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Pentedattilo – The ghost town under the five stone fingers

Nikola Petrovski

If someone is to travel to Calabria in the south of Italy and this same someone is to turn toward the hill, he or she will be perplexed by the look of the giant stone mountain watchfully keeping an eye on the village that lies underneath.

The stone hill. Author: Vincenzo Crea CC BY 2.0

The stone hill. Author: Vincenzo Crea CC BY 2.0

Pentedattilo was the name the long forgotten dwellers once gave to this place. The name was deliberately chosen for it was given in honor of the stone mountain.

Back in days past this very same stone hill resembled a shape that of a Five Fingers. Given this comparison, a name was made out of two Greek words, Penta + daktylos, meaning five fingers.

The abandoned Pentedattilo. Author: GJo CC BY-SA 1.0

The abandoned Pentedattilo. Author: GJo CC BY-SA 1.0

The village was founded as a colony of the Greek city of Chalcis. The first inhabitants of this place decided that 250 meters above sea level and at the foot of the stone hill, is the perfect spot for their new homes.

Pentedattilo – the photo was taken from afar. Author: Jacopo Werther CC BY-SA 3.0

Pentedattilo – the photo was taken from afar. Author: Jacopo Werther CC BY-SA 3.0

This tiny town was blooming back in its days. Back in the time of Magna Graecia (name the Romans chose to give to the coastal areas of Southern Italy). It served as a form of defense the Romans used to overlook the special path the led toward the Aspromonte (a mountain massif in the province of Reggio Calabria).

Dark clouds over Pentedattilo. Author: Pom’ CC BY-SA 2.0

Dark clouds over Pentedattilo. Author: Pom’ CC BY-SA 2.0

The very opposite occurred during the Byzantine era, back when the Saracens sacked the village.

After the ill fate, the town suffered from the byzantine domination, next were the Normans that came sometime in the 12th century. The Abenavoli family had the last word, for they made this town a part of a baronial fief.

The church of St. Peter the Apostle. Author: GJo CC BY-SA 3.0

The church of St. Peter the Apostle. Author: GJo CC BY-SA 3.0

Next, the order of succession was given to the Francoperta, from Reggio Calabria, ending with Alberti, Clement and the Ramirez (1823). The number one reason why this village is abandoned is the earthquake that once so vigorously made the earth dance.

This frightening element nature herself had chosen as her own way of dealing with things happened in 1783. The people had no other choice but to migrate to Melito Porto Salvo.

The church of St. Peter the Apostle – different angle. Author: GJo CC BY-SA 3.0

The church of St. Peter the Apostle – different angle. Author: GJo CC BY-SA 3.0

Pentedattilo remained in its Silenzio in Pietra until the mid-1960 when people started to get back to their roots. One part of the town is renovated and small shops appeared all over it. During the summer one can visit the renovated part of the village for the Paleariza or the Pentedattilo film festival.

Pentedattilo under the five fingers. Author: Pi.Gra CC BY-SA 2.0

Pentedattilo under the five fingers. Author: Pi.Gra CC BY-SA 2.0

Part of Town is still abandoned and ruined creating the perfect motivation for photographers to capture the past in its present form during sunset.