The toponym rocca is probably related to the vulgar Latin word rocca, meaning rock or cliff, but also a fortified place, a fortress built on a high site. Rocca Imperiale settlement probably was founded around the year 1000 by wish of Frederick II of Swabian. It was in fact the Emperor who chose the place as a stop-over where his soldiers could stay on their route from Sicily to Apulia. Frederick II ordered that a castle be built on a rock, and he called it Rocca Imperiale. Evidences show that the village was founded at the Emperor’s time, though many scholars date the settlement back to many years earlier. The scholar Lorenzo Quilici excludes the possibility that a large village could be located there in the Classical age, due to the vicinity of the Greek-Roman village of Timpone del Ronzino. It might however be a functioning station of the Early Medieval castle of Murge di Santa Caterina, that was abandoned in that period. In Middle Ages, Rocca Imperiale replaced the ancient Lagaria fortress in the defense of South-Western plain and mountain passages. A possible evidence of the existence of an ancient settlement was a male marble head datable to the Roman period. The artifact, seized by the Department of Antiquities in Reggio Calabria, was found in the Main Church in 1958. In 1296, Charles II besieged the fortress. In 1644 the Turks too laid siege to the castle and set it on fire, though they were not able to have the political control of the area. In 1463 Rocca Imperiale became the fief of the Princes of Salerno; it was then given to the Guelvara Family (1504). It then became a part of the possessions of the Carafa Family of Stigliano in 1568 and Raimondi family in 1616.