The Stone Ship of Santa Severina

Santa Severina is listed as one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Hamlets. Located 30 minutes inland from Crotone, this little-known borgo dates back to the 5th Century BC and was one of Calabria’s original Magna Graecia settlements. A few hundred years later, the Byzantines settled the area.

“File:Santa Severina.jpg”by Jelly is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

The medieval village seems to hang on a rocky ledge overlooking the Neto River valley. Throughout its history, the town was conquered by different populations each one leaving its mark on the town. As a matter of fact, many of the medieval architectural elements are still present in the town. One of these is the 11th century Norman Castle.

Image Credit: Carmen Guarascio

Dominating the splendor of this town, the castle built over Byzantine ruins is often referred to as “The Stone Ship”. It is one of the best-preserved examples of Norman military architecture in Calabria and possibly southern Italy. The castle consists of a 15th Century watchtower with four angular towers surrounded by a moat and fortified walls. Within these powerful walls like medieval frescos and Baroque paintings well below the castle lie intricate dungeons and underground mazes.

Image Credit: Carmen Guarascio

In front of the castle is a large and impressively designed square, known as “Il Campo”. If you were to look at this square from above, you would see an oval shape. The oval stretches north to south and is divided into various quadrants. In the very center is a circle that symbolizes the eye of knowledge. The square was designed to resemble a “wind rose”.

The piazza is a wonderful place to rest, people-watch, and admire the abundant beauty of this hamlet. This enchanting hamlet is a great choice for a day trip when visiting Crotone.

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