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Pythagoras and his school

Bust of Pythagoras of Samos in the Capitoline Museums, Rome.

Crotone’s main historical figure is undoubtedly Pythagoras, the famous mathematician, legislator and ancient Greek philosopher. The story of Pythagoras is shrouded in mystery. We know very little about him and most of the records concerning him arose in later times. 

According to these sources, Pythagoras was born on the Greek island of Samos in the first half of the sixth century BC and later moved to Magna Graecia, where he founded his school in Crotone around 530 BC.

One version of Pythagoras's death is linked to the philosopher’s rejection of broad beans, which was shared by his school: not only were the Pythagoreans careful not to eat them, but they heedfully avoided any type of contact with this plant. According to the legend, Pythagoras himself, while fleeing from political opponents, opted to be captured and killed rather than to seek safety by crossing a bean field.

Pythagoras is traditionally regarded as the founder of vegetarianism in the West, as he was the first of the ancient philosophers to denounce the custom of eating animals. He saw the practice as an unnecessary cause for massacre, given that the earth already offered abundant plants and fruits that could be eaten without bloodshed.

Detail of The School of Athens by Raffaello Sanzio, 1509, depicting Pythagoras.

While the school of Pythagoras inherited the mystique of its founder, it also inherited his interest for mathematics, astronomy, music and philosophy.

The school, which could even be attended by women, offered two types of lessons: one public and one private. During the public lesson, which was dedicated to the common people, the master explained the basis of his philosophy based on numbers in the simplest possible manner, so that everyone could understand. The private lesson, on the other hand, was of a higher level and was mainly frequented by distinguished students of mathematics.

As the Pythagoreans were supporters of the Orphic theories on the immortality of the soul and metempsychosis, they believed that ascetic practices, both spiritual and physical, had to be carried out in order to maintain it in a pure and pristine state.

These practices included solitary walks in the mornings and evenings, body care and exercise, such as running, wrestling and gymnastics, as well as a diet made up of simple foods, whereby they even abolished wine consumption.

Pythagoras and his followers studied the properties of even and odd numbers, triangular numbers and perfect numbers, leaving a lasting legacy for future mathematicians.


Crotone, Pythagoras' town
Santa Severina, the "stone ship"
Le Castella, the magic of a castle in the sea

Crotone, with its old town and the Castel of Charles V. Santa Severina, named among the most beautiful Italian villages. San Giovanni in Fiore, famous for its abbey and Gioacchino da Fiore. And finally Le Castella, an ancient fishing village well known for its castle that actually sits on a small isthmus anchored to the shore by a strip of land.

Sea Protected Area

Capo Rizzuto and its marine reserve

In the marine reserve of "Capo Rizzuto" the colour of the sea changes from sky blue to emerald green and the coast is truly spectacular, so rich in history and nature, that in 1991 it was declared a protected marine reserve, covering an area of about 15,000 hectares, which make it the largest in Italy.


Cirò, the wine of the gods

One of the best-known products of the territory is its wine, especially the "D.O.C." Cirò, "wine of the gods", that was proffered to Olympic champions after the games.


Sila, an amazing mountain in the middle of the Mediterranean

The Calabrian mountains can be identified with the vast plateau at the centre of the region, with peaks that hit the 2000-meter mark. The Silan landscape is characterized by the larician pine, a soaring, tall tree that recalls the gentle wilderness of the Alps

Archaeological Sites

Capo Colonna, breathing Magna Graecia

A number of traces bear witness to the Magna Graecia period, possibly the most fruitful that Crotone has ever known, and during which the mathematician Pythagoras selected the city as the site for his school: the Capocolonna Archaeological Park.

  • Art

    Crotone, with its old town and the ...
  • Sea Protected Area

    In the marine reserve of "Capo Rizzuto" ...
  • Wineries

    One of the best-known ...
  • Mountains

    The Calabrian mountains can be ...
  • Archaeological Sites

    A number of traces bear witness to...

Sea Protected Area

Sila National Park

Crotone Tourism Info