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The Calabria Region of Italy

Highlights

 

Calabria is an old region nursed by Greek and Roman civilization. This part of southern Italy has a long history dating back to its role at the heart of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece) in classical antiquity; indeed far earlier than that. Explore its valleys and you discover a culture apparently untouched by recent centuries. There are so many more faces of Calabria too numerous to explain here. Calabria reveals the mystery of Italy down to the present time.

 

Calabria is the southern most region of Italy, with incredible scenic beauty along the rugged Ionian, and Tyrrhenian seas, pristine beaches, and a huge number of historical and archaeological sites. It is the up and coming holiday destination in Italy. Calabria has been unaffected by mass tourism and remains largely undeveloped. The clear blue waters of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas are among the cleanest in Europe and the sunsets are spectacular. The beaches rival those of the Caribbean. During the summer months temperatures are very hot, sometimes reaching 40 degrees C; but this also means that temperatures are warm and dry from March through November.

 

Tropea

The town of Tropea is among the highlights of Calabria with a lovely cathedral and many shops selling traditional Calabrian pottery and agricultural products, bars and scenic trattorias. There are stunning views across the Tyrrhenian to the Stromboli volcano and perched upon a rock at the foot of the town is the convent church of “ Santa Maria dell’Isola”(photo right). Nearby Pizzo and Capo Vaticano offer a wide choice of excellent beaches.

 

 

 

 

 

 


On a leisurely afternoon, you can take a hydrofoil and visit the islands of Stromboli (left), Lipari, Salina, Vulcano, and Panarea, also known as the Aeolian Islands (Aeolian coast photo right). They are exotic and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

The landscape is stunning and the Aspromonte mountains offer excellent walking trails. The coastal areas swiftly ascend to rugged and rocky mountains. Here you will find hamlets whose origins are lost in antiquity, some inhabited, many abandoned, as well as old farms. Additionally you can explore the Pollino National Park (right) and also La Sila National Park, one of the last great stretches of European forest still intact.

 

You can also take advantage of the growing skiing resorts in La Sila at Camigliatello, Palumbo Sila and Ciricilla. Further away there is skiing on the Aspromonte near Reggio Calabria from where, on a clear day, you get a good view of Sicily and Mount Etna.

 

 

There is no shortage of towns worth a visit on the Ionian coast. Cosenza and Crotone have more than enough to justify a day trip. The mathematician Pythagoras is said to be a native of the town of Crotone, where Greek invaders arrived around 800bc. Crotone (the ancient Greek city of Kroton) was, in its day among the most important colonial settlements of Magna Graecia, with a school of medicine that was famous throughout the classical world and closely linked with the prowess of the city's athletes, who regularly won all the honors at the Olympic Games back in Greece. Crotone today has a beautifully preserved old center, and is a good place to stop before continuing on to the beaches that lie to the south and for the Greek ruins at Capo Colonna.(photo right) from where a solitary column rises up creating a vital landmark for sailors. It is the last remaining column of the 48 columned Temple of Hera. Just a few meters away we find the Torre Nao, a medieval coastal tower housing an Antiquarium Museum.

 

If you drive round to the Ionian Sea, the coastline becomes more rugged with sandy coves until you reach the wide long white beaches of the Golfo di Squillace. The villages have a distinct Greek influence, with whitewashed walls and a cuisine that is very similar to that of those ancient invaders from across the Ionian Sea. There are numerous Greek and Roman remains to be explored and pristine beaches sheltered beneath precipitous roads clinging to the mountainside or beside the vast areas now best known for their citrus fruit orchards.

 

The ancient Greeks settled on the Ionian sea coast - and the remains of a shrine to Apollo have been found. The town on the hill Cirò (Psicro was its Greek name) originated before 1000 a.d., and was greatly expanded after the Saracens started raiding the sea coast. Ciro` Marina is believed to date all the way back to the times of the legendary war of Troia (Troy).. The best known wine of Calabria is a DOC wine called Cirò (pronounced “CHIR-o” ) and Cirò wine has ancient roots.  Cirò may be the oldest wine in the world still produced today.  Local legend has it that the grapes were used to produce Cremissa, in Cirò Marina, a beverage offered as a toast to the gods by the Olympic champions of ancient Greece. Cirò became an important regional center with a castle constructed between 1300 and 1500; today the castle is in rather bad shape, and should be restored.

 

Isola di Capo Rizzuto is a town and commune in the province of Crotone. . The population of the town is around 15,000. Despite having the name "Isola" (island in Italian), it is not actually an island, rather an isthmus extending into the sea, which is completely attached to the peninsula. The main historical attraction is the powerful 16th century fortification in the frazione of Le Castella (photo lower right) .

The food of Calabria is simple: pastas and vegetables, complemented by olive oil and sausages. It combines the various shapes of dried pasta like spaghetti or penne topped with colorful sauces made with tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Additionally include spicy dried salami or other sausages such as pork sopressata or smoked capocollo and n'duija (hot pepper and pork spread of Spilinga) and you pretty much sum up the cuisine of Calabria. All these ingredients frequently make their way into hearty soups. Unique to Calabria is the frequent use of pepperoncino (hot, hot pepper) in many dishes on the Calabrian table.

 

 

 

 





The Official Calabria Region Site



The Official Tropea web site


The Official Province of Cosenza site