Locri Epizephyrii Archaeological Park is located in Locride, one of the most attractive tourist sites both for its landscapes and history. This area has been inhabited since the Iron Age, as documented by the discovery of numerous chamber tombs in several inland necropolises. Here, Greek settlers experimented with forms of peaceful coexistence –i.e., in Gerace – or of harsh confrontation – i.e., in Roccella, where archaeological evidence was found of violent clashes with native populations. The ancient colony of Locri ended up ruling over a very large area, which, from the coasts of the lower Ionian Sea, would establish and rule over colonies as far as the Tyrrhenian side slopes of Aspromonte.
Locri: the Archaeological Park
Starting our visit to the Archaeological Park, a short distance from the Museum, stands part of a wall and a quadrangular tower, dating to the Hellenistic period. In the nearby hamlet of Parapezza, founded in Archaic times, a shrine is dedicated to Demeter. The gate and circular tower of Parapezza is a short distance away. The money raised for its construction is mentioned in a bronze tablet kept at the MArRC. After the gate there is a temple dedicated to Aphrodite and built at the end of the 7th century B.C. The statues of the Dioscuri – now at the MArRC – belong to the western façade decoration of this temple. After walking past the temple of Zeus Fulminante, there stands Porta Portuense, located next to a wall and, most probably, a port berth.
La casa dei Leoni (House of the Lions)
In the south-eastern part of the city, in the Centocamere district, you can visit an early 5th century BC shrine dedicated to Aphrodite, later incorporated into a wealthy 4th-3rd century BC house, the so-called House of the Lions. According to archaeologists, the house was a shrine dedicated to Adonis. A little farther on, there is a U-shaped portico, with many votive wells. It might have been a guesthouse for pilgrims or a place for sacred prostitution. Next to it there is the Centocamere quarter, protected by a wall segment and two gates, dating from the Hellenistic period. In this area, there are numerous, even large-sized kilns of different types.
Going west, you will first find the Casino Macrì, a large 19thcentury manor house that incorporates a Roman bath, whose frigidarium overlapped a block of the Greek city, with the remains of a street and some dwellings. Later, between the 2ndand 6th century AD, the area of the Casino was used for residential housing. Walking farther down, you arrive in Petrara, the Roman town of Locri, with houses, streets, and the city forum.
Theater of Locri
On the slopes of the Cusemi hill, a little higher than Dromo, you can visit the Greco-Roman theatre of Locri, built around mid 4th century B.C.. In Roman times, it was adapted to hold shows featuring gladiators fighting ferocious beasts. The lower rows were removed in order to erect a wall to protect the audience. During this renovation, also perimetral walls were built to contain the cavea, and wooden poles were driven into the ground to erect a velum roof to hide spectators from the sun.