Created in 1968 by the fusion of three older towns, Sambiase, Nicastro, and Sant’Eufemia di Lamezia, the municipality of Lamezia Terme today extends between the Tyrrhenian coastal plain and the Calabrian Appenines. This geographically large seaside municipality was intended as an industrial, agricultural, and cultural centre in a region with significant tourist and economic potential.
Sambiase was founded in the 10th century. At that time, the town grew around the monastery of San Biagio (St. Blaise), taking its name from the saint’s. Sambiase is home to the parish church of San Pancrazio, and nearby are the hot springs of Caronte (already known in Roman times as Aquae Angae), whose waters bubble forth at a temperature of nearly 40°C.
Nicastro, successor of the Byzantine town of Neocastrum built in the 9th century as a military outpost (whence its name, “new fort”), assumed a certain prominence with the Norman and Swabian occupations. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II had a castle built here, which he used to imprison his rebellious son Henry VII of Swabia. Around the castle is now located the historic old town of Nicastro, which has preserved its typically medieval layout.
The modern town of Sant’Eufemia has developed considerably in recent decades. Its origins go back to the Greek colonization of Magna Graecia and the founding of the settlement of Terina by Croton at the beginning of the 5th century BC. The archeological park near the former town centre of Sant’Eufemia houses the ruins of this town, which played a major commercial role in Magna Graecia.
The old towns of Sambiase and Nicastro are home to elegant palaces, monasteries, and churches, as well as Baroque and Neoclassical buildings. The main cultural institutions of the municipality are also located there. As far as nature is concerned, the city is home to a large botanical garden featuring rare plants, as well as Mitoio National Park, connected to the Caronte hot springs, the community’s most famous attraction.
The festival of Giugno Lametino takes place each June, with the participation of numerous famous Italian singers. The old town of Nicastro hosts open-air cultural events throughout the summer.
Where on earth
Situated at the far southern end of the peninsula, a stone’s throw from the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Calabrian town of Lamezia Terme is part of the province of Catanzaro and is centrally located among the region’s chief cities. A town of 72,000 people, Lamezia Terme alternates between historic areas and more modern neighbourhoods amidst agricultural areas. The town preserves traces of the period of ancient Greek colonization; its ground has yielded some of the finest coins and medals from this period. The fruit of an especially rich history, this town’s cultural heritage is diverse and remarkable.