Monteporo (Spilinga - Zungri)
Spilinga it’s about 430 m above see-level. At the foot of the hill or under the country, there is a statue of the Madonna inside the cave, she has a great importance. There is also a fountain, which makes a romantic atmosphere. Famous is the “nduja” a typical hot sausage of this region.
Zungri rises from the plateau of Monte Poro: a terrace of pliocenic tufa surrounded by delightful deep valleys with charming torrents of spring water.
During the Middle Ages it fell under the political jurisdiction of the “Kastellion” of Mesiano. The first mention of the two can be found in the “Rationes Decimarum Italiae”, where “Zunculi” is refered to in connection with the tithes col-lected in 1310. The place-name, however, clearly derives from the Greek word for rock: This meaning is wonderfully suited to the characteristic form of the places in which, during the eleventh century, a large number of monasteries in-fluenced the life of the “Chorioi”(villages), the scene of intense agricultural production.
The life of abstinence and meditation reached its peak in “Asfalanteo”, where we can see the meditating figure of St. Elia (from BIOS of the Speleota, line 1175).
“Asfalanteo” corresponds to the present day Fossi. The GROTTE DEGLI SBARIATI (Caves of the Stragglers) face the half-terraces leading down to the “Malopera” torrent. Thirty-nine of these caves have been discovered. In this particular instance, they represent a unique complex for Calabria.
The most varied vegetation and the surface of the sun-baked tufaceous slopes have colourfully protected this historical complex from the ravages of time. The ravages of time and of people as well. Almost as though out of respect for their sacredness the structure of these cave-houses has been preserved, even during the period in which they were used as tool-sheds and for the storage of forage. To a visitor who is prepared to study attentively and thought fully those things that have survived the centuries, these caves reveal a distant world, composed of simple acts but also of a deep spiritual-ity in both life and work, as well as a highly developed sense of community. Framed by the extraordinary Mediterra-nean vegetation of the area these cave-houses represent a complete urban fabric: streets, steps and a water supply sys-tem. These artistic and architectonic elements, when combined with evidence of a more than simply ascetic life, pro-duce an extremely rare type of “house”. Apart from two houses, which contain two rooms, these caves are composed of single rooms with a semi-circular or rectangular ground plan. Many of the have domed vaults with conic-shaft holes at the centre for ventilation. The entire complex shows evidence of ancient industriousness but, above all, reveals a perfect understanding of geometry and the principles of stasis since, even today, most of the “houses” have preserved intact their niches, their ventilation systems and their rudimentary interior structures. According to research carried out by French and German scholars the rock settlement of Zungri dates from the tenth to the twelfth century. Remains of clay walls and stone columns dating from Roman times can be seen at Papaglionti di Zungri. The name of the village of Pa-paglionti (which according to some people derives from Paleontos) is of Greek-Byzantine origin. It is a corruption of Papasleontius, an ecclesiastical figure who is believed to have been the original possessor of a surname which was later adopted by the village during the early Middle Ages. Zungri is famous for its saline sulphurous and mineral waters. I should like to thank all of those people whose information has contributed to the realisation of this work.
In Spilinga the Rest of a roman aqueduct, natural caves the church S. Giovanni Battista.
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