Calabria is dotted with small medieval villages, some renowned, others less so, but all rich in charm and capable even today, thanks to their artistic and cultural beauty, to tell a long story spanning a thousand years. Among them, a writer, Francesco Rovito, alerted us to Macchia, a village in the the municipality of Spezzano Piccolo, at the foothills of the Sila highlands, in the province of Cosenza. It has been called in the past Casale di Cosenza and then included within Bagliva di Spezzano Piccolo, a small charming town seeming from another time. Inhabited by only a few families, Macchia has not undergone any restoration and remains a small age-old architectural treasure between small buildings that testify to the supremacy of the families who have written the history of the medieval village, artistic portals, churches and alleys. Among the buildings to admire are the Palace Barrese-Tricarico whose noteworthy characteristic is the monumental entrance; the palace Benvenuto (now the Palace Turco), a “casa palaziata” with its distinctive stone portal, where you set the family crest; the Gullo palace, on whose main façade is placed a former sundial and a memorial plaque dedicated to the minister.
Fausto Gullo, lawyer, is in fact among the famous people from Spezzano Piccolo. A politician of national fame, first the Minister of Agriculture and then of Justice, who was a real social innovator, marking the history of Italy and the South with his land reforms. His commitment in support of agricultural workers led him to merit the appellation “Minister of the peasants.” Today, on the ground floor of the old family house, you can visit the library, a true historical and cultural bulwark, thanks to 15,000 books contained within, from monographs to periodicals. Of particular interest are the churches of St. Andrew the Apostle, which from the end of the fourteenth century still maintains the original portal in tufff stone and the Church of the Madonna delle Grazie, called the Conicella for its geographical position.
A witness to the unique beauty of this place, was the decision of the playwright and stage designer Rocco Chinnici, after visiting the town, to organize in 2013 a live nativity scene, titled “The Dream of Mary.” A true work of art that was voted the most beautiful living nativity scene in Italy that year. Since then, the inhabitants of Macchia, already known for their nativity art, renew the ties with Christmas through the organization of the living nativity scene, thanks to the commitment of the Cultural Association MAB, founded to raise awareness, enhancement and promotion of the village. If wishing to see another living nativity scene, we recommend to those passing by to stop in this picturesque village suspended between history and tradition.