- Motta San Giovanni
- Capo d’Armi
- Saline Joniche
Motta San Giovanni, situated around 24 km from Reggio Calabria, is a
populated centre which rests upon a hill at about 513 metres over the level of
the sea. Interesting sites are the Alecce Fountain, in the omonimous square, an
imposing masonry composed by a big basin; the War Memorial in war and on work,
in via Garibaldi, a marble slab over which rests a statue representing a mother
that cries her dead son, and at which feet there is a cannon; the Monument to
the miner in the omonimous square; San Giovanni Evangelista’s church with its
front presenting a modern entrance made with polychrome glass; San Rocco’s
church, now closed to functions, built in 1578; the remains of Santa Maria delle
Grazie’s church, built around the XII century; San Nicola’s church ancient
building (X century)of which today only remain the surrounding walls and some
stains of colour on the walls that make believe to the existence of frescoes;
Madonna of Leandro’s Sanctuary, of ancient origin, that is believed was built
together with a convent or a basilean hospice, and where inside on an altar, was
placed a statue of the Madonna with the Baby (second half of XVI century) and
where was also kept a holy water stoup from 1667.
Around 3 km from the centre of Motta there is the Castle of Sant’Aniceto,
built by the Byzantines and that represents one of the few examples of early
Middle Ages calabrian architecture. Restructured and enlarged by the Normans was
then destroyed in 1459 by the duke Alfonso of Calabria and was never used again.
Following the main road towards the coast, after turning back onto the S.S.
106, towards Taranto, there is Lazzaro, an important and touristic sea
centre. This resort is also known for its great archeological importance because
it was here that the rests of ancient settlements that go back to the roman time
(late empire, III century A.C.) were found. Among the remains there are some
fragments of mosaics, the rests of an ancient mausoleum and a necropolis.
Continuing to follow the main road there is Capo d’Armi, a beautiful
rocky promontory that falls straight on the sea an from which it is possible to
enjoy a glorious view. Another interesting village is Saline Joniche that
used to be called “quagmire” because, due to the characteristics of its coasts
was often flooded by the sea. In Norman times the area had an important role in
the production of salt.
Still continuing on the S.S.106 there is Sant’Elia where it is possible to go
from the coast to the hill, following the road that run along the Fiumara of
Sant’Elia, to reach Montebello Jonico. Montebello was a military area for
a long time. This is why the name comes from the latin “mons bellum” (hill of
war). With the destruction of Motta Sant’Aniceto, in the XC century, Montebello
started to assume its own urban physiognomy.
Interesting to look at is the War Memorial; Edward Lear’s pillar, erected at the
end of the nineties in front of Pentidattilo, and that remembers that passage
through the calabrian lands of the XIX century’s english writer and painter; St.
Maria Assunta’s church, of very ancient origins; Buon Consiglio’s church, that
goes back to the end of the XVIII century.