The village of Melissa rises on a rocky ridge between the Ionian Sea and the eastern slope of the Sila Grande, in Calabria. The historical center preserves the evocative characteristics of a typical feudal village, with narrow alleys, reachable only by foot, and the ruins of an imposing ring of walls. Melissa certainly has ancient origins, dating back perhaps to the Greek colonization on the Ionic coast and mentioned in the "Metamorphosis" of Ovid. Its name from the Greek "μέλισσα", means "country of bees and honey". The Community, since the Middle Ages it was subject to the power of various feudal lords: i De Micheli, of Venetian origin, the Campitelli and Pignatelli. The population tried repeatedly to rebel against the last two masters, that exploited the lands on which the peasants asserted their rights. The discontent continued until the sadly famous date of 29 October 1949, when at the contrada Fragalà, some peasants tried to occupy the uncultivated land; in clashes with the police forces 14 people remained wounds and 3 died under the blows of the firearm. The artist Ernesto Treccani, in 1979, gave to the community of Melissa a monument to the Fallen of Fragalà, to celebrate those who fought and they sacrificed themselves for the rights of the people of Melissa.
The visit to the village of Melissa can only begin with the charming Church of Santa Maria dell'Udienza, that many devotees from all over the Crotone province believed it was able to do miracles. Continuing on through the streets of the historic center, there's the Church of San Francesco di Paola and the Church of San Giacomo Apostolo, the oldest church of the village of Melissa. Certainly deserves a visit also the old mill, the Wine Museum "Palazzo Ferraro" and the Mother Church of San Nicola Viscovo, situated in the center of the village and considered as the most important church of the village.
The agricultural tradition is an integral part of the culture and history of the village of Melissa, beyond that of its economy. For this is worth a visit to the Peasant Struggles' Research Center.
At Torre Melissa, on the coast of the Ionian Sea, a pleasant and relaxing tourist destination, you can stroll along Via delle Palme, the new promenade, with the typical plants that give the name to the seaside promenade and its characteristic cobbled path. By this way it is possible to see the Aragonese Tower, also called Torre Merlata or Torrazzo. During the day or in the evening you can stop in Padre Pio Square, meeting place of the Community, in particular during the summer season at which are organized many events and religious feasts, making it a true center full of life.
Melissa is finally rich of typical products such as dried tomatoes, olives 'alla Calce', the autochthonous wine Melissa DOC and the oil. Particularly tasty are also its typical dishes: Aubergines stuffed, Maccheroni al ferretto with capretto sauce, the pitta cu maju, the sardella and the pipi e patati.