The archaeological site of Castiglione di Paludi occupies a hill composed of two largely flat areas connected by a central saddle, covering a total surface of approximately 40 hectares. The northern plateau (maximum altitude 296 meters asl) overlooks the coast while the southern plateau (334 m asl) extends towards the village of Paludi and the mountainous inland area.

As an effect of river erosion, the hill has over time assumed an isolated location in comparison with other nearby hills, being defended on many sides by high cliffs. From the hilltop one can also oversee a wide horizon: for example, visibility of the lower Coserie Valley, a major natural route which reaches the Ionian coast after 7 km, is excellent. The ancient site of Castiglione probably represented a stop-over point on transhumance routes, for the stocking up of timber and perhaps of the famous Brettian pitch, which was collected right in the nearby forests of the Sila massif.

The site was inhabited for a long time, from the IX to the III century B.C. The earliest phase is documented by an Enotrian necropolis found on the nearby Piana Agretto. (IX-VIII cent. BC), with inhumation burials in pits covered with heaps of stone.

The remains of the Hellenistic period are impressive: the fortified town is dated to the the IV-III century BC. Scholars have not yet agreed upon the identity of the people who founded and inhabited this city, of which the ancient name remains unknown. Most scholars agree that the inhabitants of Castiglione were the Brettians, an Italic ethnos which, in 356 BC, became an independent confederation with their capital (metropolis) at Cosentia (Cosenza). In the opinion of others, masonry techniques and the geometric regularity of streets and city blocks are signs of Greek origins. It is nevertheless certain that the town of Castiglione was abandoned around the end of the III century BC, after the epilogue of the Second Punic War and the subsequent Romanization of the region.