The small village San Floro (once part of the ancient Greek colony Skylletion or “Squillace”), is a lovely hillside town that overlooks the Corace Valley; due to its geographical position it allows to enjoy views of a beautiful natural landscape.
The inhabited town centre of San Floro is surrounded by forests and orchards and the horizon framed by the blue sea, making it an ideal holiday destination, due to the mild climate and unspoilt nature as well as the mingling of culture, traditions.
The production and the processing of silk in San Floro is of great historical and cultural significance, so much so as to have led to the birth of a dedicated museum.
Some scholars believe the town's origins can be traced back to the prehistoric age while others, to the high Middle Ages when the presence of Basilian monks was recorded. The name of the town derives from the venerated patron saint San Floro Martire (Saint Florus Martyr), who, every year, is honored with a solemn mass and the traditional procession along the town streets. The town's main economic resources are agriculture and food manufacturing. San Floro is renowned as the “Land of figs” due to the traditional processing of white figs, dried following the ancient method of sun drying that has been used since the early 20th century. Local silk production and manufacturing are central to the town’s economy and history: a Museum dedicated to silk was established where visitors can admire looms and common tools donated by San Floro families.
The historic town centre
San Floro's central square seems a huge panoramic terrace where people meet to simply pass the time. In the evening, the scenario is spectacular, with a thousand diamonds that glitter in the night sky and illuminate the valley: creating a magical and enchanted atmosphere. The Chiesa di San Nicola (Church of S. Nicholas) and the Castello Caracciolo (Caracciolo Castle) add to the magic and enchantment. The castle houses the permanent Museum on the art of silk and ceramics. Moreover, it is possible to admire the beauty of some aristocratic buildings, recently restored and visit the nature reserve of "La Pineta" where mulberry / silkworm rearing takes place.
The Silk Museum
San Floro's silk museum is housed within the castle walls of Castello Caracciolo, that overlooks the Corace valley. The building’s stones, dating back presumably to the 1400s, jealously maintain the relics of Calabrese history, having as protagonist of the city of Catanzaro, which between the 1300s and 1700s was considered to be the European Silk Capital. The museum’s first section preserves the historical costumes, damasks from Catanzaro as well as sacred damask garments and industrial archaeology textiles. Another section of the museum displays contemporary raw silk handicrafts, separate for crochet and tissues manufactured on a 4-shaft loom. The museum’s third section is dedicated to mulberry trees, the silkworm and natural fibres. There is also an area reserved to natural dyes, with a rich assortment of samples of silk dyed with poppies, Tropea red onions, Madder roots, field daisies, St John’s Wort and walnut shells. Recently completed is the section relating to silk worldwide, with a display of fabrics and traditional costumes from countries which have close ties with the silk culture, such as France, Thailand, India. In the museum’s last section, it is possible to see looms close-up, whether ancient or not on which still the boys of the Cooperativa Nido di Seta (Silk Nest Cooperative) wove the precious handicrafts. A wonderful woven fabric of past, present and future.
Recently, many young people have undertaken to recover the location's ancient agricultural traditions, among which the growing and processing of figs offers an excellent outlook. A group of young farmers has already launched a significant production focusing on differentiating between fresh and dried produce. Ficazzana, a large fig plant that produces fioroni (early figs) that reach 200 grams and the cultivated variety of the Malangiana (aubergine), black in colour with white streaks with a very unusual were selected for the fresh produce range. For dried produce, the use of the cultivated variety Dottato bianco is highlighted which, in addition to being of a significant size is a "Caprified” fig, therefore rich of seeds that represent a small treasure trove of the finest raw materials essential for the body's well-being.
Piazza Roma, 1, San Floro