PENTEDATTILO: A Ghost Town in Calabria…

PENTEDATTILO: A Ghost Town in Calabria…

The forgotten town of Pentedattilo. Otherworldly screams? Laments from the afterlife? The bloody hand of the devil?

The poor town of Pentedattilo on the edge of the Aspromonte Mountains in the southern tip of Calabria has seen it all. Earthquakes and precarious shifting of soil lent the final blow. But this cluster of edifices clinging to a strange rock formation, finally abandoned completely in the 1960s, seems to have been biding its time. Perhaps this ghost town just wasn’t ready to give up the ghost, of whom it is said, there are many.



But before the characters of this unsettling story of horror came upon the scene, the jagged outcropping set amidst rugged. Correspondingly disjointed hills already had a considerable history under its belt. Its shape has surely attracted attention of all who have passed, and the ancient Greeks, who settled the area in the 7th Century B.C. are responsible for its name that has survived to this day.

Pentedattilo: penta + daktylos = five fingers. In the local greco-calabro or Greek-Calabrian dialect, the town’s name is Pentadattilo. This area still has strong ties with its Greek heritage, which is reflected in the language and customs.

Pentedattilo Phototastic Collage


Edward Lear, the British artist and writer, clearly saw the hand back in 1847. He included an image and description of the formation in his book, Journals of a Landscape Painter in Southern Calabria: “The appearance of Pentedattilo is perfectly magical … Wild spires of stone shoot up into the air, barren and clearly defined, in the form (as its name implies) of a gigantic hand against the sky. In the crevices and holes of this fearfully savage pyramid the houses of Pentedattilo are wedged, while darkness and terror brood over all the abyss around this, the strangest of human abodes.”

To us, when we visited (5 minutes up the road from where we live!), it was a magical place. Stunningly beautiful and utterly breathtaking! Make up your own mind!

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