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Bizantine time left a mark on the history of the province, leaving as witness of their traces religious places that are still visited today. Among them the example of the abbey and monastery of S. Giovanni Therestis in Bivongi (XI cent.), reachable through the main road 110 (crossroad on the SS106, northern direction, close to Monasterace Marina).
Since about a decade some greek-orthodox monks live in the monastery and, in 2001 the ecumenical patriarch of Costantinople Bartolomeo I, Primate of orthodox christianity, stopped here to visit the historical orthodox calabrian areas. Another mystical place that has to be mentioned is at the feet of Montalto: The Polsi Sanctuary. About 23km from the crossroad that from the SS 106 takes to San Luca, it is of baroque style and was built in 1144 with the contribution of Umberto il Normanno, in the place where a sheperd had a vision. The 2nd of September of every year there is a local festival, that with the presence of the Locri-Gerace bishop and many worshippers, has its climax with the procession behind the statue of the Virgin. Along with the dances with the small organ and tambourine, there’s the tradition of eating goat meat on the site. Numerous are the miracles by the Madonna della Montagna, to whom is dedicated a statue sculpted in tufaceous stone and placed on the main altar, (1560).
In Stilo, one of the most interesting areas of Calabria for its medieval and baroque traces, every first week of August, since 1997, is possible to see the “Palio di Ribusa” an event that was given back to its tradition after 280 years.
Thanks to a careful historical reconstruction, the five Casali of the Contea challenge the city of Stilo in evocative ability tests. Three cannon shots officially open the Festival: the roads are lightened by fireworks, acrobats,ladies, knights, minstrels, fakirs and actors. And the inns open their doors to give food and drinks of an ancient taste.

To the great “doctors” of the byzantine and norman Cosimo and Damiano is dedicated an ancient Sanctuary in the ancient basilean centre of Riace where, from the 25th to the 27th of september there is a festival with prayers,dances and songs, to which calabrian gipsies take part. In the ancient village is possible to admire beautiful 1700’s buildings:
Palazzo Alvaro, in a garden with secular palms and trees, Palazzo Campoliti, two storey building with an arched stone portal that has rectangular and diamond point shaped ashlars, Palazzo Pinnarò, today Ethnographic Museum, as well on two storeys with valuable stroked iron balconies.

An example of baroque architecture is Villa Caristo, (SS106 to Scinà di Stignano). In the past it belonged to the noble Clementi family and today it belongs to the Caristo family. Surrounded by an olive, oaks and orange field, offers to the viewer , at the end of the entrance path the sight of the national monument to the “Fountain of the Mirrors” and a precious marble group representing Clorinda and Tancredi, inspired to a writing from the “Gerusalemme Liberata” by Torquato Tasso.

Contemporary art sees its centre point in Mammola, where the old monastery of Basiliano di San Fantino De Pretoriate, today of Santa Barbara, has been transformed into the Parco Museo di Santa Barbara by the painter, sculptur, architect and craftman of international fame Nick Spatari, who also collaborated with Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century. The museum, that is 2km away from the populated centre, is today head of the “Santa Barbara Art Foundation”, created by Spatari and his wife Hiske Maas, and destination of international artists that, along the feet of the hill realize works that contribute to enrich the museum. On the vault of the ex chapel of the monastery Spatari realised “Jacob’s Dream”, a gigantic three dimensional painting.

Marasà’s Temple in Locri
Photo Archive Province of Reggio Calabria - Photo by: Pino de Cicco
Greek Temple in Locri
Photo Archive Province of Reggio Calabria - Photo by: Vincenzo Commisso
Stilo’s Cattolica
Photo Archive Province of Reggio Calabria - Photo by: Ugo Franco
Detail of Terestì’s Monastery
Photo Archive Province of Reggio Calabria - Photo by: Ugo Franco
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