Santa Caterina dello Ionio is a village that overlooks the Ionian Sea south of Catanzaro in Calabria. The origins of St. Catherine can be traced back to the year 1000 when , due to the attacks of the Saracens , the inhabitants of the various villages took refuge in isolated places in the area, finally choosing the hill on which now stands St. Catherine giving rise to a small village surrounded by defensive walls , which opened in four doors, only one of which – the “Gate of the water ” – it is still possible to admire and from which you reach the beautiful Church of Santa Maria Assunta ( Mother Church ) built in the seventeenth and rebuilt after the terrible fire that affected the village in 1983. Although the fire of 1983 has dealt a mortal blow to the life of the village , however, has not dampened the character and its historic / architectural richness considering the presence of numerous monuments churches and palaces with beautiful granite portals.
Still, Santa Caterina dello Ionio , looks like a maze of alleys, climbs and descents, of streets where the houses are built close to each other, but sometimes it opens an amazing view where nature shows off in every season, its most beautiful colors and the blue sky reflected in the waters of the sea.
The life of the village takes place quietly, slowly and silently. However, you do not ever feel alone: the village welcomes you in its warm embrace and the locals will open the doors of their home.
You lose track of time: you will not remember what day it is, what time is it ,what year it is. It can happen to sit in the square and someone sits next to you to tell you the story of his life. It can happen when you walk through the narrow streets of the village that someone appeared at the window of his home invites you to come in for a coffee. If you think that what you are reading is all very strange, when you get there it will seem natural.
But it is when there are festivals that the village comes alive and lives its moments of spectacle. The Christian holidays (Christmas and Easter) and occurrences related to the patron saint are particularly celebrated.
The feast of the Patron Saint, takes place twice a year, the second Sunday in July, and November 25.
On this occasion the statue of the Saint is carried in procession through the streets of the town accompanied by a marching band. It takes place in the central square a real market of local produce and crafts. The festival continues with music and folk dances (tarantella), to close with the amazing fireworks.
Attractive and exciting is the Christmas vigil that takes place in the Mother Church (church of Santa Maria Assunta), while for New Year’s Eve is a very beautiful tradition to bring the Child Jesus to homes as a sign of blessing. The sweet sound of bagpipes follows the Baby Jesus until his return to the church where he is greeted with fireworks.