The Cattolica di Stilo
Set on a rocky spur on the slopes of Monte Consolino and inserted in a larger architectural and environmental complex, the Cattolica di Stilo is the symbolic monument of Byzantine Calabria: since 2006, together with seven other Calabrian Basilian sites, it has been included in the list of places candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, due to its uniqueness, it was chosen to represent the Region at Expo 2015. The church, presumably founded between the end of the 10th and the beginning of the 11th century, is dimensions (7.40x7.50 m) and is set on a Greek cross plan with three oriented apses and is surmounted by five domes, according to a typical model of the Byzantine tradition.
The interior of the church is decorated with large pieces of frescoes. The light, filtered through small windows, accentuates the verticality of the sanctuary and expands the space. On the outside, the complex is compact and, from a chromatic and constructive point of view, the exposed brickwork of solid bricks creates a perfect mimesis with the landscape.
There are several hypotheses about the original foundation and function but it is common opinion to consider the Catholic as a welcoming place different realities followed one another over time: starting from the name Katholikòn - which in the Byzantine tradition indicates the most important church of the place - for Émile Bertaux the little church represented the first Cathedral of Stilo; for Orsi and Venditti, on the other hand, given the small size, the liturgical center of a monastery of Greek monks must have appeared, finally, the most accredited thesis meant the Catholic belonging to a monastery, probably dedicated to the Assumption, as evidenced by the quotation " per dexeteram Catholici ”contained in a document of 1094 which refers to the monastic complex.