Roccella Jonica - The history of Roccella Jonica can be traced back to the era of the Magna Grecia. The town was anciently known as Amphisya and was remembered in a poem of Roman poet, Ovidio.
In the X century the town was called Rupella, then Arocella, till the current name “Roccella” due to it’s position on an enormous rocky ridge on a peak near the sea. There is a document that dates back to 1270 that testifies the existence of Roccella Jonica: it conists of the sale of the castle donated to Gualtieri de Collepietro from Carlo I d’Angiò. Roccella was an important fief and defensive castle on the coast, principally against the saracen invadors.
In 1553 the great fort was able to validly reject the attacks of the corsair Dragut that came from the sea along with 150 other ships: most of them were sunk by the castle’s artillery. In the last 15 years, Roccella Ionica is one of the calabrian beaches that has won the Blue Flag.
Castello is situated on a rocky promontory at 104 metres above sea level.It is an ancient noble castle that still preserves a magnificent lytic portal topped by an emblem made in limestone, eroded through time, owned by the Princes Carafa della Spina. Within the castle there is a paved courtyard with eight star-shaped canals. Next to the building you can find the Chiesa Matrice di San Nicola di Bari in Ionian Baroque style. Underneath the church there were the catacombes and marble altars that have now been transferred to the new church and two of which have become national monuments.
The church is contiguous the castle belonging to the Principes Carafa and the noble family had a secret personal entrance, gone destructed, that led directly into the sacred building. In the bell tower there was a clock that chimed the time on the church bell. The circular imprint of the clock is still visible.