Sibari, in the municipality of Cassano all’Ionio, in the province of Cosenza, is a popular cultural and seaside tourist destination. It stands between two rivers, the Crathis and the Sybaris, after which it is named. It was founded in the late 8th century BC by a group of Achaeans from the Peloponnese.
Among the most flourishing cities of Magna Graecia
Sibari experienced great prosperity thanks to its fertile land. Archaeological excavations have discovered the remains of Copia, Thurii and ancient Sybaris, an important city of Magna Graecia founded by Greeks from Achaia around 700 BC. The archaeological finds, preserved and exhibited in the Archaeological Park of Sybaris, bear witness to the history of ancient Sybaris. It had become so powerful that it was feared by the people of Crotone, who defeated it in war and destroyed it in 510 BC. According to historians of the era, including Diodorus Siculus, the city had 300,000 inhabitants at the time. The few survivors took refuge in Greece, but later returned and built Thurio there, the foundation of which is dated between 510 and 443 BC, based on the designs of renowned town planner Hippodamus of Miletus.
In 444-443 BC, it joined the Panhellenic foundation of Thurii, named after a nearby spring, only to be conquered by the Lucanians. After falling into insignificance, it was colonised in 193 BC by the Romans and renamed Copia. Between the 1st and 3rd century AD, it began to flourish again, but during the 5th-6th century AD it fell into permanent decline as the area became waterlogged. A century later, the area was completely abandoned.
Modern Sibari, on the largest plain in Calabria
Modern Sibari was established on the plain of the same name, the largest in Calabria, around the 1960s, becoming a hotspot for tourism and agricultural activities, producing citrus fruits, olives and rice.
Since the 1980s, seaside tourism has given the area a great boost.