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Crotone, Calabria: The City of Pythagoras

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History of Crotone

Unlike most of Italy, ancient Crotone was one of the most powerful settlements in Magna Graecia rather than ruled by the Roman Empire. The crumbling ruins of a once imposing fortress remain just offshore, testament to its heyday centuries ago.

Crotone of today is known for its zesty Calabrese cuisine and distinctive Ciro wines, as well as its impressive National Archaeological Museum. Winding lanes lead up to Old Town from a lively harbor filled with fishing boats and swank yachts. Inviting piazzas, medieval castles, historic churches and enticing trattorias await exploration, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

The place was founded around 710 BC by Greek migrants from Achaea in the Peloponnesus. Crotone quickly grew to prominence, the number of inhabitants increased in little more than a century.

In addition to its role as a harbor for a good portion of the Greek fleet at the time, Croton was famous for its Olympic athletes in the 500s. Brawn was by no means the city’s only claim to fame. Greek philosopher/mathematician Pythagoras established his famous academy here in 530 BC, together with a medical school founded around the same time.

Eventually, the city would become part of the Byzantine Empire. Then it followed by the Saracens in 870 AD, the Normans and the Kingdom of Naples prior to the unification of Italy in the 19thcentury.

Temple of Hera Lacinia

Temple of Hera Lacinia

Why Crotone is Called Pythagoras City?

He arrived to Croton in 530 BC and founded a school. Due to Croton’s victory over Sybaris, the followers of Pythagoras had a conflict with the supporters of Croton’s democracy. As a result, the meeting houses of Pythagoras were burned.

Alcmaeon has been one of the great philosopher and medical theorist in Croton. It was believed that he lived in the place, the same time with Pythagoras. Alcmaeon used to apply Phythagorean teachings into his writings. Same thing with the poets Heraclitus of Ephesus and Ion of Chios, their art works were influenced by Pythagoras. These are only few examples of Pythagoras influences during his lifetime in Croton.

Did you know that Pythagoras traveled first in Egypt and other places in Asia before he decided to settle in Crotone?

Few of Crotone City Highlights

1. National Archaeological Museum

The acclaimed museum in the historical city of Crotone Italy. It was the riches museum in Calabria as it houses intrinsic masterpieces. One of its fine collection is the “Magna Graecia” artifacts found from nearby Capo Colonne or Capo Colonna. The artifact collections include a dazzling gold diadem or tiara and a trio of bronze sculptures discovered in 1987.

2. Castle of Charles V

This Medieval castle shaped like a polygon with two cylindrical towers. It was built for the purpose of protecting the coast of Crotone from enemy invasions.

3. Piazza Pythagoras

It is the most famous square in Crotone, as it serves as the meeting point for citizens. The square is surrounded by porches.

4. Cathedral Basilica of Crotone

It’s one of the Old town highlights located in the square, built in 9th century. This neo renaissance cathedral has a bell tower with two levels. It houses the image of Black Madonna of Capo Colonne or Capo Colonna.

5. Santa Severina

It is a town in Crotone named after Severina, a Greek or Roman Saint. The place lies at the center of a valley that looks like a “Stone Ship”. The town was recognized as the most beautiful ancient village in Italy. Wine enthusiasts will be pleased to know the town is also home to one of Calabria’s finest wineries.

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6. Franciscan Monastery

It lies along the seafront. This monastery features a small museum.

7. Capo Colonne Lighthouse

The lighthouse is situated near the Greek Temple. It was built in 1873 to honour Hera Lacinia, the queen Olympian goddess of women. Hera was the oldest daughter of Rhea and Cronos.

Crotone Light House

Crotone Light House

What are the Things to Do?

1. Visit different archaeological site.

2. Plan an excursion in parks or mountains.

3. Try canoeing or boating on Ampollino Lake.

4. Take a chance to capture wild life animals.

5. Do river trekking.

6. Explore underwater treasures in Crotone.

What are the Must Try Food in Crotone?

1. D.O.C. wine of Ciro - The most popular product in Crotone.

2. Bread of Cutro - It is a bread made of durum wheat.

3. Pecorino Cotronese - It's a cheese made with locally produced milk of sheep.

4. Suppressate - The local salami in town.

5. Sardella - It refers to a poor man's caviar that is produced by adding hot pepper and wild spices to a local fish.

6. Pipi and Patati - Typical Crotone dish for summer. It is made with sweet peppers and potatoes sauteed in garlic oil.

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© 2018 Travel Chef


Travel Chef (author) from Manila on June 29, 2018:


Aside from beautiful places, trying authentic food makes me happy during my travel!

Ariel Laur from New York on June 29, 2018:

Thank you for sharing your first hand travel experience, knowledge and tips! I especially love the 'foods to try' section of the article and the interesting history.



Travel Chef (author) from Manila on June 04, 2018:


Yes, Crotone actually exists! It's a very nice place to visit just like any other part of Italy. Thanks for dropping by!

Robert Clarke from UK on June 04, 2018:

I've been to Italy on a few different occasions but I was not aware of Crotone. I've mainly just done the north and west. I'll be sure to include this in a future trip to the South of the country.

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