The medieval city of Cariati Marina

You may get the illustrious past of Cariati walking in its old town center, located just a kilometer far from Cariati Marina with many access points.

Cariati has ancient origins: there are archeological finds dating back to the Bréto-Hellenistic age (IV-III sec. BC) and hills of the Salto, inhabited by the Brittian people (Italics) dedicated to agriculture and sheep farming.

During the Roman period Cariati was a flourishing city of Magna Graecia and was called Carina for the graceful appearance it presented to ships sailing on the high seas. Some think that the current Cariati name comes from Carina, as above mentioned, but most of the inhabitants claim that the name comes from the dialect voice “carried”. It is reported that, when the coastal towns were victims of bloody raids by the Saracens who infested the Ionian sea, Carina’s inhabitants, in order to escape Turkish piracy, took the necessary things and carried them to the hill where now Cariati Superiore stands, and here they built their houses surrounded by solid walls.

In the Byzantine period (IX-X sec.), Cariati became more and more a fortified castle for strategic purposes: in fact, for its position, it became a fortified Byzantine stronghold in southern Italy in the twelfth century. For this reason, in 1059, Roberto Guiscardo besieged and conquered it, not without finding resistance from the Cariati inhabitans. Guiscardo was proclaimed Duke of Calabria and became the lord of the city. Cariati was promoted to the rank of County, in 1563 began the long period of the Principality, subjected to many lords, including the Ruffo, the Borgia and the Spinelli, the latter Princes of Cariati until 1806. While Cariati was under Ruffo’s rule (1437 ), it was elected to a bishop’s see and thus remained until 1986, when he was united to the Archdiocese of Rossano. There were many important bishops in Cariati at this time, including Francesco Gonzaga, Nicola Golia, Eugenio Raffaele Faggiani and Orazio Semeraro.
Between 1806 and 1815, Cariati knew the sad phenomenon of brigandage, was chosen by the terrible King Coremme for his business and in the same period was besieged twice by the French.