was created and made the head of an immense number of other municipalities, comprised Miglierina, Soveria Mannelli, S. Mango d 'Aquino and Falerna. A few years later an Office of the Registry and Brands (official stamps & seals) was established.
In the beginning of century XVII the center of Preventive or Correctional Jails was established, and remained active until recent time. During this period it became the center of the Fucilieri Reali (Royal Riflemen), which later transformed in 1860 to the Gendarmeria (Police station) and subsequently, under the monarchy, to the seat of the Carabinieri Reali (Royal Military Police).
From the proclamation of the Reign of Italy to approximately 1919, Serrastretta was the main center of the Political Electoral College, comprising many of the towns in the Catanzaro and the Sila Piccola areas.
With the onset of the Republic many of these operations have been gradually centralized, and Serrastretta has progressively lost its political importance.
Serrastretta was also one of the first towns in south Italy having electric power, thanks to a local power station built at beginning of this century, following the principles of the initiative of the " Societą Idro - elettrica Serrastrettese (Hydro-Electric Society (Co.) ", founded by Dr. Ernesto Puteri.

water-powered flour In the photo: an old water-powered flour mill at the edge of town


Beginning of Other City Centers

In the course of the centuries the inhabitants of Serrastretta have given origin to rural villages to cultivate the lands, which today have transformed into their own inhabited centers, and are recognized as districts. They number at least five: Migliuso, Angoli, S. Michele, Accaria, Cancello and beyond, there are numerous other districts. The most important event above the rest is the founding of the municipality of Sersale (CZ), which was begun in 1620 to work the colonies of Serrastretta.
They tired of the tyranny of the Aquinos, and obtained a concession to cultivate the territories of Zagarise from the baron Francesco Sersale Ruffo di Calabria. The village that progressively formed was given the name of Sersale, in honor of the baron.
In order to remember their common origins, the municipal administrations of the two towns have recently begun a gemellaggio (twin towns pact), formalized with deliberate actions in the months of August and September 1995.


Noteworthy Personalities

Of the many noteworthy and famous we particularly remember :
  • DALIDA': Yolanda Gigliotti - Celebrated Star of Italian song of this century.
  • Emilio DE FAZIO (1828-1877): Medical Doctor and Scholar. Wrote a great deal on cancer and miasma palustre.
  • Francesco Antonio GIULIANI (1738-1809): Philosopher, Scholar, Jurist. He wrote various treatises of rights and politics, the greater part unknown. In 1779 he illustred and published in Naples " Le Rime " of the Poet Pirro Schettini, and he was named Academic at the Telesio Academy of Cosenza.
  • Filippo BRUNI (1725-1803): Local Archpriest, Theologian and Scholar of Latin and Greek letters.
  • Leopoldo DE FAZIO (XIX sec.): University Professor and Journalist. He worked and lived in Rome for a great deal of time. We remember his many works of politics and patriotism.
  • Francesco MIRANTE (XIX sec.): Man of letters. Worked a great deal of time in scholastic circles, and wrote many works of didactics and history. He received many honorary acknowledgments, among which he received the gold medal in 1932.
  • Francesco MAZZEI (1833-1921): University Professor in various advanced institutes. Patriot.



    Index

    How to get to Serrastretta

  • From Catanzaro: take the highway of Two Seas (Due Mari) - exit at Marcellinara and proceed to Tiriolo (25 Km approximately)
  • From Cosenza: take the highway A3 SA-RC - exit at Altilia Grimaldi and proceed to Soveria Mannelli (30 Km approximately)
  • From Lamezia T.: take the provincial road to Fronti-Accaria-M.te Condro (20 Km approximately)
  • From Reggio C.: take the highway A3 SA-RC - exit at Lamezia T. - proceed on the Highway of "Two Seas (Due Mari)" towards Catanzaro - exit at S. Ippolito cloverleaf and continue as from Lamezia.
  • By train: From Catanzaro or Cosenza with the Railroads of Calabria.
  • By Bus: From Lamezia Terme with the Joną Bus Company. 

     

    Craftsman

    Besides its history, Serrastretta is known everywhere for its flourishing arts & crafts, its woodwork and for the production of furniture, kitchens, door-frames, casings and furnishings of every kind.
    First and above all other crafts are the woven-straw chairs, for which Serrastretta is considered to be one of the main Calabrese producers. The chairs makers continue to construct chairs as in old times -- a frame made of wood, to which the women expertly apply the woven straw seats with a special bush" vuda ", coming from the plants in the marshlands.
    The precious loom work requires much skill and many of the women still practice special hook weaving, the lace-pillow and the crochet.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Museums

    In Serrastretta there is a stable Museum of Rural and Artisan Civilisation, with original tools and reconstructions of activities of the past.
    Open all year and on request (by care of Town hall). Guided visits are also in English.

    Do not forget in the historical center the Ancient house of the craftsman, reconstructed meticulously in all its original atmospheres.
    Always open in the summer and upon request during the rest of the year.

    House of the craftsman: workshop of the chairs-maker



     
     

    Churches

  • Mother Church of B. V. del Soccorso: Structured like a Latin cross with three naves in the late Baroque style. On the walls numerous frescoes by several artists are present, among which is a Carl Zimatore. Also present inside is the esteemed wooden chancel, work of local craftsman, and an ancient baptismal source in green marble coming from the nearby Corazzo Monastery. Also noteworthy is the stone carved relief frame of the main portal with several decorative themes.
    The portals of recent manufacture, are in bronze with applied bas-relief representing scenes of daily life and religious symbols and events.Interno chiesa
  • Aedicula of Maria S.S. of Costantinopoli - Serrastretta
  • Church of Rosario - Accaria
  • Immaculate church - Accaria
  • Immaculate church - Migliuso
  • Church of S. Giuseppe - Angoli
  • Church of S. Michele Arcangelo - S. Michele


    Inside of the Mother Church


    Serrastretta's "Faggeta" (beech-wood)

    beech-wood For a long time competed between the numerous monarchs in the course of centuries, today the Faggeta represents a naturalistic patrimony and an immense value for the entire territory. With an extension of many many acres, under the strict control of The Forest Authority, even today several local craftsmen use it as the primary source of lumber for their work.
    At its begin region there is an ample zone equipped for pic-nics, preferred target by vacationers, with numerous barbeques and many other springs, all very in tune with the ambient surroundings.
    Recently various paths of varied length that can be covered by foot, or on mountain-bike or horse. -- have for the most part, been traced and mapped.

    Margari's stone

    Deep in the Faggeta is a large cliff encircled by vegetation, known by the name " the Stone of Margari ". Ancient legend says that the population of the Margari may have hidden their treasure here.
    Following an ancient ritual and with an exceedingly strong blow, it is said that the stone would crack and release all of its audacious its immense valuables.
    Up to now nobody is known to have tried it.

     In the photo: one splendid portion of the Faggeta

    Index


    Food

    Typical products of the area are dressed pork products ("soppressate, salsicce"), cheeses, mushrooms, dried fruits and sweets for the festivities.
    Chestnuts are found in the higher parts of town and olives in the hilly-areas where all of their derivatives are produced as well. Orchards and vineyards are in every territory, and above all of the districts.
    Don't forget to taste the "porcini" mushrooms specialties accompanied with the wonderful local red wine.

    Restaurants

  • Restaurant Chalet " Dalida' ": 096884116
  • Hotel Restaurant " Parco Pingitore ": 096881071
    Both carry out also pizzeria service with a wood burning furnace all year.

    Index


    Events

  • " Serrastrettese August ": there are several celebrations in August by the Communal Administration
  • Patronal festivity: September 8 and successive Sunday by the Parish B. V. of Soccorso
  • " Spectacles of folklore and popular traditions ": in August by the local Folk Group
  • "Serrastretta in the time": 10th - 11th August by > Pro-Loco   and Folk Group
  • Festivity of Madonna di Costantinopoli: last Sunday of May by the Parish B. V. del Soccorso
  • Festivity of S. Giuseppe (Angoli): last Sunday of July produced by a local committee
  • Immaculate festivity (Migliuso): August 16 produced by a local committee
  • Festivity of S. Giorgio (Cancello): End of April produced by a local committee
  • Immaculate festivity (Accaria): in October produced by a local committee
     

     

  • Falo'

    One of several "Christmas fires" realized in the town the 24th and 31th of December



     
     

    Fairs and open markets

  • Market every Friday of the month
  • " Fair of New Year's Day " - Decembers 30 & 31.


    Index


    Numbers of public usefullness

  • Town hall: 096881114
  • Polices officer: 096881002
  • Medical Guard: 096881310
  • Hospital (Soveria M.): 0968662171
  • Pro-Loco : 096861231-096881286
  • Pharmacies: 096881167-096886275
  • Bank (BPC): 096881056-096881300
  • >Cultural Association "Arcieri di Ulisse": 096881510
  • Folk group " Canterini di Serrastretta ": 096881442-0968662214
  • Airport (Lamezia T.): 0968414111
  • Station FS (Lamezia T.): 096851645
  • Railroads of Calabria: 0961745478
  • Bus company (Joną) : 0968463202
     

     




  • Realization 1996-1997 by Antonio Gigliotti - All right reserved

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