Uccialì, Alì the renegade
In the village of Le Castella, in the centre of the main square and just a few meters from the magnificent castle, can be found a bronze bust dedicated to Giovanni Dionigi Galeni, better known as Uccialì.
This individual was a famous Saracen pirate born in Le Castella in 1519, who was taken prisoner by Ottoman pirates at the age of 17. Having been put to the oars as a prisoner, after a few years he renounced his Christian faith in order to kill a Turk who had slapped him, thus avoiding the death penalty under Islamic Law.
Uccialì is considered the best admiral of the Ottoman naval armada: in October of 1571, he fought in the historic Battle of Lepanto, which pitted the fleets of the Muslim Ottoman Empire against those of the Christian Holy League.
The clash ended with a crushing victory for the Christians and Uccialì was the only Muslim commander to succeed in rescuing thirty ships, bringing the banner of the Knights of Malta to Istanbul as a trophy.
An Arab map of Crotone of the Ottoman cartographer Ahmed Muhiddin Piri XV-XVI