Pentedattilo, one of the most evocative villages of the Ionic coast of Calabria

320px-Pentedattilo_-_View_from_train_-_5_March_2011_-_(1)Pentedattilo, a ghost town with an ancient legend surrounding it.  A mammoth hand with five fingers that stands against the sky, as if to shout the screams of pain of Lorenzo Alberti, Marquis of Pentedattilo, ferociously killed in his castle, long ago in 1686.  A story of love and betrayal with two noble families of the 1600s as the protagonists: the Alberti and Abenavoli families, barons of Montebello Ionico, a nearby village.

Baron Bernardino Abenavoli, who was denied the hand of Antonietta Alberti, in hearing the news that his beloved had been given in marriage to Don Petrillo Cortes, son of the viceroy of Naples, became so angry that on Easter night 1686, he entered the castle and took revenge on all of the Alberti family, except his beloved and her future groom whom he took as a hostage.

The story of the “massacre of the Alberti family” over the centuries has given rise to various rumors. One of them claims that the stone towers that overlook the town represent the bloody fingers of the hand of Baron Abenavoli and it is why Pentedattilo has often been labeled as “the hand of the Devil.”

Its irresistible charm is also told by Edward Lear, an English traveler who in 1847, came to the province of Reggio Calabria.

The site – he wrote in “Diario di un viaggio a piedi”- is so magical that it compensates for every effort endured to reach it: wild and arid stone spiers thrown in the air, clearly outlined in the form of a giant hand against the sky (… ) as the darkness and the terror imposed on all the surrounding abyss.

Pentedattilo, whose name comes from the Greek words “penta” and “daktylos,” or five fingers, is 250 meters above sea level. Perched on the cliff of Mount Calvario, in the Aspromonte, and a few kilometers from the beautiful beach of Melito Porto Salvo (province of Reggio Calabria), a village full of history with a thriving economic center, an area throughout the greek-Roman period and an important military center due to its strategic position during Roman rule.

It has long remained a ghost town, abandoned, as a result of migration and continuing natural threats such as earthquakes and floods. In recent years, Pentedattilo, has rediscovered its splendor: the stone houses have been restored and turned into workshops and lodging accommodations, giving employment to several young craftsmen and artists from the province of Reggio. All this is thanks to the joint efforts of different agencies, the Association Pro Pentedattilo, the Agency of Borghi Soldiali with the support of the Fondazione con il Sud, the European Community and hundreds of youths who come each year with Campi della legalità Arci e Libera.

In the warmer months, they are hosting notable events related to music (the Paleariza), as well as theater, photography and cinema, including the well-known International Festival of short films, the Pentedattilo Film Festival, which takes place every year since the first edition in 2006 .

In short, it is place full of charm, scenic beauty and culture, a real jewel of the Greek Aspromonte.

For info on how to reach Pentedattilo, see: