Nicotera is a town situated in the Tyrrhenian coast that holds an amazing patrimony of natural beauties, an ancient history and a lot of traditions and culture.
The origin of the town is connected to the ancient city of Medma which was made by Locresis of Locri epizephiri.
In 1065 Robert Guiscard -enlarging his Principate of Salerno– conquered it from the Byzantine Empire, and the town grew around the castle and the cathedral built under the Normans. In 1122, Nicotera was attacked by an Almoravid fleet, some of the populace were killed while the rest were taken and sold into slavery.
Under Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Nicotera attained economic wealth. To encourage commerce and industry, Frederick promoted Jewish settlement in the area called “Giudecca“, in which Jews of this ghetto inhabited the area near the castle, enjoy protection from Christian persecution by the Bishop of Nicotera.
In the 15th century, under the rule of Alfonso of Aragon, it passed under the yoke of feudalism and it decayed. In 1806 the French Revolution swept away the feudal system in Nicotera. After the restoration of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, Nicotera continued to be chief town of the district, with what are now the modern communes of Joppolo and Limbadi as its dependencies.
ATTRACTIONS IN NICOTERA
The main center of the town is very compact and most part of touristic attractions are located in proximity to the center of the town. Except for a few churches and a handful of other sight seeing attractions, there aren’t many places to visit so that means that they can all be visited within a day but visitors who have their own cars can also drive around to explore the nearby villages and the outskirts of Nicotera.
Castel Ruffo is located in a panoramic location in the town. Perched on top of a high cliff, it dominates the surrounding landscapes. The castle was built in 1764 and has a typical Norman architecture. Over the years the castle has been renovated and rebuilt several times. Today there are three different museums which can be visited by tourists.
The Assunta Cathedral
One of the most important religious places to visit in Nicotera is the Assunta cathedral or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. The cathedral had been built in 1785 where there was an ancient Norman church. The cathedral has a beautiful baroque style. Inside the cathedral there are several art works and ornamental decorations that are considered.
Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art
The Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art is located close to the cathedral and has a large and interesting collection of objects. The museum is spread out over 48 rooms and has various objects and archeological findings from different areas that were found in the region but there is even a separate section that is dedicated to the Norman age which is quite noteworthy.
The Episcopal Art Gallery
The Episcopal Art Gallery is a must visit for art lovers. The art gallery is located in the Seminary Building and has a large collection of beautiful canvases. Most of the paintings in the gallery were made by several famous artists in the region and they date back to the 17th and the 18th century
The San Francesco Church
San Francesco church is worth visiting because of its amazing decorations and its main altar. The church had been built in the 15th century and has been renovated a few times. The Cappuccini convent is annexed to the church building.
The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum is located within the Ruffo castle of the town where tourists can visit a large collection of several archeological findings, artifacts and objects which had been found in the region over the years during various excavations. The museum is definitely worth visiting since it gives insight on the background and the history of the town.
GETTING TO NICOTERA
Nicotera is located quite close to the city of Vibo Valentia so it is quite easy to reach the town. Visitors can reach Vibo Valentia easily by train from cities in the region as well from other destinations in Italy. From Vibo Valentia visitors can reach Nicotera by buses or by car. The state buses that operate in the region connect the town to Vibo Valentia and several other towns in the region. Buses depart every few hours from these locations and tickets can be bought at the main bus stations. Those who have their own cars can also drive down to the town quite easily.