San Nicola dell'Alto is a small Italian-Albanian village in the province of Crotone, that still maintains the homeland’s language and traditions. San Nicola dell'Alto stands on the "Colle Croce” hill and was founded in the 15th century by the Albanian refugees who settled between mount San Michele and mount Pizzuta, a deserted place but that had the same mountainous features of their homeland.
San Nicola is mostly an agricultural centre located where the lower Neto and Lipuda valleys intersect, which mainly produces cereals, olives, grapes and citrus fruits.
San Nicola is part of the Consortium for PDO oil production, obtained by the European Community due to the quality of local production.
The village is adhering to the National Association of “Oil Cities”; an organisation that aims to protect, promote and improve extra-virgin olive oil and the area where it is produced. The panoramic views that can be enjoyed from the belvedere are fabulous. The Sanctuary of San Michele stands on the mountain with the same name. From there, the view is breathtaking and embraces the Marchesato hills and the sea till the horizon. San Nicola dell'Alto deserves to be visited, in addition to its panoramic views, for the Monte San Michele, where a statue of the Saint dating back to 1600 can be seen inside its shrine. The shrine also contains the remains of some walls and a staircase belonging to an ancient abbey on which the coat of arms of the Gattinata can still be seen.
Worthy of a visit is also the Museo della civiltà contadina (Museum of peasant culture), which displays all the equipment, clothes, tools, units of measurement and everything that was part of the everyday life of their ancestors. Of notable interest is the historical and cultural photo exhibition, featuring photos of the ancient inhabitants of San Nicola wearing traditional period clothing. The following are of great historical and artistic interest: the Chiesa Madre, the shrine of San Michele Arcangelo located on the mount and the church of San Domenico, which was the first church originally built during the XV century. It must be noted that a fourth church, that of the Purgatorio (Purgatory) was demolished and then a monument was built to the fallen of the two world wars. In addition to this, there is a second monument dedicated to the fallen of the mines and a third to Giorgio Castriota Skanderberg; the father of Arberëshe culture. The shrine of San Michele, of ancient origins, was rebuilt and renovated several times. The façade is sober, surmounted by a triangular tympanum. Access to the inside of the building is by means of a simple arch portal and within it, it is possible to admire a splendid eighteenth-century icon of San Michele Arcangelo (St. Michael the Archangel).
Museum of Peasant Culture
The collection, put together on the initiative of the former Coplas cooperative during the first years of 1990, is set up in the restored rooms of the former slaughterhouse. The exhibition documents the culture of peasants, craftsmen and shepherds of the Arberëshë Community through a display of equipment, tools of various types and everyday life items. The exhibition features a replica of a bedroom with traditional fabrics and the angle of spinning and weaving which shows that equipment was efficient.
As in many other areas of Calabria, also at San Nicola viticulture occupies a position of prestige among the area's agricultural activities and the wines produced here are known for their originality and quality. Being a mountain municipality, local producers have sought for their vineyards the best locations to obtain grapes suitable for the production of wines in line with the high standards in the province of Crotone, thus producing a significant number of designations of origin. Together with wine, the production of olive oil is thriving, so much so that San Nicola is part of the Consortium for PDO oil production obtained from the European Community. San Nicola's gastronomic specialities include the local production of classic Calabrian sausage, such as sausage, soppressata (a typical type of salami), capocollo (pork meat taken from the neck), ham and cheese both from sheep and goats.
Traditional sweets/cakes include taralli, scilateddi, turdilli, crespelle, pittechiuse, crustuli, mustacciuolo and Easter sweets as the cuzzupa.
Via Skanderbeg, San Nicola dell'Alto