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Gerace

4.3
Churches · Sacred & Religious Sites · Castles
Gerace is a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria, Calabria, southern Italy. Gerace is located some 10km inland from Locri, yet the latter town and the sea can be seen from Gerace's perch atop a 500m vertical rock. The town stands on a hill formed of conglomerates of sea fossils from 60 millions years ago. It is inscribed into I Borghi più belli d'Italia list.HistoryThe name of the city derives from the Greek hierax (ἱέραξ) ("sparrowhawk"). According to a legend, the inhabitants of the coast, fleeing from a Saracen attack in 915 CE, were led by a sparrowhawk to the mountains commanding the area of Locri, and here they founded the city. Archeological findings showed that the area was in fact inhabited since the Neolithic Age; also traces of Sicel presence have been found.Later, even during the highest splendour of Locr, the hill was inhabited and was later the site of a Roman military garrison. After the Byzantine reconquest of Italy in the 6th century, the town became an administrative, military and religious capital under the name of Santa Ciriaca.In 986 the Saracens briefly conquered the city, but it returned to Byzantine control until the Norman conquest in 1059. Gerace was seat of a principality under the Normans, whose symbol was the Castle of the Hautville or Altavilla. It subsequently followed the history of the Kingdom of Naples. During the Sicilian Vespers (late 13th century), Gerace was occupied by the Aragonese Admiral Roger of Lauria who turned it into his own feudal estate; later it became a "Royal City".
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