Casignana originates from the ancient hamlet of Potamia, founded between the ninth and tenth centuries by the Ionian populations who, due to the Saracen invasions, abandoned their lands. The small center, built on a high cliff, was dominated by an imposing castle from which the caravan routes that went from Pietra Lunga to Pietra Cappa could be monitored. In 1349, however, a violent earthquake almost completely destroyed the inhabited center and part of the citizens were forced to seek refuge in the surrounding areas. The refugees, therefore, founded the town of Casignano (modified in Casignana in the XVIII century). Subsequently, the citizens who remained in Potamia definitively abandoned their homes and gave rise to the current center of S. Luca. Via Vittorio Emanuele Between 1496 and 1589 Casignana was a farmhouse of the barony of Condojanni (today S. Ilario dello Jonio) from which it later passed to the Carafa family, as also happened to many other neighboring countries, to remain in its possession until eversion from feudalism. and on January 19, 1807 she was elevated to the rank of university in the government of Bianco. Four years later (1811) the town became a municipality in the district of Bianco.
He took part in the riots of the Italian Risorgimento. In the fascist period (1927) it was aggregated to Samo, but regained its independence a few decades later (1946).
The historic center of Casignana seems to be made up of two opposite realities. On one side a ghost village where dirt roads creep between dilapidated and falling stone houses; on the other the nucleus of the town, the center of the town.
In the “Palazzi” district there is an area of significant archaeological interest, where, among other things, the ruins of a Roman building of the imperial age (III century AD), decorated with splendid mosaics, known as “Roman Villa “.
For picnics lovers, remember that in Casignana there is an equipped area in Monte Varet.
The economy is based on agriculture and pastoralism (with sheep, cattle and goats breeding). It produces citrus fruits, olives, grapes, in addition to excellent dairy products (only local market) rather sought after. Excellent wines: the one produced in Palazzi di Casignana, known as the “true wine of Greece” (Greco di Bianco DOC), is refined and with a refined taste; the other is more common, the Mantonico, a sweet dessert wine.
Unfortunately, only a few weavers (often in old age) of blankets and other fabrics are left of the local crafts, reproduced according to traditional motifs. There is a thermal water system in the “Fonte Favata” area.
It is located in the “Old Church” area. Only the stone structure with wrought iron balconies remains. The windows on the upper floor have worked frames.
Prehistoric caves (in the Varta district)
Natural caves, with vestiges of settlements dating back to the last Stone Age (Neolithic) and the first Metal Age (Eneolithic).
Complex fed by sulphurous waters and scarcely valued.
The Church of San Rocco, which dates back to 1773, contains two paintings (one depicting the deposition of Christ and the other San Giuseppe), one of which is attributed to Antonello da Messina. In the Church, together with various sacred furnishings, there are also fragments of medieval marble, with a valuable value, a wooden crucifix (17th century) and a bell from the 15th century.
Church of San Rocco
Built in 1773, today it houses the parish of S. Giovanni Battista. Few news about the original structure. It was probably a small single-nave church in which a painting depicting St. Roch of Montpellier was venerated. The canvas was then replaced by a statue (1756). The building was damaged by the 1783 earthquake and renovated in 1908 thanks to the offerings of the faithful. It was once again used for worship in 1914.
The church has a cream and amaranth facade with three entrance doors divided by two orders of pilasters. The main portal is made of wood with a large masonry frame. On the sides two niches. Above, however, a rectangular window and, even higher, a small window. The church is accessed via a staircase. The interior has three naves. In the semicircular apse there is the main altar, all in polychrome marble, surmounted by the statue of the Virgin surrounded by two orders of Corinthian columns. Above the dome decorated with floral motifs and angels. On the ceiling of the central nave a painting depicting S. Rocco (1914). In the right nave a particular Crucifix supported by angels (1925).
The brotherhood of S. Rocco – According to tradition, San Rocco (patron of Casignana) would have saved the town from a terrible plague. Following this event, the brotherhood of S. Rocco was founded, which is still active today. The first historical information on this religious group dates back to 1894, the year in which Bishop Mangeruva approved its statute. After the Casignana massacre (1922), the brotherhood dissolved and was reconstituted only in 1945. Today it has about forty members and has its own banner depicting S. Rocco.
In Antonio Sodaro’s book “Saints and Blesseds of Calabria” (Virgilio Editore, Rosarno – Rc, 1996) we read that S. Eusebio, pope and martyr, could have been born in the ancient territory of Casignana. The news on the matter, however, is scarce and controversial.
The golden horse
In the nineties a tourist passionate about underwater fishing was the protagonist of a strange episode. After exploring the seabed in front of the remains of the Roman villa found in the Palazzi district, he said he saw a beautiful and huge statue of a winged horse (probably in gold) resting on the bottom. The same version was supported by many swimmers. The news spread quickly and the area was manned by institutions and law enforcement agencies. They were also called expert divers to find the statue. After about a month of research (during which no one could get close to the area) the experts declared that nothing had been found. Even today, however, many Casignanesi claim that the priceless horse was stolen secretly.