Originally founded on the “Salvatore” hill on which the river of Marro descends, the ancient Varapodio was moved to its current site after the 1600s, while maintaining its significant strategic-military position. In fact, from above, it was possible to see and organise the defences of the entire Plana de Sancti Martini, currently the plains of Gioia Tauro, from the Saracen raids. The village’s name itself underwent various changes over time: from “Marrapodi” (derived from the lexical synthesis of Marro, and its function as the “militaris podius – military port”) to arrive at its current name, Varapodio, established from 1613. On February 5th, 1783, as in other centres in the province of Reggio Calabria, the earthquake that resulted in over five hundred victims hit the town centre.
The Church of San Nicola di Mira
The Franciscan friars, present in the diocese of Oppido since the mid-15th century, have always taken care of the churches of the upper Aspromonte area; according to documents, it has been in Varapodio since 1776, a church elevated as a parish, dedicated to the holy bishop of Mira, better known in the west with the name San Nicola di Bari, the city where his relics are kept. The church is characterised by the presence of two bell towers and a double staircase leading to the entrance that is divided by three large wooden doors.
The Ace of Cups Fountain
Formerly called the “Fountain of the four channels”, it was later called “Asi i coppi” (the “ace of cups”) for its resemblance to the namesake ace belonging to the Neapolitan playing cards, thus also becoming famous outside Calabria’s borders. Originally built with granite blocks, in 2002 it was rebuilt with Reggio stone.
Holidays and celebrations
Civil and religious ceremonies: San Giuseppe (March 19th); Madonna del Carmine (the Sunday closest to July 16th), the previous Saturday the suggestive descent of the Madonna takes place; Madonna del Rosario (last Sunday of August); San Nicola, patron saint (December 6th). Other events include the summer celebrations in Varapodio (August) with concerts, musical events, and the macaroni pasta and aubergines festival; and the Christmas band concert that includes characteristic festivals.