Pentedattilo was founded around 640 BC. from Chalcidian settlers (the name derives from the Greek πέντα-δάκτυλος (pènta-daktylos), that is “five fingers”, with the particular shape of the rocky relief overlooking the town), and due to its position it soon became an important commercial and strategic center.
The foundation of the current village was caused by the abandonment of the coastal centers towards the interior, due to the growing insecurity of the coasts because of the frequent Saracen raids, between the ninth and twelfth centuries. During the Byzantine period, the expansion of Eastern monasticism took place and Pentedattilo was one of the proto-papal seats of the Reggio area.
During the Angevin domination the village belonged to the monastery of SS. Salvatore of Messina. In 1439, King Alfonso of Aragon included Pentedattilo in the County of Reggio, under the dominion of the Cardona family. At the end of the 15th century, the Francoperta family of Reggio obtained possession of the barony, which was subsequently purchased by the Alberti family of Messina in 1589. In 1760 the fiefdom passed into the possession of the Clemente family, the last feudal lord.
In 1783 a violent earthquake caused serious damage to the town: as a result, from that moment a slow but constant abandonment of the town began which reached its peak in 1908, when another violent earthquake caused, in addition to further serious damage, the definitive depopulation of the village.
The surnames in 1745
Today Pentedattilo is a hamlet of the Municipality of Melito di Porto Salvo in the province of Reggio Calabria. It has about 40 inhabitants, but in 1745 it counted over 500. The surnames of the heads of the families were:
Abate, Alampi, Alati, Amato, Ambroggio, Attilitano, Avenà, Battaglia, Calabrò, Cancilleri, Caserta, Catanoso, Celia, Columbo, Condello, Costarella, Cottone, Crea, Cuzzucli, Di Martino, Familare, Ficara, Fisari, Flachi, Foti, Franco, Fucà, Furfari, Galifi, Gangemi, Gatto, Guarnaccia, Guerrera, Jaconissa, Laghanà, Licordari, Luvarà, Maisano, Malaspina, Malavendi, Maldà, Mangiola, Maressa, Marrari, Mercurio, Minicucci, Minniti, Modaffari, Mosolino, Muttari, Orlando, Palermo, Palumbo, Panella, Pansera, Parlato, Pellicanò, Petrulli, Polito, Romeo, Scordino, Scordo, Scrufari, Sergi, Sessa, Sgrò, Spagnolo, Squillaci, Tropea, Tuscano, Vernagallo, Zampaglione, Zema.
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Official website of the Comune of Melito di Porto Salvo