The Archaeological Park of Scolacium
The National Archaeological Museum and Park of Scolacium tells many stories that develop around an area of vital importance. The chosen place, on the Ionian coast along the isthmus route and in the defense of the Gulf of Squillace, was in fact strategic for the control of land and river routes and for trade with the whole Mediterranean basin. The area, in the municipality of Borgia (CZ) in Roccelletta, now expropriated and state-owned, was part of the possessions of the Mazza barons and, before that, of the Massara di Borgia, owners of a company for the production of oil. The site, in fact, is immersed in a centuries-old olive grove which constitutes the green lung of the province of Catanzaro and represents an important cultural attraction for its naturalistic and landscape values and the remarkable archaeological and architectural presence, evidence of a millennial past. The Park, a privileged place for proto-historical, Greek-Roman and medieval archaeological research, preserves traces of the Greek Skylletion (VII-III century BC), of the Roman colony Scolacium, of the proto-Byzantine city Scylaceum (II century BC. .- mid-7th century AD), as well as the imposing ruins of the Norman abbey church of Santa Maria della Roccella (mid-12th century AD), from which the name of Roccelletta derives. Ancient sources testify to the presence of a settlement greek in the area of the Roccelletta called Skylletion. The city, located on the border of Enotria, the land of the Italo king called Italìa, should be an Athenian foundation linked to the name of Menesteo, mythical king of Athens, at the time of his nòstos (return) at the end of the Trojan war. More likely, the foundation of the city is to be related to the powerful Achaean polis of Kroton (Crotone). Literary sources place the foundation in the eighth century BC but the archaeological evidence currently available does not go beyond the sixth century BC Skylletion, which had no hegemonic roles or formal independence, seems to have passed under the control of the Italic ethnos of the Brettii in the course of the fourth century BC and which has experienced a period of decline from the third century BC, until the foundation of the Roman colony by Gaius Sempronio Gracchus.The Roman colony of Scolacium with its imposing remains represents a unicum in the Calabrian archaeological panorama and is the protagonist of the visit itinerary. Deduced in 123-122 BC, it was affected by interventions of arrangement of the urban part and of the entire territory through the division of arable parcels (centuriation). It prospered until the re-foundation by the Emperor Nerva, when it took the name of Colonia Minervia Nervia Augusta Scolacium and was further monumentalized. Today it is possible to visit the Forum, with its unique brick flooring that is unmatched throughout the Roman world and the remains of some buildings, including the Curia, the Cesareum and the Capitolium, the theater lying, in the Greek way, on a natural hill, which could accommodate up to 3,500 spectators, and the remains of the only Roman amphitheater excavated in Calabria. The city was also equipped with baths, two aqueducts, fountains and necropolis. The life of the colony ended around the VII-VIII century AD. C., when the population moved, first to the heights of the theater and then to today's Squillace, due to swamp phenomena that made the area inhospitable. : the imposing Norman basilica, which welcomes and amazes visitors and which suggests the importance of the place, a crucial node for communication routes and relations with the territory, even in medieval times. Inside the park is the museum where the results of the excavation campaigns are exhibited. The exhibition traces the history of the city through finds that document ancient life in every aspect. The important cycle of Roman statues and portraiture and the extraordinary colossal bronze forearm are worth noting. The visit ends with an interesting itinerary of industrial archeology: still intact, in fact, is the Frantoio, built in 1934 by the Mazza family.