Melito di Porto Salvo (RC)

MELITO DI PORTO SALVO

Melito Porto Salvo is a municipality of the metropolitan city of Reggio Calabria. It is the Southernmost town of mainland Italy. From ancient times to the 17th century, the main village of Melito Porto Salvo area was Pentedattilo, whose name probably derives from the Greek-Byzantine word pentedaktylos, five fingers, referred to the characteristic shape that the mountain where the village stands once had. The etymology of Melito derives from the Greek term meli-itos, honey. According to traditional historiography, Pentedattilo was founded by the Byzantines. However, some scholars maintain that, near present-day town, an obligated statio (or a taberna), was located. It was a kind of civitas reported in the Antonine Itinerary (an ancient Roman road map) under the name of Decastadium and located 22 miles (about 30 kilometers) far from Reggio Calabria, along the Trajan or Liciniuso-Costantine route. In fact, Pentedattilo is only 30 km far from Reggio Calabria; the same itinerary is confirmed by the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi. Local scholars report that the area was inhabited in Late Roman Age, though evidence of this occurrence comes only from the findings concerning a 5th-6th-century necropolis in the most ancient part of the town (near the small hill called Calvario). It was also supposed that in this period, the area was a stopping site where travelers from Reggio Calabria to Locri could stop and rest. After the abolition of feudalism, the areas of Melito and Pentedattilo were acquired by the Spanish Ramirez family that intensified agriculture production by planting citron trees and grapevines. Later, valuable bergamotto groves were introduced as well. In the second half of the 19th century, all civil and religious institutions were moved from Pentadattilo to Melito Porto Salvo. “The One Thousands” (I Mille) led by Giuseppe Garibaldi landed on the Rumbolo beach near Melito on August 19th 1860. The army had already occupied Sicily and aimed at conquering the mainland possessions of the Bourbon kingdom. A second tragic landing occurred on August 25th 1862, when the One Thousands arrived in Calabria to conquer Rome: a commemorative stele and mausoleum stand on the beach where the Bourbon army attacked the steamboat Torino that sank. The wrecked ship is still on the sea bottom, 12 m deep.



 


Address Viale delle Rimembranze
  89063 Melito di Porto Salvo (Rc)
Phone number +39 0965 775111
Fax +39 0965 781780
Website www.comune.melitodiportosalvo.rc.it
 

 

The Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo is located near Portosalvo. The church dates back to the 16th century, though it was remodeled over the centuries. It was built by seamen in a place along the coast that was a safe harbor for their boats. Popular tales have it that, in 1600, a painting reproducing the Virgin Mary was found on the beach by a group of seamen. Melito people built the Sanctuary in that place. The painting was kept in an aedicule standing near the place where it was found. It was carried to the Church of Santi Pietro e Paolo in Pentedattilo during the construction works of the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary was built in 1680, and Marquis Domenico Alberti made a vow that the picture of the Madonna had to be carried to Pentedattilo on every March 25th, and took back to Melito on the last Saturday of April.



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