GERACE

Gerace is called the Holy Town for the many churches, convents and monasteries standing in its territory. It is an enchanting, well-preserved medieval village that includes Borgo Maggiore, Largo Piano, Borghetto and Città Alta. Gerace was founded around the 7th century by the refugees of the nearby Epizephyrian Locris, who had to leave their place to survive Saracen raids. They settled in Hagia Kyriaki (Saint Ciriaca), name that popularly was later changed into ierókion (small hawk), which formed the current name. Gerace cooking is rich and site-specific, and local specialties still follow the traditional recipes of the area. Fried food is commonly consumed; typical dishes are alatucia (pork rinds) with eggs and cucurdia, a kind of Aspromonte polenta. Meat dishes are mainly goat specialties. The production of ricotta and cheese following very ancient methods is renowned. Hand-made pasta is delicious and it includes maccaruni, a shape obtained by rolling dough around thin stems called mazzuni or cannici Tomato sauce and olives preserved in oil are typical Aspromonte preserves. Among cold cuts, capocollo and soppressata are delicious, especially when eaten with home-made bread. Sweets and pastries include petrali and zeppole (for Christmas time); n'gute and cuddhuraci (for Easter time); sciaruni made with puff pastry, ricotta and eggs; different types of pitte and scaddateddhi. Dried figs stuffed with walnuts and almonds, mulberries and costee (dried pears) are real delicacies. Among local wines, Cuvertà and Palazzi are very appreciated. Mantonico and dessert Greco di Bianco are DOC wines. Home-made liqueurs, like limoncello, citrus mix and nocino, are produced as well. High-quality olive oil, the leading product of Aspromonte economy, is obtained from centuries-old olive trees and pressed by the many ancient and modern olive oil mills present in the area.




 


Address Via di Sottoprefettura 1
  89040 Gerace (RC)
Phone number +39 0964 356243
Website http://www.comune.gerace.rc.it/
 

 

There is a group of houses in Gerace village, outside the town walls, where peasants and clay potters still live and work. Clay craftsmen work in tuff-carved caves and continue a tradition that flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Gerace has many architectural treasures, from the large Byzantine Cathedral to the tuff-carved houses where skilled potters still shape clay following ancient Greek models. Noble buildings have carved stone gates, the works of local stonemasons. Thousand-year old churches and tuff buildings, remains of the old castle in the upper town, paved narrow streets, everything here reminds the visitors of a fascinating past. The enchanting village has been included among Italian most Beautiful towns. The remarkable Byzantine church of S. Maria del Mastro, built in the 11th century at the center of the village, has a 17th-century façade. The upper area is called Borghetto and it is characterized by many medieval dwellings, some of which built on stone arches. The upper town is located on the flat top of the cliff and it includes Piazza del Tocco, the square where public assemblies were held. The most important noble buildings in Gerace overlook the square.

The Cathedral was partially erected on the rock and a Greek-Byzantine crypt that was probably built on an ancient oratory. The varied crypt columns support 9th-10th century sail vaults. The Cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption and it was consecrated for the first time in 1045 and later in 1222, probably at the presence of Frederick II of Swabia. It is the largest church and one of the most important in Calabria. It has a Norman structure and a Byzantine layout. The nearby Chapel of San Giacomo keeps the “Treasure of the Cathedral” with important liturgical furnishings and silverware, including a precious 12th century cross-reliquary from Jerusalem. The Church of San Francesco (1227) was once dedicated to Saint Lawrence, and the Monastery of the Friars Minor was annexed in 1252. The Gothic Church has a magnificent ogival side portal, with Norman-Arab triple decorated arches. The Church of San Giovennello stands on the Southern side of the Church, and it is a Basilian architectural jewel dating back to the 11th century. The church houses a well that was once employed as a baptismal font. The 18th century Church of Sacro Cuore, baroque Porta del Sole, charming Piazza del Tocco and Church of Sant’Anna are located in the lower village area.

Among the remains of the ancient castle, a round tower, rests of walls and some sparse relics are still visible. The castle was once connected to the town by a lift bridge, and it was a shelter for the population when the town was in danger. It was built during the Norman rule (1057-1060), and it was rebuilt in the 13th -14th century and remodeled again in the 16th century.



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