Belmonte Calabro is a town located on the Cosenza coast, perched on a barren hill at 262 meters a.s.l., overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Although there are many who believe that the town name derives from its beautiful geographical position, it refers to its founder, Drogone Beaumont, who built the castle in 1270.
After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Saracens conquered the nearby Amantea, by establishing an Emirate, until 885, when the Byzantines re-conquered the city. Saracen invasions lasted throughout the XI century: for this reason locals decided to refuge themselves in the hinterland, building in the territory of Belmonte Calabro first a circular tower and, later, other two towers.
The construction of the castle dates back to 1270 by Drogone Beaumont. From the XIV century Belmonte castle was enfeoffed to some members of the Neapolitan nobility (Mastrogiudice, Cossa, Sacchi). In 1345, Queen Giovanna I of Naples separated Belmonte Calabro from Amantea by a diploma, thus establishing its definitive independence.
Sites of interest:
- the historical center of Belmonte Calabro, beautiful architectural gem nestled at the foot of the castle, silent witness of the past: untouched houses and buildings, narrow streets and the town walls on which open three gates;
- the remains of the castle, built in 1270 by Drogrone of Beaumont, had an irregular square shape; strategically located, it was damaged by various earthquakes, as well as, the French siege of 1806. For this reason, the Genio Civile in 1905 ordered the demolition of the crumbling ruins.
- the coastal towers of Bastia an Verri, part of the defensive system designed by the Viceroy don Pedro de Toledo, in order to protect the coasts of the Southern Italy from the Saracen attacks.
- the Collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta, XVI century church built on the site of the pre-exiting Curia, at the behest of Count Carlo Ravaschieri. Since 1761 the church was restored in Baroque style. The pointed arch portal is in decorated tuff stone, the high altar and balustrade in polychrome marble. Under the floor there are about 50 graves dug into the rock. We point out the altar painting of SS. Sacramento (1777) by Nicola Domenico Menzele, the main altar painting (1794) by Francesco Basile and the painting decorating the ceiling of the nave.
- the Capuchin Monastery, built by Maria Ravaschieri in 1606. The church is dedicated to San Giuseppe. The convent was closed for the Murat laws effect in 1807.
- the Church of Carmine, annexed to the convent, built in the XVI century by the Carmelite fathers for the wish of Count Torino Ravaschieri. Here all the noble men of Belmonte Calabro are buried. The Carmelite convent was closed after the Murat laws in 1807.
- the Church of Immacolata Concezione (1622) has a late-Renaissance style portal and frescoes of the Neapolitan school in poor condition.
- the Church of Purgatorio (XIV century), parish church of Belmonte Calabro until 1585;
- the Church of San Pasquale Baylon (1908), in Maria village;
- the Church of Santa Barbara (XX century);
- the Church of Santa Croce, in Vada village, built in the early XX century;
- the Church of Santa Maria dei Greci, built on the ruins of a pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite. Collapsed in 1434, was re-built 50 years later by the Archbishop of Cosenza Carlo Domenico Del Carretto. Inside the building there is an ancient sarcophagus on which is depicted St. George killing the dragon.
- Palazzo Ravaschieri della Torre, built by Orazio Giovan Battista Ravaschieri after the earthquake of 1638, becoming the family residence. It is a imposing palace located on a panoramic position, overlooking the sea;
- Palazzo Pignatelli, residence of the Pignatelli family, is located in the historical center of the town and dates back to the XVIII century;
- Palazzo del Rivellino, in Marina di Belmonte village, was built for defensive purpose;
- Palazzo Barone-Del Giudice (XVIII century);
- the regional marine park of Scogli d'Isca.