Saracena, an ancient land that flourished with the name of Sestio, built by the Oenotrians.

Saracena is located on the top of a rocky hill that extends to the East of the Garga river valley at the bottom of the Orsomarso Mountains, to the south of the Pollino National Park. A few kilometers away from the residential area there is the Cave of San Michele Arcangelo also called Cave of Sant’angelo, a vast karstic cavity 750 m above the sea level in a calcareous slope to the west of the Garga river. Among the other natural resources there is the Caramolo Mountain that, being 1827 m above the sea level, is considered the highest point of the local area.

The Piano di Novacco, the Piano di Masistro, the Timpone Scifariello and the pond of Tavolara. The total area is 111,51 Km2 with a population density of 37/km2. The local area is between 92 and 1.827 m above the sea level, with a total altitude range of 1.735 m. It is said that Saracena derives from the ancient Sestio, built by the Oenotrians, as said by Strabone, Stefano di Bisanzio and Padre Fiore, who writes about Saracena in his “Calabria illustrata” “a very ancient land that is the same that flourished with the name of Sestio, built by the Oenotrians”.

According to Padre Fiore, Sestio would have been founded around 2256 a.C., and in the 900 of the Christian Era, it was conquered by the Saracens who settled down there. But soon after, the Imperial army of Costantinople assailed and destroyed the city. In memory of this legend, also illustrated in an old fresco on the pediment of the S. Antonio chapel and in the sacristy of S. Maria del Gamio, in the city stamp and on the standard of Saracena, there is a woman who runs away, wrapped in a sheet, with this writing around: “Universitas terrae Saracinae”.