AMANTEA

Amantea is a lively town with cultural traditions, events and historical and artistic valuable works and monuments. It is also a renowned seaside resort of the Tyrrhenian coast between Lamezia Terme and Paola. The town is split in two different areas: the old town center perched on the top of a rock hill, and the lower area developed along the coast. The narrow lanes and streets of the old center are particularly picturesque. Walking through the streets, tourists surely will note the strong contrast between the majestic palaces of the nobles, and the humble dwellings of the common people. In 1861, Amantea became one of the Municipalities of the Italian Reign, provided with several public offices and schools that rendered the town the reference center for the hinterland. In 1943 the town was bombed by the USA army. After the war, it was re-built, rapidly expanded towards the seaside, and developed as a sea resort and tourist center. Campora San Giovanni marina, which opened some years ago, is the departure point for boats cruising to the Aeolian islands. Local economy is based on tourism and commerce. Woodworking and carving of religious figures are common activities in the town. Wrought iron and wicker items, like the typical baskets called tagine, are also produced. Local dishes include the delicious pasta ccu alici e sardi (pasta with anchovies and sardines) and the rosamarina a pitticelle (fritters with the whitebait of anchovies and sardines). The traditional cakes are the Buccunotto, boat-shaped pastries filled with chocolate and spices, and dried figs with dark or white chocolate. Fish curing is a remarkable activity: anchovies, sardines and whitebait are processed by local firms following traditional recipes handed down by old fishermen.




 


Address C.so Umberto I°, 1
  87032 Amantea (CS)
Phone number 0982 4291
Fax 0982 41013
Website http://comuneamantea.gov.it
 

 

The dreamy beach, ten kilometers long, is one of the most spectacular locations of the town. The superb Isca rocks, cited by Homer in Odyssey, emerge between Amantea and Belmonte Calabro. The rocks, the smallest of which, south, is named Little Isca and the largest, north, Great Isca, are about 800 m far from the coast. They are surrounded by breath-taking sea bottoms and go no deeper than 25 m. In 1991, the local WWF named them a protected zone after the natural beauties of the area: the Isca blu Oasis. At a 1,5 km distance, the Limoncella shoal can be visited. Its apogean area, about 15 m high, is the location of a very interesting site for underwater photographers, for it is the world of yellow cluster anemone, orange madrepores, sea urchins and starfish. Seagulls, wagtails and sometimes herons dwell on the rocks; in migration periods, dolphins also can be spotted. About 3 km south of Amantea, the beautiful Coreca reef, a group of 10 rocks, is located: Capoto (the largest one), Formica, Ginario, Longarino, Piccirillo, Tirolé (also called Pirolé) and the 4 Scuagli da Funtana. The reef position goes from the nearby resort “La Tonnara” to the seaside of Coreca. Capoto is the largest rock with a surface of 50 m2, the ideal site for diving and amateur shooting. The clean and transparent water shows submerged rocks, the habitat of many fish species.

The Grotta is a large natural cove below the old town centre. In the past, when seawater came up to the city walls, the Grotta was the ideal landing for sailing and merchant ships. Amantea is a lovely touristic area, but it is also one of the liveliest commercial and social centers of Cosenza Tyrrhenian coast, the location of several cultural associations that make it the hub of the surrounding zone.

Amantea is the most populated touristic center along Cosenza Tyrrhenian coast. If you cross the ancient wall remains and go through the narrow lanes that wind steeply up to the top of the rocky hill, you will find yourself in the old center of medieval origins, where the ruins of a castle stand with well-preserved towers and bastions. Other noteworthy sites are the remains of the 13th-14th century church of San Francesco d’Assisi, and San Bernardino da Siena, a remarkable example of late Gothic architecture. In Summer, the town is crowded with tourists and residents who go shopping along Margherita Street or wander through fruit and vegetable market or fish market, scouting for local delicacies.

A great number of churches can be visited in Amantea: the Collegiata di San Biagio or Main Church, the Church of San Bernardino da Siena, the Carmine Church or San Rocco, the Capuchins Church or Santa Maria la Pinta and Sant’Elia or Jesus Church. Soon after the final conquest of Amantea by the Byzantines (1031-1032), a community of Basilian monks of the Byzantine rite settled along the Castle hill slopes. They founded the Church of San Basilio, probably on the site of an ancient mosque, trace of the controversial Arab domination in the city. In December 1121, Pope Callixtus II, on his journey to Reggio Calabria, was hosted by the Basilian monks in their monastery in Amantea. Presumably, during the 12th century, the monastery gradually decayed because in 1216 the blessed Piero Catin, companion of Saint Francis of Assisi, together with other monks, established himself in the ancient Basilian monastery and founded a Franciscan monastery and the adjoining Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was later replaced by a church consecrated to Saint John that named the surrounding area (San Giovanni). This ancient 15th-century religious place has now become a residential building. The Church of Santa Maria della Calcata is an ancient church adjoined to the Augustinian monastery, dating back to 1490. It was closed after the suppression of the monastery. The old Cathedral of Amantea was called “della Pinta”. The name apparently derived from an ancient venerated picture representing the Madonna. The church was situated in the old town, in Sant’Elia district. The Church of San Nicola del Rimo probably took its name from the alteration of the word “eremo” (hermitage) because the church, dating back to the 15th century, was located along the Catocastro river and was a hermitage. The Church of San Nicola dell’Oliva is an ancient Benedictine grange dating back to 1151, located along the Oliva river near where the Campora San Giovanni area now lies. The Furgiuele Chapel, dedicated to Saint Alfonso de’ Liguori, is attached to Palazzo Furgiuele.

Amantea marina is located at Campora San Giovanni near the main road n. 18 Tirrenia Inferiore. It is connected to the main road through a specific ring road and an interchange. The marina consists of a curvilinear SW-to-S oriented outer breakwater and an inner breakwater that goes westward from the coast. Inside the marina area, there are three floating landing stages. On the starboard side of the marina, a small harbor with piers is located.

The castle of Amantea rises up on a hill and hangs over the town, with the keep tower at the center and the nearby ruins of the ancient church of San Francesco d’Assisi (probably a former mosque). According to Enzo Fera’s studies, the coast defense system built between 1100 and 1600 A.D. was reconstructed. In fact, there are several towers and fortresses in the district, because it was once a strongly controlled area against the barbary pirate raids. Intact remnants are still visible.



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