Martone, Calabria

This small center has a mainly agricultural economy with production of oranges, potatoes, olives and wine, and was once renowned for the quality of the walnuts. There are a number of theories on the origin of the name: it may derive from a Greek family "Martis" or from Mars, the Roman god of war, or also from an ancient family from Normandy who settled in Calabria in the 11th century.


  • Population: about 520 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 89040
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0964
  • Demonym: martonesi
  • Patron Saint: St. Giorgio, celebrated on 23 April.

History - Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Archeological findings show the presence of human settlements here since very ancient times. The present center however rose in the period of the Saracen invasions, when many coastal populations sought shelter in the hinterland.

Historian Ottaviano Pasqua identifies Martone with the village of Santa Maria di Bucito, that appeared already in a notary deed of 1181 and rose probably around a monastery of Byzantine monks. It was a fiefdom of many noble families among which the Correale, Loffredo, Ruffo, Elia, Aragon d'Ajerbe and finally the Carafa until 1806.

History - Modern Times

In 1783, because of the ominous earthquake that caused massive destruction all over Calabria, Martone was moved from the low zone (Basia) to a higher position on a rocky hill where it still rises.

On 29 August 1860 the town risked being destroyed after a bombing order of general La Marmora, but the following day 30 August the order was cancelled and the population believed this was a miracle of St. George; still today the event is commemorated with a great festivity in honor of the Saint.

What to see

  • The Pietra di Sant'Anania, a huge rock containing a great many fossils, on the road that in the past connected Martone with San Giovanni di Gerace and to the flour mills along the Levadio river.
  • The Grotta dei Saraceni, situated in contrada Gujune, where since the 7th century was a community of monks of Sant'Anania.
  • The Torre Mazzoni in the area called Sujeria, was part of a system of sighting towers in the valley of the Torbido river; built in stone, could lodge a military garrison with their horses.
  • The Vescovado Palace - outside the village, was a property of Baron Macrì, and the bishops of Locri used to spend the summer here.
  • The church of San Giorgio, built in the 14th century, destroyed in the 1783 earthquake and rebuilt later, hosts the relics of San George's arm.
  • The church of San Giuseppe a 16th century church, contains real-size wooden statues of the Sorrowful Virgin, San Giuseppe, Santa Lucia, and others, which were possibly kept originally in the no more extant Chiesa del Carmine.
  • The parish church of the Assunta, very ancient but completely rebuilt after the earthquakes, has a precious crucifix in silver of the 17th century.
[the information on history and monuments was derived from Vincenzo Frasca's research work]

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Provinces of Calabria
Calabria region
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