Winner of AIFIN 2009 Prize 'Banca e Territorio'

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Mirto is the most populous and important fraction of the town called Crosia. After the Second World War, the agglomeration was born along the SS 106 and near the train station thanks to the strong inflows coming from town such Longobucco, Bocchigliero e Campana. In 1960 in this fraction was built the new “Church of the Holy Heart of Jesus”.

Today Mirto has about 8000 residents on a total of 10000 in the whole municipality. It has a pretty thriving economy, based on commerce, crafts and services, which refers to the entire territory of the so called “Sila Greca”. It is a significant tourist centre, in summer, with its waterfront Centofontane: two miles of wide open spaces equipped with beaches, services and “green areas”.

The original centre of Mirto, an agro-pastoral and forestal community, was formed in the IV-III centuries BC on the hill called “Castello”. Later in the seventeenth century, it was turned into a fortified farm with the feudal castle and a little church dedicated to the Holy Heart in the middle. The name Mirto comes certainly from the name of the shrub, “myrtle” (from the greek murtos, and the latin myrtos), which covered the hills where the town developed.

The town called Crosia has a more complex history. Legend says that Crosia was founded by Aeneas’ companions in 1315 BC, along the eastern wall of the hill Saint Peter. The town, certainly, reached its zenith between the X century and the VIII century BC, when, linked to the area of Czrotone, it became an important commercial centre. This key role was dramatically lost after the earthquake of 379 AD, which completely destroyed the town which was rebuilt on the top of the hill.

Its name, Crosia, probably comes from the greek byzantine chrusea, golden place, referring to gold and silver mines of the area used until XVIII century. An other theory sees in the name of the town the name of Aeneas’ wife, Creusa. The first documentation of this name, written as the name the town has today, is inside a book of tax dated 1324, where Crosia is described as a casale, farmhouse, of Rossano and in which the debt (three tari and five grani) of Basilio “Cappellanus Crusi” is transcribed. The feudal succession is not clear. Surely in XIV century is a feud of the family Ruffo, the last of whom was Niccolò who died childless. He was the chamberlain of the king Ladislaus. In 1417, the feud was incorporated in the principality of Rossano by the queen Joan and given to the princess Polissena Ruffo. After the conspiracy of the Barons, the principality, and Crosia with it, passed to the neapolitan royal domain. In 1503 the feud of Crosia was bought by Ferdinand of Aragon. This family had the feud until 1593, when Maria of Aragon gave it to Giovan Michele Mandatoriccio of Rossano. In 1596, he bought also the estate of Mirto. When Francesco Mandatoriccio died childless (1671), the feud passed to his sister Vittoria and, through her, to the husband Giuseppe Sambiase, whose family was a branch of the important family Sanseverino, the first of the seven big families in the Kingdom of Naples. In the early seventeenth century the town had a vibrant religious history. It had many churches, confraternities and monastic orders. The monastic orders and their monastic complexes disappeared when they were removed for lack of money. Today, the historical city centre of Crosia is known for its narrow streets and old buildings. The feudal Castle, with its spectacular court and the monumental staircase in the entrance, is in poor condition. The tower of Santa Tecla and Giglio are, instead, very beautiful. The modern city, with Centofontane, Pantano and the centres of Sorrenti and Quadricelli, is the result of a great urban, demographic and commercial development started in the 60’s.

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