HISTORICAL MOMENTS OF SANT'ONOFRIO
Sant'Onofrio is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Vibo Valentia
and in the region of Calabria. It is located about 45 km southwest of
Catanzaro and about 7 km northeast of Vibo Valentia, about 370 miles
south of Rome. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 3,202 and
an area of 18.4 km2.
Sant'Onofrio borders the following municipalities: Filogaso, Maierato,
Pizzo, Stefanaconi, Vazzano, Vibo Valentia.
The origins of the town’s name Sant’Onofrio are traced to it earliest
inhabitants, a monastery of Basilian Monks. These monks historically
followed the Rule of Basil the Great. The chief importance of the monastic
rule and institute of St. Basil lies in the fact that to this day his
reconstruction of the monastic life is the basis of the monasticism of the
Eastern Orthodoxy and Eastern Catholicism: Ukrainian Catholic Church,
Greek Orthodox Church and Russian Orthodox Church, though in the
Orthodox Churches, the monks do not call themselves Basilians.
The community honors the hermit Sant’Onofrio from Cao with its name, a
man who had taken his name from Saint Onofrio Anacoreta. The town
was originally called “Chao” derived from the Ancient Greek word Chaos
referring to the areas position on a slope/ravine. Even today this natural
spring is referred to as “u chao”. This natural resource had once been used
for drinking water for residents and animals as well as a place where local
women performed laundry duties. Currently under reconstruction as of
2006. Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Latitude: 38° 41' 39'' 84 N
- Longitude: 16° 8' 22'' 20 E
- Pop. Density: 203.7 people/Sq. Km.
HISTORICAL MOMENTS OF CALABRIA
Calabria is one of the oldest regions of Italy. Millions of years ago it was part of the continent Tirrenide, which
sank into the sea in the Tertiary Period. From the Archipelago it was made up of three islands and a larger
peninsula which attached it to the massive Pollino. Calabria was invested with alluviums which covered its
interior water bodies with a mantell of sediment, until eventually forming the current plains of: S. Eufemia,
Corace, Sibari, Crati and Mesima.
Later on, erosion and a slow process of a rising coastline resulted in the phenomenon of terracing, until
reaching, in some points of the Aspromonte, the thousand meter mark. Today Calabria is a narrow penninsula
approximately 250 km long, with no point in the territory more that 50 km from the coast. The mountain
system stretches from its border with Basilicata to the strait of Messina, and land surface lying less than 200
meters above sea-level represents only 9% of the territory. The presence of humans in this region dates back to
the first phases of antiquity, and around 700,000 years before Christ a type of Homo Erectus evolved leaving
many traces of lithic industry spread along some coastal areas.
The arrival of the Ice-Age and the Riss-Glacier swept every trace of human life from the isolette that constituted
Calabria. Humans returned to Calabria in the Mid-Paleolithic Period, leaving traces throughout, and during
the Stone-Age created, in the Cave of Romito, in the town of Papasidero, "the most majestic and joyous
expression of Paleolithic Realism in the Mediterranean", the "Bos Primigenius", a figure of a bull on a cliff which
dates back 12,000 years. When the Neolithic Revolution came, man changed from hunter to farmer
(agriculture), and founded the first villages, around 3,500 B.C., becoming numerous in Calabria.
During the Iron-Age new people came to Calabria, and around 1500 B.C. the prehistoric phase ended. Greeks
arrived in large masses on the coasts and founded colonies that soon became rich and powerful, and truly
merited the name "Magna Graecia." The region was called Saturnia, Ausonia, Enotria, Tirrenia, Esperia and
finally Italy. In fact, before the Romans conquered and unified its [the peninsula's] many regions under one
dominion the inhabitants of the southern part of Calabria were called Italians. The name, Italy extended from
the south, northward, until identifying the entire peninsula by the time of Augustus, in 42 A.D. Numerous
and infinite traces of Greek and Roman culture were left on the Calabrese territory, even if today's Calabresi are
not fully aware of the history and cannot fully appreciate the value of this ancient heritage.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Calabria remained, for centuries, under the domination of the Byzantines,
though Arabs and Lombards tried in vain to conquer the entire territory. The Normans arrived around 1000
A.D., and created the Kingdom of the South. After the Normans came the Swabians. In the regions of the
south, Federico II created one of the most civilized nations in the world, the famous Kingdom of the Sun, a
place to encounter a variety of cultures and civilizations: Western, Islamic and the Greek-Orthodox... In 1250
Federico died and the reign fell into the hands of the Angioini, who created an "iron-fisted" feudal system to
control the subjects and the territory.
The Angioini were followed by the Aragonese, Spanish, Austrians and Bourbons, and during these periods the
population withdrew to the mountains and highlands, provoked by malaria, as well as numerous pirate raids
along the coast, first by Saracens and then Turks.
This phenomenon created an internal and external isolation, with population centers of the highlands and the
valleys unable to communicate, and with impassable roads during the winter season. When Italy was unified in
1861, Calabria had only one road that crossed it from the north to Reggio in the south; the railroad was
nonexistent and 90% of the towns had no internal or external roads.
Only the effort of the national government and fascism contributed to breaking this isolation. And today,
changes in social and economic conditions have resulted in a radical change of direction. Because of tourism,
many population centers are situated along the marine coasts and are becoming more important than their
highland counterparts. But this has also created problems: land and construction speculation have ruined the
landscape in many places, and the dispersion of the population has caused a loss of heritage and cultural
traditions that the Calabresi past has marked.
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