Under an archaeological point of view, Tropea appears able to hide her deep secrets. Infact, we have few testimonies: a part of these are indirect, and a lot of are sleeping too under nobles buildings of the historical centre of the city.
A “phitos” and some urns (from proto villanovian period) were find in 1962 in “la Croce” rood. In 1954 Carmelo Chiavaro signalled us the discover of an urn, dated in the final bronze, and of others archaeological materials comes from the “ex-villetta Crigna” ground (today “casa Macrì”).
The IV century b. C. is the period of a cristians' "massae tropeiane", leaded by a woman called Hirene. In this period was probably built a little cemeterial Basilica, that the studious Pasquale Toraldo identify with “Santa Maria del Bosco” and would seen Hirene connected with S.Domenica martyr of Tropea. Inside the Basilica were discovered cruets of glass utilized for the rites.
The Basilica presented a cubicle with frescoes painted on the walls, in which were appears the already quoted Hirene conductrix and "Monsis Presbitero" with his wife "Leta Presbitera".
At the IV-V centuries b.C. are dated two sepulchrales epigraphs paleochristian: the first, that was under the old tower Tropea’s castle, stand in a tomb excavated in tufa and protected by bricks, is marble and dedicated at certain Gaudenzio; the second, not too far from the first, was dedicated to a Christian man called Saturnino.
After these two epigraphs, followed the discover of many others, illustrated and spreaded, on the end of the XVII century, by De Rossi. The peculiarity of these evidences is that their presence represent a rarity for the age, being the only in Calabria, while the frescoes in the cubicle is an "unicum" (the only one) in the Southern regions of Italy.
In 1725, one of four towers of the castle was shaked, and the entire castel was finally destroied in 1876, by Carlo Toraldo with a lot of explosive. The building edified instead of the castle had fortunately contained a little paleochristians' cubicle recognized only in 1936 by Pasquale Toraldo, a nephew of Carlo, who was the author of the castle's destruction.
Dagherrotipus - The only one image of the old castle of Tropea before the destruction
Drawing of the old castle of Tropea before the destruction
Reconstructon of the castle with an add of color