Reggio di Calabria

Reggio di Calabria, which is known more as Reggio Calabria, is the capital city of the province of Reggio Calabria, south of Italy. It is considered as the largest and the oldest city in the region. The city is known for its three different tags. Called the City of Bronzes, it is famous for the surviving Grecian art, the Riace bronzes. It is also called the city of Fatamorgana, a visual event that takes place in Reggios beaches, and the city of Bergamot.

The city lives with the gifts of nature. The countryside feel is visible due to the industries supported by the rich lands and seas. People earn their living through exportation of agricultural products. Being a port city, they also rely on the fishing business.

The tourist attraction of the city ranges from the rich historical origin of the metropolis to the abundance of beautiful attractions of the sea and mountain. The Ionic and Tyrrhenian coast borders the city with beaches. The Aspromonte Mountain, with its National Aspromonte Park, shelters the city from behind.

Reggio Calabria is also a city of history. Known as Rhegion in the olden times, it was founded and cultivated by the Greeks, headed by the Romans, made important by the Byzantine and was passed on to different kingdoms before the 18th century. Such attributes can be seen in the Mediterranean feel of the city, rustic and still very much laden to the olden times.

The city life holds interesting sights. Greek walls and Roman baths are testaments to the ancient superpowers. For a take in the history of the city, the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia or the National Museum of Greater Greece is a very important itinerary in a every travelers guide. The museum houses the famous Riace Bronzes. Medieval proofs are also present in the city. Churches and castles are sites of tourist destination. Famous churches include the Cathedral, the church of Saint Gaetano Catanoso, and the Byzantine-Norman Chiesa degli Ottimati or Church of the Optimates. Aragonese Castle, Villa Zerbi, the Town Art Gallery or Pinacoteca Comunale, and Lungomare Falcomatà are also worth the visit.

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Rossano is in the province of Cosenza, in the Calabrian Region. It is an important city with regard to the Catholic faith. Currently, it is the seat of the Catholic archbishop. It also houses extraordinary castles and cathedrals.

The citys name is derived from the original Roman name, Roscanium. People here have strong attachment to the Greek tradition and the Byzantine Empire. It can be seen through the dominance of Greek rituals over the Latin rites. Rich history was cultivated in the city. After being a part of the Roman Empire, the city was passed on to different leaderships ranging from the Byzantine Empire to the royals of Europe. During the time of Isabelle of Naples, the city became a literary center.

Being the seat of the Catholic archbishop, popular sights in Rossano include a lot of churches. The most famous is the 11th century-built Cathedral. It is the central monument of the city. The Cathedral is well-known for the antique image of the Madonna not made by hands or the Madonna acheropita. Byzantine influences still stands up to date. The church of Santa Maria Panaghìa or St. Mary of All Saints is an old, thick-walled, rustic church.The St. Mark Oratory which was built on the 10th century is the best preserved Byzantine church. It was built by St. Nilus the Younger and considered the oldest testament in city. Other churches include Santa Chiara, San Francesco di Paola, and the first Catholic Church in the city, the late-Gothic style church of San Bernardino.

Rossano is also a city of music as it hosts the annual Marco Fiume Blues Passion, an outdoor blues and jazz festival which takes place every July. Moreover, this place is known as the birthplace of Pope John VII, Pope Urban VII and Saint Nilus the Younger.

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Cariati is a small commune and town near the Ionian Sea. It is a part of the Cosenza province of the Calabria region of south Italy.

The town has strong Roman Catholic history. Not only that some of the famous bishops of the Catholic Church come from this place but according to history, the diocese of the town was united with another diocese which is the Cerenza. This happened during the 11th century. The town’s patron saint is San Leonardo.

Cariati is a small but beautiful commune with more than 8000 inhabitants. It is also near the coastal areas of south Italy with only few steps away from the beaches. The town offers a typical Calabrian lifestyle. With beaches near the city, people love the summer season where everyone is flocking the seaside for a much awaited water indulgence. The climate is characterized by the mountainous air from the mountain regions of Calabria. The area is much surrounded by crystal clear waters, eye-catching town and seaside views all of which reflects the laidback and serene lifestyle of the town.

Nowadays, as the Calabrian region is starting to open up to world, hotels in town are starting to flourish. The tourism industry is beginning to grow. Hotel accommodations are modernized in order to attract visitors. Top rated hotels in the area includes B&B La Serena and Hotel Gattopardo located in the marina. Shops, bars and cafeterias are like bushes that are sprouting in every corner. The town owes its fame to its calm environment that is blessed with natural wonders and historical facets as well. Other attractions to the area include the old Cariati town which houses a cathedral that is a monument to the Catholic religion. The old town has 18th century walls and interiors that are a sight to behold.

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Ciro Marina

Ciro Marina is a land close to the sparkling sea of the Ionian coast, glorified with the beauty of the treasures of the past. A Calabrian town near Crotone province, this small metropolis is inhabited by 15000 people.

The city is a paradise for every adventure-laden traveler. The city boasts a beautiful coastline with beautiful hours of the sunshine. The beach vibe is a great summer getaway situated in the traditional Calabria region. However, as a part of the customary region, Ciro Marina also houses a number of historical sites and museums. For those who are interested with history and culture, artifacts and relics can be found at Cirò Marina Archeological Museum, Palazzo Porti, and Piazza Diaz.

Efforts made during the past years of excavation lead to the discovering of the temple devoted to Apollo, which dates back to 6th century B.C. The city also has the Two Towers, namely the Torre Vecchia or the Old Tower and the Torre Nuova or the New Tower. These two structures are the only remains of the ancient watch tower series that served as barrier that defend the city from the outsiders. The Old Tower, which is still in a very good condition, was built during the 9th century and is located at Madonna del Mare. Meanwhile the New Tower, in contrast to its name, is a war torn structure which was constructed during the latter part of the 16th century.

Churches are also worth the visit. The Church of Sant Antonio da Padova boasts a highly impressive architectural design inside. Ciro Marina is also the site of the ancient Greek colony of Cremissa. It is said that there was once a temple dedicated to the Greek god of wine, Dionysus which is not impossible because the city is a home to Calabria’s famous wine, the Ciro red wine.

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Botricello is a small municipality in the province of Catanzaro, located in the Southern tip of Italy’s boot. It is a town with only more than 4000 inhabitants. The people are called Botricellesi.

Natives and tourist here enjoy a typical Calabrian cuisine in the city. Home grown vegetables are a staple as well as pastas and fish. White sauces for pasta are common dishes in every place.

The climate is warm which is in contrast to other Calabrian city. The weather in Botricello made it possible for people to grow vegetables. There are productions of agricultural products like maize, grape, tomatoes, finocchi, forages, and olive. Such productions are often harvested by families that cultivated the lands that date back to the 16th century. This resulted to stronger plant and vegetable industry that employs most of the city’s inhabitants as workers.

At present, Botricello became a modern city with strong inclinations to nature and the agriculture.  It is also a thriving heavenly place for beach lovers and adventurers as the town is surrounded by the coastal seas of Iona. Hotels can be seen in every nook as this small municipality is starting to improve, advertise, and open their once close region to international tourists. Hotels like Agriturismo La Casa Di Botro  which is located inside the city and other hotels near the city like Hotel Guglielmo, Hotel Palace, and Grand Hotel Paradiso offers modern amenities with a typical Catanzaro vibe which you can only enjoy once you lay your foot in the sand of Botricello beaches.

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Located at Reggio Calabria, Stilo is a town where economy flourishes from the gifts of environment. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood where products like oil, cheese, wine and cereal are traded to other places. It is a hill town situated in the mountainous region of Mount Consolino. It got its name from the Greek word stylos, which means columns. Historical writings say that the city was an ancient Greek colony of Kaulon, before it was destructed. 

Stilo was every inch, a historical city. Originally founded by the Greeks during the ancient times, it was also the location of the Battle of Calabria. It was listed as one of the biggest naval battles during the World War II.

As a part of the historical Roman Empire, churches are dominant in the area. Travelers are often advice to visit their churches which are a testament to the once strong empire. Cattolica di Stilo or the Cattolica, as it was often called, is one of the important churches that remained from the Byzantine Empire. It is considered as a national monument. A small but amazingly beautiful church located out of the town, the Cattolica has five domes and was built during the 7th century. The Cattolica, is elegantly seen when climbing up Mt. Consolino, with its red brick outstanding behind natures backdrop. Other sights to behold in the town of Stilo are the churches of San Nicola da Tolentino, San Domenico, the Cathedral and majestic castles like the Norman Castle built by Roger II and the Fountain of the Dolphins.

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Breathtaking Gerace

The town Gerace in the province of Reggio Calabria in southern Italy is fast becoming famous as a “Florence of the South” due to its art, architecture, and religious buildings. Gerace is found inland from the coastal town of Locri. In fact, during the olden days, the inhabitants of Locri go to Gerace when attackers arrive from the sea.

The two main attractions of Gerace are the ruins of the old Norman Castle and the medieval town. The castle is found at the top of Gerace and was built in the 10th century by the Byzantines. The medieval town on the other hand is perfectly preserved. It once had as many as 128 churches back in the day. There are a number that are still standing at present. The largest is the Norman Cathedral. In fact this is the largest religious building in Calabria. The cathedral’s two aisles are divided by thirteen columns taken from the ancient temples of Locri. The cathedral has a crypt and a museum open to the public. Another one worthy of a visit is the Church of St. Francis. Built in the 13th century, it boasts of a magnificent Baroque altar. Other churches to include in one’s itinerary are the Santa Maria del Mastro built in 1083 and the San Giovannello from the 10th century.

As expected from a visit to southern Italy, a stay in Gerace translates to eating well. Depending on one’s budget or inclination, one can choose between the pricey restaurants or the modest taverna. Either way, you can be sure of a heavenly meal after all the walking done in those old churches.

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Rustic Stilo

Stilo is a charming old town located in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. Founded by the Greeks, it later on became a bastion of the Basilian monks, and is presently becoming one of the new tourist havens in Italy.

With its rich history, this town is dotted with ancient buildings and sites. The most famous of these structures is the La Cattolica di Stilo. This church was built in the 9th century. At that time, Calabria was part of the Byzantine Empire. Its name was derived from katholiki, a Greek word used to refer to churches with a baptistery. The La Cattolica is actually smaller than most old churches but its Greek cross shape is of perfect proportions, which makes it one of the most important examples of Byzantine architecture still remaining today. Other historical attractions worth a visit in Stilo are the Church of San Domenico, the Church of San Nicola da Tolentino, the Norman Castle of Roger II, and the Fountain of the Dolphins.

Stilo also has significance in more recent history as it was the site of the Battle of Calabria in 1940. Also known as the Battle of Punta Stilo, this event is one of the most massive naval battles of World War II. Both sides involved (the Italian navy versus the British and Australian navies) claim victory. However, the outcome was more like a draw.

It is best to stay in Stilo for a few days in order to fully appreciate its sights. Hotels and bed and breakfasts in Stilo are known for being clean, comfortable, and with excellent food.

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Picturesque Scalea is a town in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. The old part of the town is located on the hillsides while the areas near the beach are venues of more modern buildings.

Until recently, Scalea has been unknown to foreign visitors. For the longest time, tourists in this area have been fellow Italians. As development and tourism has yet to reach its peak, Scalea still very much retains its old world charm. There is a relaxing atmosphere. Property is cheap. The people are down to earth, helpful, and very friendly. These characteristics are perfect for the traveler who wishes to experience authentic Italian country culture and lifestyle. The downside for the foreign traveler is that almost no one here speaks English. However, for the adventurous one, this provides a more fascinating interaction plus a chance to learn Italian. This is definitely quite the opposite of the usual package tour!

The main attractions at Scalea are old and historical structures. These include the Palazzo dei Principi from the 13th century, the Palazzetto Normanno from the 12th century, the Church of San Nicola in Plateis from the 8th century, and the Torre Talao. The last structure is a tower built during the 16th century. During that time, around three hundred coastal towers were built as a deterrent against pirate attacks.

Peak season in Scalea is during the Italian holiday season from July to September. Parties, dances, festivals, and markets are active during these months. Those who prefer a quiet and relaxing time can still go outside of those months as the good cool weather remains virtually the same.

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Cultural Crotone

While vacationing in southern Italy, a visit to Crotone is a must especially when one wants to immerse in history and culture. The main sights of the city are historical sites. First on the list is the Cathedral that was built in the 9th century. It is distinguished by its neo-classical façade and Baroque interiors. The Madonna di Capo Colonna, an icon of the Black Madonna is found here. In the month of May, the icon is put on display and paraded throughout the town at midnight of the third Sunday of the said month. Next is Castle of Charles V from the 16th century. Its noteworthy features are the castle walls and the watchtowers. Another castle worth a visit is the Le Castella. This ancient castle is built on an island and can only be accessed by foot.

There are two museums worth a visit for more information on ancient Crotone. One is the Museo Archeologico Nazionale. It has the best collection of Greek and Roman coins, fragments, and other items from the Magna Graecia. Examples of these items are bronze statuettes of a sphinx, a gorgon, a horse, a winged siren, and a nuraghic boat from Sardinia, all dating from the 7th century BC. The other museum is the Museo Civico. On display are old maps and photos of Crotone, coins, and assorted heraldic devices.

After all that exploring, nourishment can be had from various establishments around town. There’s a pizzeria with wood-fired oven, a trattoria, and restaurants serving seafood and other Calabrian specialties.

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Sellia Marina

Sellia Marina is a municipality in Catanzaro in the Calabria region of Italy. This area is most known for its bountiful agricultural produce. While the major harvests are of citrus fruits and olives, other fruits, grains and vegetables are also grown in the area. Both residents and visitors alike enjoy these fruits of the land as they make their way to the numerous hotels, bars, pizzerias, and restaurants all around the town.

Walking around town, one will be enthralled by pastoral scenes provided by fields and plantations where one may chance upon shepherds with their sheep, goats, and cows. The walking tour can be extended to explore the caves in the hills. There are also ruins that date back to Roman times such as an ancient aqueduct.

However, what makes ones visit to Sellia Marina more colorful are the religious festivals. The religious traditions and beliefs of the locals are a curious mix of superstitions, pagan rituals and Christian rites.

Two of these festivals are the Festa della Cunfrunta and the Festa di San Nicola. The Festa della Cunfrunta takes place during Easter. This festival commemorates the request of the Blessed Mother to Saint John to seek the risen Jesus. The Festa di San Nicola is celebrated during May instead of St Nicholas day on December 6. This is a two-day celebration comprising of a procession, street paintings of the life of St. Nicholas, and a small festival of sweets.

Other minor religious festivals are the celebration of the Holy Supper, and the feast days of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Rosary, and St Anthony.

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Escape to Capo Rizzuto

Isola di Capo Rizzuto is a province in Calabria in Italy that is a perfect destination for a summer getaway. Fascinating ruins dot the landscape that is accentuated by crystal clear seas. A must visit is the Marine Reserve. This area is a protected sanctuary for marine life. Throughout the reserve, there are hidden coves, beaches, and even fresh springs to be discovered. A variety of fish species can be found as a part of the marine reserve, called Zone A, is off limits to any activity. Thus marine life can thrive and in turn enjoyed by swimmers and divers outside of Zone A. In this area one can also explore the ruins of what used to be a Roman villa.

At the southern part of the reserve is the castle of Le Castella. In use since the Greek times, the castle received additional fortifications during the 16th century as the area was prone to attacks. Inside the castle, one can enjoy the views of the sea and surrounding coastlines.

Capo Rizzuto is actually built on top of human settlements that date back to ancient times. Thus, when driving around the area one will notice lots of ruins. There are also traces of former watchtowers lining the road along the coastline. These were built in response to pirate and Saracen attacks during those times.

Other places to visit in Capo Rizzuto are the Church of St. Marco and the Cathedral. In May, there is a huge religious festival that includes a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Greek Madonna.

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