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Lungro (Arbëreshë: Ungra) is an Italian municipality of 3,240 inhabitants in the Province of Cosenza in Calabria.

Located at 650 m above sea level and 67 km away from Cosenza, Lungro is one of the most prominent centers of the Arbëreshë people and the seat of the Eparchy of Lungro. This jurisdiction of the Catholic Church preserved the Byzantine rite and the local language, and encompasses all the Arbëreshë-speaking communities in the area. The eparchy is part of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. Lungro is also part of the largest nature reserve in Italy, the Pollino National Park.


The town is situated at the foot of Mount Petrosa at 650 meters above sea level on the Campolongo plateau, flanked by the rivers Galatro and Tiro. It is bordered to the east by the municipality of Saracena, to the south by Firmo and Altomonte, and to the northwest by Acquaformosa. The landscape is mostly mountainous towards the north, with beech and chestnut groves, while in the southern part there are vineyards and fields.


Lungro was founded in the second half of the 15th century CE by ethnic Albanians settelers, and developed around a Basilian monastery on lands that had been granted in 1156 from feudal landowner Ogerio del Vasto Altomonte. The Albanians, who migrated from Albania Ottoman and later Turkish invasion led by the leader Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg (in Albanian Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu), supreme commander Albanian organized the armed resistance of the Turkish onslaught for about 25 years, peopled the house around 1486, and were welcomed by Abbot Paul of the door with the approval of the Prince of Bisignano, Geronimo Sanseverino. The Albanian people, led by Skanderbeg himself, had managed to resist the offensive Turkish Ottoman Empire and formed a bulwark in defense of the whole Europe. Only a few years after his death in 1468, the Muslim Turks succeeded in undermining the Albanian resistance and occupied the whole country. Following these tragic events are recorded in Italy the most significant migration of Albanians, with the consequent foundation of Lungro. The name "Lungru" appears for the first time in history, around the 12th century. The etymology of "Lungrum" or "Ugrium" seems to refer to the specific humidity of its territory. According to Domenico De Marchis, its name derived from the Greek Ugros (wet, fluid, water). This hypothesis is supported also by the name of the ancient monastery of the hamlet of Lungro, was rapidly gaining prestige and soon became one of the most important spiritual centers of Byzantine and Greek culture. They were Albanians (arbëreshë) to give life to the existing small rural agglomeration. In 1525 abandoned the Basilian monastery, known before the fugitives through a period of deep crisis, becoming available to the Commandery Pontiff and the inhabitants of Lungro were able to resist all attempts to civil jurisdiction and policy of the feudal lords. In the second half of the 17th century and during 18th century, which intensified fighting between the baronial families of Sanseverino Altomonte and Pescara Saracen. A Lungro many political clashes occurred for the acquisition of certain rights of barons' fiefs previously contended. Over the years, which intensified the age-old religious conflicts between the Byzantine rite Greek-Albanians and the Latin rite of the neighboring populations. Many priests were imprisoned Albanians from the practice of the Eastern rite, but lungresi, gathered around them and, fighting tenaciously, managed to maintain their religious identity. From 1768 Albanians of Lungro tenaciously undertook the defense of its Greek-Byzantine liturgical rite, because, coming from 'Albania Southern, by' Epirus and Greece Albanian, were under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople. For centuries, thanks to the work of the Byzantine Church, continued to retain their own rite as part of its identity. So he called the Catholic religion because united to Rome and Byzantine Greek-for union with the East and the belief in the Byzantine liturgy and spiritual theology.

L 'Eparchy of Lungro is the fundamental point of reference for the Italo-Albanian mainland, and continues to cherish the traditional religious, linguistic and cultural identity Arbëreshë. The eparchy was created on February 13 of 1919 by Pope Benedict XV and the first Eparch was John Apples, which was succeeded by John Stamati and Ercole Lupinacci.

Monuments and places of interest[edit]

Completely different from the medieval village whose houses looked out on parallel roads with some cross-roads for the passage (like the Roman camp), the architectural structure of the country of Albania is mostly circular in shape. In fact the buildings were built around a square in a circular shape. All openings gave the main square. Each cluster of houses was a district whose name was derived from elements in the area: Kastieli (a castle), Bregu (coast of the hill slope), Konxa (Icon - Presence of the Church of Santa Maria of Constantinople with the icon of the Madonna. The church has a square shape, reflecting the canons of the Byzantine rite-Greek and it seems that it was the first church built by the Albanians), Shin LLiri ( Presence of the Church of St. Elijah), Kriqi (presence of a crucifix), Abbots (presence, at one time, the Abbey of St. Mary).

The village, around two central squares and partly along a path crossing that connects the outside, is located in the slope, presenting a joint compact but irregular in the aggregation of individual units, rather preserved in the destination d ' use in architectural features and use of materials. Strongly characterized by buildings of popular roots, both in urban and rural areas, including housing units, small chapels. Among the narrow streets of the historic, architectural types are distinguished by gjitonia, i.e. neighborhood in Albanian, the doors of the medieval and ancient palaces. The gjitonia is a sector of the district, has been and still is, albeit more limited having emptied the city center as a result of building development that has moved most of the inhabitants to areas with new features and towns, a real social group with its own rules. Here you can travel itineraries to discover suggestive historical environments, and the story of a people which has preserved its identity, emphasizing their ethnic and cultural diversity.

The country retains architectural, religious and civil, as well as a few other small industrial facilities to archeology. Are still strong due to the expression "protection" symbolic, particularly shrines like those of St. Leonard and St. Elias, on the streets of the same name. To commemorate the salt mines of rock salt has been established a monument-stage (representing the miners to work) course in Skanderbeg, next to the town house. You have created a museum of the salt mine, complete with costumes, tools, artifacts and writings of the time. A Lungro, as in most countries Arbëreshë, in the main square has a bust of Giorgio Castriota Scanderbeg, to remember their ethnic and linguistic origins.

Religious Architecture[edit]

  • Cathedral of St. Nicholas of Myra (Qisha and Shën Kollit, 18th century), is the principal church of the Eparchy of Lungro. The church building is 1721, after the earthquake of the late 17th century had destroyed the existing one. The Cathedral of St. Nicholas of Myra is imposing for its size among all the other churches in the area. You plan church, the Romanesque-Baroque, three aisles, with a large Apse and Dome center. Rich Mosaics, Icon and paintings Byzantine, has the beauty of the Eastern Christian sacred structures. The sanctuary is separated from the rest of the Church 'Iconostasis, the first made in a church after the establishment of the Eparchy of Lungro. The 1825 is the year that marks the structural completion of the church, for the installation art is not possible to fix a precise date of completion of works, because, even today, are being run as well as the mosaic works decorative elements of the nave and aisles of the Temple. Since 1921, after the erection of the Eparchy of Lungro in 1919 by Pope Benedict XV, the Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, elevated to a Cathedral, undergoes profound changes, to be adapted to the needs of the Byzantine rite-Greek. The Romanesque-Baroque Church, while not altering the walls and the original design of the sacred building, lends itself, with its wide open spaces, to be aligned with the philosophy and liturgical needs of the Church of 'East. The Cathedral of the Eparchy of Lungro is full of Mosaics. The mosaic of Pantocrator covers the entire surface of the central dome, which is about 120 m², which is internal and does not leak from the roof, and has a height of 18 meters. Also important is the vast mosaic of the apse, surmounted by a mosaic of Platitera and surrounded by figures of the archangels Gabriel and Michael, from King David and the prophet Isaiah, and the mosaic of the Chapel of the baptismal font, designed by painter and mosaic artist Albanian Droboniku Joseph, who executed the great mosaic of Christ Pantocrator with the central dome. Albanian artist is the same mosaic of Judgement, overlooking the central nave of the Cathedral. In vestry of the cathedral there is a valuable record of ancient medieval Byzantine church of Santa Maria delle Fonti, consisting of a fragment of fresco, which depicts St. Paraskeva (12th century), together with valuable paintings of the Neapolitan school and wooden statues of exquisite workmanship. The aisles of the Temple, already painted by K.Tsitlavidis Macedonian painter, have recently been enriched with paintings of Greek artists of T. Charalambos and T. Gregory of Thessaloniki, which respect the canons of the Byzantine tradition color. Placed on the left aisle, the six canvases depicting the life of St. Nicholas of Myra, the patron of Lungro. The authors themselves are the works of the south aisle, which represent the life of Jesus Christ. Of great artistic workmanship are the three bronze doors with reliefs made using the lost wax sculptor Calabrian Talarico representing scenes from the Gospel. The windows of the Temple and the two aisles depicting prophets, make Lungro Cathedral a unique place in Italy where the Byzantine and Eastern spirituality complement the precious mosaic of the world Greek Italo-Albanian.
  • Church of Santa Maria Icon ( Qisha and Shën MERIS and Konxis, 16th century), located on a cliff near the river Tyre, which at that time was the border between the natural environment Lungro and Saracen. And 'the first church built in honor of Our Lady of Albanians Odigitria, much venerated in the East. Inside sits the first evidence of Byzantine iconography of stone that represents precisely the Madonna and Child. Very interesting is the coffered wooden ceiling, which sets up the church and was built in 1663 by Angelo The Calabrian artist Petra. Of particular bill was also the poster, stolen recently, which framed the precious icon. Its building located on the northeast border of the medieval village marks the end of the urban sprawl of the village. Looking at the medieval urban structure can be seen as the Albanians, as well settle in the highest part of the house (Bregu ka), decided to build their houses in the vicinity of the village. The architectural fabric of the time it opened, probably, with the monastery of Santa Maria delle Fonti southwest, northeast and ended with the church of Santa Maria of Constantinople. The continuation of this local line as well as giving greater assurance of protection to the Albanians, made more available land and water resources of the river near Tyre.
  • The church of St. Elias (Qisha and Shën Llirit, end of 17th century), rises to a point which probably served as a lookout post for the inhabitants of the hamlet. Strategically the church dedicated to St. Elias the prophet, is located on a beautiful and picturesque cliff gorges of the river starting from Tyre, rises dramatically above the church of Santa Maria Icon and marks one of the highest points of the agglomeration city of the country. In the vicinity of the building, on the south side you can see the cave of St. Elias, a deep inlet between the stones of interesting peculiarities caving still unexplored. During the Renaissance the cult of the saint was very popular since St. Elias was considered the liberator of the Albanian people of Lungro from Bourbon repression. Some verses in Albanian, the few preserved to this day and still is sung by the faithful in procession of the saint, were written by poet Vincent Stratigo in 1852. Since then, the Bourbon government forbade the procession because they had understood the revolutionary significance of those verses that the people of Lungro sang praise to the saint militant calling him from the fall of the Bourbon regime and the return to freedom.

Civil architectures[edit]

  • Palazzo De Marchis
  • Palace Stratigo
  • Palace Kabregu
  • Palace Damis
  • Palace Belluscio
  • Palace Cucci

Archaeological sites[edit]

  • The ruins of a medieval castle in the upper part of the country
  • Ancient salt mines, industrial archeology

Greek-Byzantine rite[edit]

The connection between the churches of the Arbëreshë and those of Constantinople, finds its roots in Lungro, through the first Eparchy by Greek Byzantine Rite of Italy. Established in 1919 at the behest of Pope Benedict XV's Eparchy of Lungro, the churches under its jurisdiction were from the province of Cosenza with some churches outside the region. The Mass and all the religious celebrations are performed in the Greek, Albanian and, on rare occasions, the Italian.

Many difficulties had to be overcome by the Arbëreshë in preserving their religious identity with the constant attacks of the dominant culture aimed at discouraging the practice of the Greek Byzantine Rite. The Byzantine Rite follows the canon law of Orthodox, its own liturgical calendar and uses Oriental ceremonies. The Mass is that of Saint John Chrysostom, which is celebrated in the Greek language in the solemn ceremonies and in the Albanian language in daily functions. The peculiarities of the Eastern rite, are also evident in sacred vestments, the veneration of holy icons as well as the architectural structure of the Church.

The striking peculiarity of the Byzantine Rite, are the different ceremonies that are practiced in the sacraments of Christian initiation. Baptism (Pagëzim), Confirmation (Vërtetim) and Eucharist (Kungjimi) are administered together as Communion. The Holy Week (Java and Madhe), which starts on the eve of Palm Sunday and ends on the eve of Easter Sunday (Pashkët), is among the most important and evocative Byzantine liturgical calendar holidays.

Institutions, organizations and associations[edit]

  • Cultural and Musical Association Arbëreshe Rilindja
  • Association band (Banda Musicale) Pauline Moscogiuri
  • Research Group and recovered traditional musical arbëreshe It seems the Moti
  • Albanian folk group bukurit
  • Musical Association choir Paradosis
  • Environmental Association Vitambiente
  • Polyphonic Choir Byzantine Greek St. Nicholas of Myra
  • Theatre Company Kusìa Hares
  • Association of culture and music Workshop of music
  • Center for Calabria Historical Studies Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Cultural Centre Italo-Albanian Byzantine Studies and St. Mary of the Springs
  • WWF Associazone Pollino H24
  • Association of Civil Defence Pollino H24
  • Wildlife-Hunting Company "Ungra"


The traditional women's costumes (stolit) arbëreshe of Lungro are still worn by both young people by older people. There are two types of women's costumes: one used for parties and other daily. The costume gala consists of the following pieces: two petticoats (sutanina), a pleated skirt with red satin (kamizola) with the edges of twisted gold wire (galuni), a pleated satin skirt blue shell is collected and supported on the arm (COFA), a lacy white blouse (linja), a short blue waistcoat is embroidered in gold (xhipuni), her hair parted in the middle, braided with ribbons and gathered behind in kesa, a red shawl for married women (bread). The costume is a daily habit daily. It is very simple and consists of: a red pleated skirt edged with green, white shirt, an apron (vandizini), a black vest with white embroidery. ll Albanian male costume is only used for special events and religious festivals. It consists of white pants (brekët të bardha) with red or blue side stripes and embroidered in yellow shirt (kemish) white, black embroidered vest and hat (këleshi) white wool in the shape of a truncated cone.


The food ( të ngrënit') arbëreshe Lungro is an interesting crossroads to taste the typical specialties and Mediterranean arbëreshe. A Lungro you can enjoy the fresh pasta in all its forms: macaroni (rrashkatjelt), gnocchi (strangulrat), lasagne (Tumac), noodles (fidhilt), bucatini (hullonjrat), served with simple sauces to fresh tomato and basil, or with sauces made from pork or lamb.

Among the specialties has a prominent place Shtridhëlat fasule me, a unique hand-made pasta and finely seasoned with a tomato sauce and beans. It is the typical dish of Lungro of Albanian origin, as it finds evidence if not in other countries Albanians. The cheese, processed by hand takes a particular form that approaches a little to that of the noodles. Another typical dish is Dromsat made of flour and water, seasoned with fresh tomato sauce full of peppers. Among the main courses, mushrooms have a place of prestige for the abundance of vegetation in the mountain area. Among the many recipes we like to mention the most features: mushrooms with peppers (këpurdhë kangariqra me), mushrooms and potatoes (këpurdhë pataka me). Are also many delicious stewed meat and peppers: stew of dried sausage and peppers (I saucicë stufatjel), stewed pork chops and peppers (stufatjel brinjaz derku me). And then the meat of pig offal (drudhezit), boiled meat (cingaridhet), gelatin (puftea), in addition to delicious salami Lungro with the characteristic aroma of fennel that makes them unique. The cheese, produced from the high altitude pastures, rich in herbs, have earned a prominent place. All this is accompanied by the robust local wines of the vineyard of Galzei (Gauxet), or with fine wines DOC Pollino. The sweet, finally primarily kulaçi, glitzy wedding cake made of honey, the sweet Christmas grispellet xhuxhullet, kanarikulit bukunotet; sweets Easter, nusezat, biscuits with flour (viscote të pirvëluarë), oil and aniseed, not to mention the fruit seccha excel where the famous figs Lungro ( fiqë të bardha and kriqezit).


In the territory of Lungro, during the period of the Roman Empire, it was discovered a large amount of salt in the soil, which soon became famous and rich. It began to be used in large quantities and marketed throughout europa.Diede work to many locals and outside. The salt-appropriated to the mine as a saint San Leonardo, worshiped before and after the workday, and as a sign of devotion built a church dedicated to Santo (who some years before the closure of the mine sank entirely underground for hydrogeological problems). He was active until 1976 before being closed and abandoned for political reasons and natural.

See also[edit]