Montauro, dive into the sea off the Pietragrande cliff
Jul 7, 2020 8:50 AM
Jul 7, 2020 8:50 AM
ontauro is an agricultural centre of the Ionian side of the Calabrian Serre, in the foothills sloping down to the Gulf of Squillace, north of the mouth of the Soverato stream. Founded before the year one thousand, the village is named after the mount on which it stands, believed to be filled with gold.
Pietragrande's marina owes its name to this unique cliff,13 metres high, that rises amidst the sea, a real attraction for diving lovers.
Typical of Montauro are the many portals, which bear witness to the upturn in construction and re-employment following the terrible earthquake of 1783. These portals are the work of the same skilled labourers that used the same compositional schemes and the same drawings to create the most important monumental part of each individual building and where, at times, the noble coat of arms, is featured on the keystone of arches.
The parish church includes with its outbuildings remains of the medieval fortifications. Inside, the interior dates back to the XVII century and preserves the ceiling and wooden choir of the 1600s, the sumptuous altar in polychrome marble with sculptures in bronze and marble of the 1600s-1700s. Near the village, the ruins of the monastery of San Domenico (Saint Dominic), founded by the Normans and destroyed by the earthquake of 1783 can still be seen. During the post-Byzantine period, Count Ruggero gave an old mill to workers of the monastery of Montauro. The monastery in question was the Grangia di Sant’Anna, which formed part of a regional system structured for trade, managed directly by the friars. The evocative ruins of the Grangia di Sant’Anna rise at the end of a hill to the south of the town centre and stand out due to a typically cistercian building style; with a rectangular floor-plan and four square towers positioned at the top, creating a building to be used as a monastery but with the features of a fortress. An overall idea of what the original monastery looked like can be obtained from the fresco preserved at the side of the entrance to the Chiesa di San Pantaleone (Church of San Pantaleone), where the building is represented in its entirety. The Church of San Pantaleone, protector of Montauro's community, was built in 1609 and inside the relics of San Pantaleone are preserved. Elegant buildings constitute the backbone of Montauro's physical aspect, which, together with the religious buildings, has had an impact on its historical process of urban growth. In front of the Church of San Pantaleone stands the Palazzo Barbieri, built during the same period of the Church in stone masonry. The building boasts an important stone portal sculpted in geometric patterns, a typical grille and the terrace in wrought iron that confer an austere look to its exterior. This building is protected by the Sovrintendenza alle Belle Arti di Cosenza (Consenza’s Monuments and Fine Arts Office). Another place of interest is the Palazzo Madonna, current headquarters of the Municipal Library. This imposing building, built during a period between the 1600s and 1700s, is raised on three levels and is entirely made of stone with two simple wrought-iron balconies. The ground floor originally featured a chemist and an underpass that linked the building with a garden with outbuildings for storing wine and oil. Additionally, a water spring can still be found within the building.
Montauro is the chosen destination for the warmer seasons due to its unpolluted sea. Recently works were carried out to restore the waterfront in Calalunga, one of the area's most charming sites. The stretch of sea between Copanello and Pietragrande is a dreamy scenic drive. After many kilometres of sandy coast, from Le Castella to Squillace, drivers are greeted with a wonderful cliff with many small bays with turquoise-blue water which provide an unforgettable experience all the way up to Pietragrande's marina. Due to its pristine water, rocky inlets and seabed, the area is ideal for scuba divers. Montauro is suitable for nature lovers in search of wild and rocky beaches. The coast is mainly rocky with few beaches of pebbles of various sizes. Montauro beach is located inside the Punta Corrente forest park, just a few minutes from Lone bay. Montauro's area includes Pietragrande's marina, which owes its name to the unique rock that rises in the midst of the sea, approximately 13 metres high; a real attraction for diving lovers who have the opportunity to show-off their spectacular dives. A long sandy beach on which there are beach facilities can be found at the end of the cliff.