Rossano 30 km away from Cariati
Rossano is a nice small town also known as "The Byzantine” for the immense historical and artistic heritage, which the Rossanesi have managed to preserve over the years. Like the most towns on our coast, Rossano is divided into two halves: an old part, which stands on a hill, is called Alta Rossano and a modern part: Rossano Scalo. Rossano Alta can be admired for its spectacular seaside scenery or for the local and traditional crafts. Wandering around its narrow streets, you can reach the Cathedral where you will find the image of the symbol Achiropita (literally; painted not by human hands) and admire the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, where the oldest Christian document exists, the Codex Purpureus a Greek Gospel of enormous biblical and historical interest. The town is the seat of a Catholic archbishop and has a notable cathedral and castle. Two Popes have been born in the town, along with Saint Nilus the Younger. Roscianum was the original name of the town under the Roman Empire. In the 2nd century AD, emperor Hadrian built or rebuilt a port here, which could accommodate up to 300 ships. It was mentioned in the Antonine itineraries, as one of the important fortresses of Calabria. The Goths of Alaric I and, in the following century, Totila, were unable to take it. The Rossanesi showed great attachment to the Byzantine Empire, whose local strategos had his seat here. The Rossano Gospels, a 6th Century illuminated manuscript of great historical and artistic value, is a tangible relic of that period. The Saracens failed to conquer Rossano, while in 982 Otto II captured it temporarily from the Byzantines. Its Greek character was preserved long after its conquest by the Normans, as noted by its long retention of the Greek Rite over the Latin Rite. The city in fact maintained notable privileges under the subsequent Hohenstaufen and Angevine dominations, but subsequently decayed after the feudalization in 1417. Passing to the Sforza, and thus to Sigismund of Poland, it was united in 1558 to the crown of Naples by Philip II of Spain in virtue of a doubtful will by Bona Sforza, queen of Poland in favor of Giovanni Lorenzo Pappacoda. Under Isabella of Naples and Bona, the town had been a centre of literary culture; but under the Spaniards it declined. In 1612, the crown sold the lordship to the Aldobrandini, and in 1637, it passed to the Borghese who retained it until 1806. The city was part of the Neapolitan Republic of 1799, but its conditions did not improve after the Unification of Italy, and much of the population emigrated. Rossano was the birthplace of Pope John VII and Pope Urban VII. Rossano is also the birthplace of Saint Nilus the Younger, who founded the Abbey of Grottaferrata, and whose "Life" is a valuable source of information about southern Italy in the Tenth Century.
The Cathedral (11th century, with massive interventions in the 18th–19th centuries) is the main monument of Rossano. It has a nave with two aisles, and three apses. The bell tower and the baptismal font are from the 14th century, while the remaining decorations are from the 17th and 18th centuries. The church is famous for the ancient image of the Madonna acheropita ("Madonna not made by hands"), now located in the Diocesan Museum, probably dating between 580 and the first half of the eighth century. In 1879, the famous Codex Rossanensis was discovered in the sacristy. It is a Greek parchment manuscript of Matthew and Mark, written in silver on purple-stained parchment, and is one of the oldest pictorial Gospels known. Scholars date the codex from the end of the fifth to the eighth or ninth century; it is probably of Alexandrian origin. The church of Santa Maria Panaghìa ("St. Mary of All Saints"), an example of Byzantine architecture, with traces of frescoes portraying St. John Chrysostomos. The St. Mark Oratory (tenth century, originally dedicated to St. Anastasia) is the most ancient monument of the city and one of the best preserved Byzantine churches in Italy. It was built by St. Nilus the Younger in the tenth century for the ascetic retreat of monks living in the tufa grottos underneath. It is a Byzantine-style edifice with rectangular Greek-cross plan, with five domes on cylindrical drums. Traces of the original wall frescoes remain. The church of Santa Chiara (1546-1554) was built by Bona Sforza. The church of San Francesco di Paola (late 16th century) has a notable Renaissance portal and a cloister. The late-Gothic church of San Bernardino (1428–62) was the first Roman Catholic church in Rossano. It houses the sepulchre of Oliverio di Somma (1536) and a seventeenth-century wooden crucifix. Rossano is also the home of the internationally renown annual Marco Fiume Blues Passion, a free three day open air blues/jazz festival named after a native son who was becoming a giant in the American blues/jazz guitar world before his early demise. The festival occurs in July and is linked to the Cognac Blues Festival in France. The Torre Stellata ("Star Tower") is a 16th century fortification built over an ancient fortress. The Abbazia del Pàtire (11th–12th century), an abbey located in a wood outside the city, with some Arab-style mosaics, a Norman apse and ancient portals. Do not miss the Museum of licorice "Amarelli" The "Giorgio Amarelli" Liquorice Museum, at the ground floor of the family palace, presents old agricultural tools, a collection of women's, men's and children's clothing reminder of the familial origin of the company, equipment and machines used in the making of the liquorice, historical documents, old images and commercial advertising. The testimony of the industrial activity of the family and the region gathered in this Museum constitute an invitation to discover the life and work of several centuries and which asks only to be continued for a long time to come. To honour the Amarelli Museum, the Italian Post Office has created, in the collection dedicated to the Italian Cultural and Artistic heritage, a stamp devoted to the “Giorgio Amarelli” Museum which has been printed at 3,500,000 copies.
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