• Salvatore Fuda

Pentedattilo... the "five fingers" town

On the cliff of Monte Calvario rises Pentedattilo, a mysterious and fascinating village, a fraction of Melito di Porto Salvo. Abandoned until recently, the ancient village, considered over time the most evocative ghost town of Calabria, is now revived by new commercial and tourist activities. A beautiful village with incredible legends.

The village takes its name from the shape of the cliff of Monte Calvario: a giant hand with five fingers (from the Greek pente, meaning five and dactilo, meaning finger). Right under this mountain the Castle was built first, and then all around the ancient village, surrounded by an extraordinary natural landscape, a popular destination for hikers and tourists from all over the world.


Its foundation dates back to the 9th century, in defense of the Reggio area from Saracen raids. During the Greco-Roman period, Pentedattilo was a great economic center and an important military center, thanks to its strategic position, from which it controlled the roads to reach Aspromonte. During the domination of the Byzantines the village experienced a slow decline, which began with numerous looting by the Saracens. In 1783 Pentedattilo was seriously destroyed by an earthquake, one of the events that led to its complete depopulation. The population continued to move towards Melito Porto Salvo until the Risorgimento, due to the constant threats of floods and earthquakes. Precisely for this reason, the old village became a fraction in 1811.

Known as the ghost town, in 1980 Pentedattilo was rediscovered thanks to volunteers from all over Europe, starting its recovery. Today, the small stone houses, surrounded by prickly pears, are accommodations of widespread hospitality and represent only a small part of what continues to be done for the rebirth of this ancient country; artisans and artists have in fact occupied the new houses and moved their activities here: there are workshops of wood, glass and ceramics; it is also possible to admire the Museum of popular traditions.

Did you know that?

The village of Pentedattilo is one of the villages by which the writer Edward Lear was most fascinated: in his "Diary of a journey on foot" he wrote a wonderful representation of it as it was in the nineteenth century. It is therefore part of the path called "English Path", which crosses all the villages described by the writer during his trip to Italy.

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