Nine hundred cultural

In 1908, it begins in Soverato the secular and fruitful history of the Salesian presence. The rapid transformations of the urban Soverato make it impossible to identify most of these plots, mostly by the Salesians soon sold to private individuals, or become building. The presence in Calabria is accelerated by a painful event: the earthquake struck with intensity VI, VII degree of Mercalli. A jolt was felt even during the disastrous earthquake of 1908 that devastated Reggio Calabria and Messina.

It is Borgia the headquarters of the nascent Salesian, including Soverato is still only a kind of branch. But from 13 January 1906, Soverato begins regular business oratory only for Saturday and Sunday. On Monday we return to Borgia.

It is said that the first business location was a small house in the current way Chiarello. On February 24, the Salesians are celebrating with the first guys Carnival. On March 19, the director of Borgia is in Soverato to celebrate the feast of St. Joseph. They administer first communions. The Salesians and the Dean are invited to dinner by the mayor Rocco Caminiti, who encouraged them and helped them in their work. The sons of Don Bosco began to feel a warmth in Soverato which is not always found in Borgia. According to their custom, maintain good relations with the social context.

On May 12, Don Rua comes from Catanzaro Borgia, received before entering the country for more than a hundred young acclaimed. The next day, Don Rua moves in Soverato, where shows satisfaction with the activities of the festive oratory, and, conversing with the authorities and elders, is strengthened in the knowledge they would like the church and a college.


Michele Rua

Don Rua

Simultaneously in Borgia not everything goes calmly. On June 14, the Salesians must note with pain, that they were not invited to attend the feast of Corpus Christi: an evident sign of enmity. On July 1, the community of Borgia is to celebrate Mary Help of Christians, starting a tradition that is still deeply rooted in people’s soveratese. And ‘then it comes the engineer and architect Salvatore Sciuto for determining the location and design of the church, and of the Salesian house of Soverato.

Istituto Salesiano

Salesian Institute

The style of St. Anthony is the neo-Gothic, medieval-inspired patterns and very popular in Europe and America also belated effect of romantic literature. It ‘likely that the experience of St. Anthony has a great influence on architectural choices of other contemporary buildings such as the church of the Rosary now, rebuilding the Tower modernly called “Charles V”, the Palace Gregoraci.

Although the early twentieth century the main economic activities are still linked to the real economy, it is in those years it begins to develop the economy of the sea, connected to trade routes and fishing. The development of that factor and, in general, services, depends on a number of factors: among these, the market size has a crucial role. Despite being small in population size, and then with a very modest local market, Soverato he was able to enjoy some advantages over neighboring centers which allowed, since the early years of the twentieth century, the flourishing of various manufacturing and commercial activities, some of which also discrete size. The benefits were essentially, as mentioned above, the geographical position, which ensured the central city of a vast area, and the roads and communication nodes that widened the potential market size. Especially in the early decades of the twentieth century, were the railroads, the government together with the Calabro-Lucan, and maritime transport, the two fundamental factors of the development of the Marina of Soverato.

In numerical terms, the volume of traffic of cabotage, which amounted to 3.476 billion tons per km, was 2.9 times the rail, while the seafarers engaged in this business was around to 30,000 units.

The prospects for growth of maritime trade and the fishing industry were, very probably, limited by the fact that in Soverato, despite repeated requests received by economic operators and representatives of local institutions, will never be built a port, whose importance for the economic development of the city and district, had already been underlined in 1928 by Vincenzo Sangiuliano, then director of vocational schools Calabrian sea.

Raised the same Sangiuliano, Soverato is a commercially active center, the hub of a large proportion of commercial traffic local. The wholesale activities are numerous: for example, the firm Rocco Caminiti & C., marketed cereals, iron and wood; David Rossi was in charge of the production and sale of cement and bricks; firms Apicella, Armida and Gioffrè were concerned, however, the sale of timber and semi-finished, as barrel staves.

The presence of these activities related to the processing and marketing of wood, from confirmation of the relationship between Soverato and the hinterland of the Serre, which was made forest exploitation. E ‘should be noted that, in the first half of the twentieth century, and to the immediate post-war period, the timber industry was developed in many parts of Calabria, much to occupy most of those involved in manufacturing.

Despite being a small town, Soverato was at the end of the forties with a good economy. The Second World War, although it had fallen on Italy, Soverato had created damage relatively low compared to all the other cities of Calabria. Just in the forties they were built many public works: roads, sewers, new lighting systems and manufactured housing. In 1944 it was made the phone line-Catanzaro and Soverato, in 1948, the facility’s telephone network. In 1945, he came to Soverato the Daughters of Mary Ausialiatrice that opened on November 5 of the same year a new educational institution, including kindergartens, secondary and teachers college.


Religious school “Maria Ausiliatrice”

While costing just over 5000 inhabitants, Soverato faced with some major schools, a small nursing home, some public offices and, on the whole, with the traits of a town among the most modern in the area. Unlike the judgment if, instead, it takes into account the social and economic conditions of Calabria time. In 1951, Calabria is the poorest region of the country: the per capita income is about 45% of the average Italian. However, in the fifties, the bases of the “economic miracle” Italian. After the postwar rump, in which there were substantial transoceanic migrations, in the aftermath of migration flows change direction, while the regions of origin of migrants narrowed: in the fifties and in the following decade the Italian immigrants were almost exclusively directed southern, mainly, to the most industrialized areas of Europe and to the Italian industrial triangle. In the decade 1951 – 1961 net migration is positive for the city just 151 people, but in the following enrollment registries exceed 500 units cancellations. Therefore, even in the years of massive migrations, Soverato remains a country of net immigration.

The population growth is accompanied with the urban fact, if the population grows by about 20%, the number of living spaces increases at an average rate of over 4% per annum. The building growth transforms the urban physiognomy. In those years, the multi-storey buildings in condominium ownership, rented or cooperative, sometimes built with state support, they begin to prevail on construction detached. The town houses built along the main street of Marina di Soverato in the first phase of development are hidden by the new buildings, while the more modest houses, especially the families of fishermen, built into the side streets are gradually “incorporated” into the new urban structure.

In recent years, in the municipality are made progressively: new schools (born in these years the College Hotel and the Institute for accountants and surveyors), new major roads (including road and street Amirante Olympia), the new town hall on church of the Immaculate Conception, which will define the character of the square and St. Mary Help of Arenile district.


The feast of Maria Ausiliatrice in the square

The fifties were a period of profound changes in the economy and Italian society; a phase of strong economic growth of rapid social modernization. The incomes and household consumption increased in a very sustained, consumption patterns change and many durable goods began to spread among families. Italy that in the First World War was a backward country, quickly filled the gap that separates it, in terms of economic well-being, the most developed countries of Western Europe.

In many homes Italian began to enter new consumer goods: the refrigerator, the first television, the first subcompact. In short, important signs of a company that is about to become wealthy. The system simultaneously Calabrian production starts, to a large distribution. Some activities, the presence of which had marked the local history, in terms of economic and social, disappear forever. They disappear with an important segment of historical production traditions, crafts based on a “know-how”, passed down through the generations and learned through experience.

In the sixties, these changes are now evident and profound. Crafts related to the world of the shops are becoming less common; rarefies well as the production system, the economy centered on agriculture and related land. At the same time they say new professions: expands the field of personal services and increasing the number of civil servants. The spread of education allows for a more intense social mobility and aspirations for economic and social improvement become, even for the less affluent, real opportunities. In short, you start the process of outsourcing of the economy that, in Calabria, finds support in the progressive expansion of the public sector.

After 1960, the weight of the different economic sectors in the system assumes Calabrian production of tragic proportions: agriculture loses its importance, industry declines and increases significantly the weight of services. Without knowing a completed process of industrialization, the economy of Calabria is about to become an economy based on the service sector and dependent on cabins for public.

All of the above proposals also stumble on Soverato, which in only ten years 60′-70 ‘sees lower the number of manufacturing enterprises: 151 to 88. They grow, however, the services to people and businesses, and service activities of transport. The role of agriculture declines sharply.

The population, in spite of the economic process outsourcing, continues to grow. The city expands considerably. In this period, 220 building permits issued, most for new buildings, for a total of nearly 900,000 cubic meters.

Rapid pace of development characterize the following period. In the decade 1970’-1980 ‘, residents rose from 7,000 to more than 10000. The coastal settlements expand rapidly, forming new conurbations to the point that will Soverato on average, over the years, a house every two residents.



Urban expansion of the city of Soverato

No more internal migration to the region, the causes of the expansion of the marine. It is, however, the development of an economy that has in investing “in the brick” the most immediate form of resource use; but also the affirmation of a cultural model in which the properties of the “beach house” becomes a tangible sign of opulence achieved.

In 1949, Soverato was recognized, first in Calabria, as Company of care, living and tourism, whose presidency was entrusted to Giovanni Alcaro. In 1954, the Authority of Tourism created the first bathing masonry, the “Miramare”, equipped with various facilities, dance floor and restaurant, granted to private management.

In the following years, the growth in tourism followed the urban transformation, economic and social, of the city. They were opened hotel with a good receptivity, several beach resorts and numerous bars and restaurants. The last thirty years, the affirmation of mass tourism, the turbulent building development that has involved the coast of the Gulf of Squillace and the notoriety gained from Soverato half as bathing, have brought an increase in tourist authoritative. In 2005 it was registered almost 12,000 tourist arrivals for over 44,000 days of attendance.

Like other places in Calabria, one that caters to a tourist demand Soverato is tied almost exclusively to bathing. The seasonal tourist movement is in addition to the population “floating”, ie those who, quite numerous, daily reach Soverato by other municipalities in the district of the capital, attracted by the numerous local initiatives for recreation and leisure offered by the city.

A view to safeguarding and enhancement of the territory, in order to preserve and promote also for tourist local environmental resources, in 2008 the Calabria Region has established the Regional Marine Park “Bay of Soverato.” Park’s main purpose is to protect the wildlife of the Bay, especially the two species of seahorse found (Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus gattulus), pipefish and fish or shellfish from the large shell Tonna galley, all vulnerable species.



Seahorse Marine Park within the regional “Bay of Soverato”

To act as a counterpart to the initiatives of promotion and protection of the natural heritage of the so-called “Ippocampo Bay”, the Municipal Aquarium, a facility of about 1,300 square meters, with twenty tanks and the Botanical Garden, located in the overview. The latter contains a hundred species of trees, almost all Mediterranean character: myrtle, strawberry trees, oleanders, cypress, mulberry. With his unique view inside the botanical garden seems a Greek island in the middle of the Aegean Sea.


Botanical garden of Soverato


Soverato is today one of the most modern cities of Calabria. With a number of levels, a municipal theater, a hospital, numerous banks, offices and public services and a social structure made up, to a large extent, by a clerical class and by a large number of professionals, making it appear in context a modern city.

It is no coincidence that in Soverato, because of an innate cultural impulse, was organized the “Magna Graecia Film Festival”, whose 2007 edition was presented in Cannes, with the participation of many actors and directors of international renown. The 2008 edition was attended, among others, the director Mario Monicelli.



Poster of the twelfth edition of the Magna Graecia Film Festival

[Source: Soverato: Storia, Cultura e Economia, Rubbettino Editore]

(Blue Line in Soverato, RaiUno, July 2014)