Pentedattilo is a ghost town in Calabria. The name comes from Greek, meaning five fingers (penta daktylos). The town sits 250 metres above the sea below, on Mount Calvario, which used to resemble a hand holding up its 5 fingers.
The town was founded as a Greek colony in 640BC. It continued to flourish during the Roman era, but declined in the Byzantine domination when it was sacked by Saracens. Normans conquered the town in the 12th century and several others controlled the town over the years until an earthquake severely damaged it in 1783.
Much of the population moved to nearby Melito Porto Salvo. Pentedattilo remained uninhabited until 1960 – 1980 when it was partially restored by volunteers.
The day we arrived there was a howling wind blowing through the deserted streets. If that wind was a regular occurrence I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live there. It was truly miserable…come for a walk anyway.
Of course it isn’t completely deserted these days. It draws quite a few tourists and there are a couple of shops and a little museum.
We were dragged into the museum by a very vocal woman who shouted information while thrusting objects towards us at speed. We couldn’t get away until an unsuspecting couple came in and we made our escape while she was distracted momentarily.
We saw a bride and groom posing for photos and later saw the beautifully decorated church. I wonder if being married in a ghost town is really a good omen…time will tell.
One thing that is thriving in Pentedattilo is prickly pear. It grows all over the hillside.
The wind eventually blew us down the hill and into our car and we happily sped away.
If you visit Pentedattilo (it really is worth a visit) don’t plan on staying in the area. It is not attractive in any way, wind or no wind.