As you get in Scolacium, you can see a spectacular place, with a view on the Squillace’s gulf, centenarian olive trees, and monumental remains of a Byzantine Basilica. But Scolacium has a long story to tell, because before the Byzantines was an important city, in the fascinating land of Magna Grecia and it was a rich and powerful center for the Romans, as the archaeological remains can confirm.
What you can see today in Scolacium, is particularly related to the roman age, but the city was important even before the I century A.D., when the Romans rebuilt this city as their colony.
The city was known before with a Greek name Skylletion, and was a Greek colony, established in a very ancient time, because there is a legend about the foundation of this city that was made by Ulysses or Menesteo, who were heroes in the War of Troy.
The city had a strategic position on the sea, and for this reason had a great importance in the economic system in Magna Grecia, especially because the interest of Crotone and Locri Epizefiri, two of the main centers for commerce. At first Skylletion was close to Crotone, but then was dominated by Locri in IV century B.C. The city was important not only in Magna Grecia but the whole Greek world, because was involved in the Peloponnesian War in V century B.C.
The romans were interested in this city because of its position and the emperor Nerva organized a transformation of the city and the countryside of Skylletion, that was renamed Minerva Nervia Augusta Scolacium.
The city was rich and prosperous in the roman age, and in the last years of the empire, in Scolacium, has been born Cassiodorus that was an important writer and collector of the ancient culture in this time of decadence. Since VII century A.D. the city has been dominated by many peoples, for example the Byzantines and the Normans and lost its relevance.
The archaeological park of Scolacium
The Greek part of Skylletion is no longer visible, because when the romans rebuilt the city, they made an invasive transformation, and they made a complete revolution of the urban asset.
They romans built the reticulate of streets, and the pavement of them is visible, and they built also walls, aqueduct and sewers.
You can see the remains of the main buildings, that were built in I century A.D.: in the area of the forum there are the remains of Capitolium, a basilica and baths, next to a hill there is a theatre that could host 5000 people. The theatre is well preserved and there were many decorations and status in it, that now are in the museum of the archaeological park, with some portraits of members of the Giulio-Claudia dynasty as Agrippina and Germanicus that are historically relevant, and that were discovered in the site of Scollacium.
There is also an amphitheater, but is less preserved, a necropolis, and many part of the city have still to be excavated.
The majestic remains that you can see as you walk into the archaeological park belong to a mediaeval church.
Imagine Copyright: By Sandro Baldi - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Tuesday-Sunday: from 9 am to one hour before sunset
Closing day: Monday
Cumulative ticket archaeological area + museum: Full ticket: 3,00 € - Reduced ticket: 1,50 €
ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE CARD:
FOUNDATION: V century B.C.
DECLINE: VII century A.D.
CIVILISATION: Greeks, Romans
ADMINISTRATION: Polo Museale della Calabria
DISCOVERY: XX century
Getting to Scolacium
From Catanzaro take SS280, toward Reggio Calabria, take the exit to Reggio C./Soverato, and take Via Scylletion (SP172), for 3 km to the entrance of the archaeological park.
The reference station is Lamezia Terme Centrale. From there you can use the railroad connections to the station of Catanzaro Centrale, Germaneto. Those coming from the Ionian Taranto-Reggio Calabria, instead, must stop at the Catanzaro Lido station and continue by bus or taxi.