di Francesco Vecchio
Tyrrhenian Sea, between the Angitola, the Mesima and the Serre, Poro tableland is to be
considered a peculiar small world.Thats because of the nature of its soil, composed
by different kinds of crystal rocks-mainly granite ones-its mild weather, vegetation and
dense population distributed in many small towns: all elements which make this tableland
different from the other Calabrian massifs.
moderate altitude-the homonymous mountain top reaches 710 metres and almost 600 with
Coccorinos one and with Vibo Valentia Castle eminence-allows people to live even in
the higher place.
Going through Poros top, you can see many houses spread all around; on the contrary,
if put together they would create a real town. Here, few not emigrated paisants live,
cultivating the fertile soil and breeding cattle and sheep.
The tableland extends with a level area and at the edges it slopes down towards Mesima and
more evidently towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, with many characteristic terraces, which
represent mans great efforts to transform earth into a vital land, during past
the different juts existing in the Tyrrhenian, Capo Vaticano, the Tower Front overlooking
the sea and the small top on which Joppolo Tower rises.
In those places, few rests or nothing still remains of the ancient monuments and
buildings, because of the earthquakes occurred in the past, which destroyed small towns,
in great part rebuilt in safer places later.
landslides, earthquakes and periodic deadly pestilences, Poro inhabitants always stood up
again, working hard and transforming the tableland soil. Today, the same land doesnt
give growers enough means to live: its a waste land, which takes to the woods day
Owing to its moderate altitude, the tableland could be crossed everywhere.
But ancient people preferred to go through the internal valleys at the edges and through a
pass in the middle, all of them joining Mesima valley, close to S.Demetrio; from this
point, once crossed Serre ridge, it was possible to reach the Ionic shore, following
Ancinale deep wake. Northern People penetrated into Calabria, going through Angitola
|Among the various
Calabrian passes,connecting sides each other and shores to the hinterland, the most
important was certainly the one between Joppolo and Mesima. In fact, this one put in touch
Emporion port (where today there is Nicotera Marina) with Ipponio.
In past times, Tyrrhenian cost inhabitants made use of that pass to develop their land
communications, not only with hinterland inhabitants, but also with Squillace and other
small towns of the Ionic cost ones.Foreign people used to throng into that cost, in order
to reach via Aquilia or Popilia,which allowed to move to north or south easily, being
itself located in the middle of this tableland.
mule-track road connecting Emporion port with the roman road and the hinterland towns,
most probably passed through Moladi, whose inhabitants lived transporting goods and
passengers on mules. In fact, Moladi means" muleteers town".
During the domination of Byzantines, basilian monks, sheltered in that zone, built
important monasteries;some of them kept in touch with Ionic shore towns,particularly with
Satriano city, where basilian monks founded some buildings and convents.
from Sicily, invaded by Saracens,penetrated the wooded Calabria through Poro road and gave
birth to new towns,which dedicated to Greek or Sicilian saints,worshipped by themselves.
After many raids, Saracens distroyed Nicotera, which prevented them from pillaging ,being
in the middle of that pass.
First, the place was called Poro Mount, that is to say Poro Pass, then, simply Monte Poro.
Also ancient people noticed its wonderful position facing the Tyrrhenian Sea. About Eolie
islands Strabone writes:
they are seven and all of them face whoever looks from
Sicily and whoever looks from the continent close to Medma".
Observing Calabria from Poro highest points,it seems like Lacconia village with the rests
of its tower, S.Eufemia Plain and Nicastro mounts on one side and many towns spread on the
slope extending from Palmi to Serre on the other side , are very close to each other.
In ancient times, Calabria zone included between Aspromonte and Nicastro was a centre lit
up with spiritual life:the Mercurio.
Thanks to Poro soil nature, its physical aspects and terraces conformation,people never
had problems to settle there, since the Iron Age, as the Torre Galli necropolis ,explored
by Paolo Orsi ,shows.
During the Classical Age, some towns stood in that area, after a movement of people and
goods, as we can know by the Greek or Latin names of those places and few objects found
But it was during the Middle Age that the tableland became densely populated.People from
coastal towns refugeed on mountains, because of Saracens continuous raids, in Tropea as
well. On those mounts, they founded some of the modern towns; others were built close to
basilian monasteries.Later, the following invaders built castles in the main places,where
new small towns developped.The most important places founded during the Middle Age are no
doubt :Mesiano, Mileto and Monteleone.