Catanzaro is the capital of the Province of Catanzaro and also of the region Calabria since 1970 (before then the region capital was Reggio Calabria ).
This town rises on a rock and is split into two parts by the steep Fiumarella valley, the two sections being connected by a huge concrete steel bridge (the Viadotto Morandi ), among the highest in Europe, built in 1960 to the design of architect Riccardo Morandi . The beach town Catanzaro Lido, located about 5 kilometers south, has a wide promenade and a harbor for small fishing and pleasure boats.
The old town was built over three hills (St. Trifone or St. Rocco Hill; Episcopate’s Hill; St. John’s Hill) in Byzantine times. Catanzaro was since the 11th century the lace capital of the world with a large silkworm breeding, it produced all the laces and linens used in the Vatican and supplied merchants that came from all over Europe to buy the silk in the port of Reggio Calabria soon before Pentecost day.
A devastating earthquake in 1783 wiped away churches, palaces and a large part of the population, and a second in 1832 completed the destruction of most ancient historical buildings.
Catanzaro is home of the Nobel prize winner prof. Renato Dulbecco and of the contemporary artist Mimmo Rotella, inventor of the Decollage .