Capo Colonna Archaeological Park, a few kilometres from the city of Crotone, extends over 50 hectares, occupying the easternmost tip of Capo Colonna promontory, known in antiquity as ‘Lakinion akron’.
The Ancient Heraion Lakinion Temple
Known in antiquity as ‘Lakinion akron’, it features both the archaeological area facing the sacred forest dedicated to the goddess Hera and the Museum area.
The remains of an ancient temple, Heraion Lakinion, of the Greek colony of Kroton can be visited here. According to the Greek historian Strabo, it was allegedly founded by Achaeans coming back from the Trojan War. Pythagoras and the students of his famous school are known for coming to this highly revered place of worship in the 5th century B.C., when the great philosopher and mathematician chose this strip of Calabria as his home.
The Great Doric Temple of Hera Lacinia
The most important building is the great Doric temple of Hera Lacinia built around 470-460 B.C. For centuries it has kept precious votive items from the Treasury dedicated to the goddess, including the famous Diadema Aureo, a gold foil crown with a braid decoration. This crown must have adorned the head of a statue of Hera as evidenced by a series of coins from Kroton. All these finds are kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Crotone.
In the areas surrounding the temple there are the remains of a building, allegedly used to host distinguished guests, and the so called ‘H’ building, used for festive and ritual banquets. In the northern part of the area, there are parts of a settlement from Roman times, identified with the colony of Croto, dated around 194 B.C.. There are also numerous other buildings, including three 18th century baronial villas, a small church dedicated to the Madonna di Capo Colonna, with a large churchyard, dominated by Torre Nao, a tower from a 16th century fortification.
The Archaeological Museum of Capo Colonna
In the large rooms of the adjoining Archaeological Museum, opened in 2006, an exhibition of archaeological finds is arranged in three sections. The first section is dedicated to the Roman settlement with a selection of some pottery items and everyday objects. The second section preserves the finds from the area of the temple with some reconstructed finds belonging to its marble roofing. Finally, the third section displays artefacts from the seabed off the Crotone coast, resulting from numerous underwater archaeological campaigns.