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Old bridge, Papasidero
by Jesse Andrews

Looking over Papasidero
by Jesse Andrews

Burial place, Papasidero
by Jesse Andrews

Most photos on VisitsItaly are by Jesse Andrews. Please Contact VisitsItaly.Com for reproduction of any kind at:

Key in arch, Papasidero
by Jesse Andrews


This is Papasidero
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 1,019 (2003)
Official site:

The town of Papasidero, deep within the National Park of Pollino, is famous throughout Italy for the Grotto of Romito, in which skeletal remains of "Homo-Sapient" (pre-historic) man from the Palaeolithic period were found in 1961 by Paolo Graziosi, a professor of ancient human history at the University of Florence. 

The skeletons and their place of burial inside the unusual Grotto of Romito, are different from other remains found in Europe because though, researchers had previously found skeletal remains buried individually, at Romito they found two sets of couples buried together.

The burials suggested to academics that for Homo Sapien
s, the incredibly beautiful Grotto of Romito, with numerous drawings from the Paleolithic era, stalagmites and stalactites, was most-likely a holy place for humankind more than 11,000 years ago.  In addition, the Matrimonio-Sati (the burial of a couple) is confirmation of the primacy of filial partnerships between men and women from the very beginnings of human history

The drawings within the cave, as well as the geomorphologic works of art, are open to visitors along with replications of the skeletal figures (the real ones have been moved to Florence).  However, original prehistoric art still remains and it is truly something to see and appreciate in person because it reflects a deep instinct in mankind to create and leave our mark. "We were here!"

Visitors to the Grotto of Romito can read about and examine numerous artefacts at the excavation itself and at the Information Centre/Museum located at the entrance to the Grotto, which is open from 10AM 4PM Monday to Saturday.

The Grotto is a short 25 minute drive from the town of Papasidero, which is a fascinating place to visit.  The name of the town comes from the  Greek "paps Isidoros" or Father  Isidoros, who was most-likely an early religious and secular leader of this once populous Greek mountain community.  Indeed, Greek, not Italian, was spoken here until the 16th-17th centuries, and persists even until today in the local dialect. 

Despite the fact that Papasidero is a small village, there are more churches than there are in nearby Scalea and Praia a Mare combined.

Il Santurario di Costantinopoli,
 nestled beside the Laos River, is one of the most interesting churches in the town.  It's a bit of a hike down to get to it, because it lies on the north side of the town, away from the road.  However, travellers will not want to miss the many intact Byzantine frescos.

The oldest church within the town is Santa Sofia, which looks from the outside to be nothing more than a shack (I know, because I passed it by several times looking for it).  However, there are signs throughout the town for this church.  The only problem a visitor to Santa Sofia might encounter is the need for a key to enter.  The key is available at most of the town's cafs, but remember these are not open from 1-5PM, so make sure to visit the town of Papasidero in the morning if you want to visit Santa Sofia. 

Papapsidero literally is a living history to pre-historic and ancient human history.  Here, ancient treasures can be found and appreciated with patience. Locals are friendly and the wine, sausages and surroundings are spectacular.  Don't let a windy road stear you away from visiting one of Italy's most praised mountain villages.


Region of Calabria

The Cedri Riviera



There are 2 ways to
arrive at Papasidero.
One way is from the highway (autostrada) and the other is from the coastal route (SS 18).

The route from the coast is more time
consuming than the
route from the highway, but it is more scenic. It
parallels the Laos River, which runs through steep

For the highway route, follow the A3 autostrada and exit at MORMANNO. Follow the SS 504 until you see signs for either the Grotto of Romito or Papasidero (depending on where you are going, is where you must exit.)

For those driving from the coast, from Scalea, follow the signs to Santa Domenico Talao.
At that juncture, there will be signs in blue for Papasidero.  The driving course from Santa Domenico Talao is approximately 20KM, but the ride is longer than it seems, for the highway is incredibly windy and
drivers are cautioned to drive slowly.


Ristorante "Grotto
Del Romito"
  owned by Domenica Di Luca
Via Romito, N. 44
C: 329.8976040
Tel: Fax: 0981.83138

Ristorante "Raduno Due" in Tremoli, overlooking the Laos River on the way to Papasidero.


Village of Constantinopoli, Papasidero
by Jesse Andrews


Chiesa  (Church of) di San Rocco

Chiesa (Church of) di San Costantino (Matrice)

Cappella di S. Sofia

Cappella di S. Anna

Cappella della Madonna del Carmine

Chiesa della SS. Trinita

Localita Papasidero

Madonna di Costantinopopli 


Tell us about your trip to Papasidero.  What were your favorite places to visit, stay, and dine.  Talk Italy Forum