Bisignano (CS)

BISIGNANO

Bisignano has a long and ancient history that left a mark on the small streets, archways and staircases of the old town where the majestic noble buildings and the churches are evidences of the cultural past. The town includes eight districts with several little shops where local industrious artisans work and produce artistic handicrafts. Bisignano is the birthplace of one of the greatest families of luthiers in the world, the De Bonis family. The workshops of the family descendants and other well-known makers of stringed instruments are still located in the town. Another remarkable local tradition is typical pottery handicrafts. Bisignano stands on the hilly area of the Sila greca, 350 m high on the sea level. The town faces the Crati river valley and the terraced land offers a wonderful sight on the surroundings. This is the reason why the town is called the balcony on the Crati river valley. Several noble buildings of historic and artistic interest adorn the old town districts. If you walk along the town streets, you can plunge into the unaltered past and merge with the culture and traditions of a place that still surprises the visitors. The history of Bisignano covers 3000 years. No evidence exists about the first settlements in the town area, but several archaeological findings (troglodyte dwellings, grave goods and arms) date them to the 15th and 14th centuries B.C. The ancient road Via Popilia (built in 132 B.C.) ran from Rome to Reggio Calabria and crossed the land of Bisignano during Jubilee pilgrimages, particularly from 1300 on, thus favoring trades with the outside world. The earliest records of Brutia Besidiae show that, in 205 B.C., Bisignano people took part (together with other populations of the Crati river valley) in the battle between the allied Hannibal and the Roman army. In time, Bisignano always defended its autonomous position against Rome, fiercely struggling to maintain its independence. Moreover, Bisignano fought against those populations that dominated during the time and left traces of their passage, thus enriching the cultural heritage of the town.



 


Address Piazza Collina Castello
  87043 Bisignano (CS)
Phone number 0984 951071
Fax 0984 951178
Website http://www.comune.bisignano.cs.it/
 

 

The great number of religious buildings in the area witness the Church’s activism that has characterized the town over the centuries. Although the existence of the Bisignano Diocese was already assumed in the 6th-7th century, evidence of its foundation can be traced back with certainty to the 8th century, when Anderamus, the first bishop of the town, took part in the Synod summoned in Rome by Pope Zachary (741-752). The figure of Lucantonio Pirozzo, a Franciscan friar who became a saint under the name of Sant’Umile da Bisignano (Humilis of Bisignano) is deeply venerated. The sanctuary of Sant’Umile, also known as the Riforma Monastery, was founded by Blessed Pietro Cathin who was sent there by Saint Francis of Assisi. The 15th century main door is surmounted by the coat of arms of the princely Sanseverino Family and the Christogram of Saint Bernardino of Siena. At the end of the central nave the apse houses the wooden Jesus Crucifixed, sculpted by Friar Umile from Petralia in 1637 (the year Saint Humilis died). Inside the Monastery there is a statue of the Madonna of the Graces in marble attributed to the school of Domenico Gagini and a painting of Saint Daniel Fasanella a Ceuta, attributed to an unknown Neapolitan painter of the school of Luca Giordano. The cell where Saint Humilis lived can also be visited. Besides several relics, the cell hosts a 18th century portrait of the Saint. The Chapel is dedicated to Saint Humilis and was erected in 1882, the year when the first wooden statue of the Saint was sculpted. The church gives access to a wonderful 13th century cloister. The cathedral dedicated to Saint Maria Assunta also deserves a visit. The church is Norman and was damaged in different earthquakes. Prior to reconstruction, the façade had three doors giving access to the internal naves, very similar to Cosenza Cathedral. The interior presents three naves, each with an apse at the end. The central nave is decorated with temperas reproducing scenes from the life of Madonna and Christ, dated from the 1930s and painted by Emilio Iusi from Rose. Besides frescos with scenes from the Assumption, the central apse also houses a mosaic of the Immaculate Conception realized during the episcopacy of Monsignor Rinaldi (1956 - 1977). The festival of Saint Humilis is held every year in August with many religious and non-religious events. In June the Palio del Principe, a jousting tournement opposing the districts of the old town is staged and enjoined by tourists and local visitors.



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