Review: Holidays in Calabria (Italy) – The magic of the distant coast
Italy. A country that is famous all over the world because of its movies, its cuisine, its gorgeous architecture. Who doesn’t love Italy? The Colosseum and the Tower of Pisa. Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei. A country wrapped in three seas, and warmed by the gentle sun. But that’s all anyone knows. Have you ever met people who haven’t heard of Rome or Milan, for example? And Tuscany, the region beckons all people with its beauty? It’s kind of a popsicle. That’s why, I want to tell you about Calabria, an area undeservedly unknown to ordinary people. Believe me, Calabria will surprise you.
I would like to start with this. Why Calabria? In my opinion, it is in this region, as well as in the whole south, has preserved the life and atmosphere of Italy. Atmosphere, which gave us the movies with Adriano Celentano, Sophia Loren and others. The land is a little wild, but so simple and soulful. Let’s go in order.
I traveled around Calabria with a local, so many of the things I will show you can’t even find on the internet. From sandy cliffs and jungles, to azure shores and ancient castles. The nature of southern Italy is incredibly diverse. Once you literally drive a few tens of kilometers, the landscape before your eyes changes dramatically.
The first thing I saw was Valli Cupe Canyon. A deep break in the ancient mountains. All around there is drought and heat. First we had a rather long climb up a sandy road. At the top there is a beautiful view of the surrounding area. And next to it is a small rock, eaten away as if by earthworms. The true nature of this phenomenon I do not know, but it looks very unusual.
Descended, we got to the canyon itself. At the entrance to give out helmets, and you can safely enjoy the natural beauty. The size of the gorge, of course, amazes. The height in some places reaches more than 100 meters.
The canyon itself is located on the lands of the reserve with the same name. Therefore, it is convenient and easy to walk through it. Each point is connected by paths, there is a wooden railing and benches. In general, everything for, without distractions, to immerse yourself in the Italian nature.
Riding through the nooks and crannies of Calabria you can see many different interesting things. Here, for example, is an ancient olive tree. As thick as a sequoia.
Olives and Italy. Those words are synonymous. They’re all over the place. On the slopes of the mountains. In the vast fields and in every garden of an authentic Italian. Thinking about Italy you think of olives, and vice versa.
The next point of visit was the fortress of Le Castella.
Since the south of Italy has been bordered by Africa all through history, the entire coast of the peninsula was protected by towers, fortresses, etc. Unfortunately, many monuments of architecture and history, today in a dismal state.
But Le Castell has been perfectly preserved. It is a real military stronghold, which was used to defend against the Saracens and later the Turks. Surrounding the fortress is a nice tourist town. The sidewalks are paved with cobblestones, there are palm trees and small coffee shops everywhere.
In general, I want to talk in detail about the main advantage of southern Italy. And that’s why I love it most of all. It’s small, insanely comfortable cities. There are so many of them scattered in this fertile land, just not to count.
And in each of them there is something special. Special. Churches, often with a century-old history, squares, each with its own unique feature. It’s amazing how such backwater places manage to look so neat and nice. In one, the viewpoints on the sea come to mind, with beautiful benches.
In the second, incredibly steep, thin streets that carry you high into the mountains. Sharp turns, up and down, and all around are ancient houses. How they have a combination of new, old and even ancient architecture. In one place can be both modern homes and medieval, and even the remains of structures from ancient Roman times!
Oh, just listen to their names. Sellia Marina, Sersale, Soriano Calabro, Catanzaro. Nothing can be ugly in Italy.
In each of these towns there are small restaurants and cafeterias on every corner. And in every one of them sit real Italians. Drinking coffee, talking about their business, their leisure time, but otherwise, almost always about nothing. When you get there, you dissolve in the aroma of coffee, in the atmosphere of idleness and tranquility. Simple cordiality reigns everywhere. And people.
Oh, how many stories about these wonderful people I have accumulated during my stay in Italy. Here are some of them. Once we got lost somewhere in the Calabrian wilderness. We stopped in one of those small villages and asked the locals for directions. Half of the village came out to help us and tell us how to get there and where to go. And with such passion and interest. And with an inherent feature of all Italians. A smile. They all radiate good-naturedness.
Another time I decided to walk with a tent and a bunch of things into the mountains. They are here at every step. The path went along the highway through two settlements and went high into the woods. More than 20 kilometers in one direction.
So, I didn’t calculate my strength a little, and I could hardly breathe on the way back. Let’s not forget about the weather – it was the scorching sun and a temperature of 35 degrees. And almost every car wanted to stop and drop me off at the end of the route. In the end, I agreed after all. The driver helped me put my stuff in the trunk of the car, drove me to my house, unloaded it all for free, and again with great kindness. Well, where else can you imagine such a thing? And there are many such cases. There is not enough space to describe.
Calabria is rich in what most tourists come here for. The beaches here, firstly, a lot, and secondly, they are all different. There are also ordinary, unremarkable coast. But they are rarely crowded.
And you can, sitting on a beach chair, watch the waves come one by one on the wet sand. Alone. The sun is warming you up, the gentle murmur of babbling water. Forgetful for a moment, lost in fantasies and dreams. Hmm, so I forgot.
So, every beach in Calabria is unique. They have different sands, different landscape. Different water! Somewhere darker, a little dirtier, somewhere cleaner. There are real azure beaches. With rocks, ponds, bays and islands next to the shore.
Anything you want. Almost all of them are equipped with all amenities. Sun loungers, umbrellas, toilets and showers.
Often next to the beaches are beautiful restaurants and cafes. And this is not our terrible shashlik and shawarmechnye. In Italy, everything is subordinated to one goal, to create an atmosphere of idleness and beauty. And they succeed in it very well.
What else can surprise this little corner of the world? And I want to remind you, that its area is only 15 thousand square kilometers. In comparison, the Leningrad Region, which has a size of 83 thousand. Well, such as wilderness parks and nature reserves. They are mostly forests high in the mountains.
Here is one of them. Aspromonte National Park. It is a wild forest located in the mountains next to a giant reservoir. Calabria’s forests are truly amazing. With such aridity and heat, they look like the Norwegian massifs.
Just as well-groomed, but mysterious and dense. Most of the trees here are pines, which evokes pleasant associations with home. Although there are such wonders. Surely these trees are real, not escaped from the pages of Tolkien?
Tidy paths lead over rocks and mountain rivers. Rocks are everywhere, overgrown with moss. Old wooden signs and abandoned ancient buildings of unclear purpose. And trout are splashing in the river. An idyll, what can I say.
But even that is not the most interesting part. The road I told you about leads to a small observation deck. You know, like a lookout point. Just a little nook of open space high above the ground. And it overlooks a waterfall. A triple waterfall. And how spectacular it looks. Too bad the pictures don’t do justice to its grandeur.
This is where the main hiking trail ends. However, you can go further. To get through the brush and bend around the colossal boulders. After that you try to walk on wet rocks for fear of slipping into the cold water. Climb up huge fallen trees and finally see a waterfall in front of us. And a small pond where the water rumbles. It was well worth the effort.
There is still a way back, though. Yes, I would strongly advise you to think about that before you do anything rash. And if you’re going to repeat this route, put on your hiking clothes. Don’t make the same mistakes I did.
What’s the most interesting thing about traveling in a friend country? Of course, it is touching a completely different culture. The everyday life and way of life of the common people. I am especially interested in the beliefs and religion of other peoples.
Calabrians mostly adhere to Catholicism. But with their own peculiarities. I always respect the local faith. And, just in moments of religious rituals, you can observe the local people. Calabrians are religious people. And looking at them you can see the origins of their worldview, culture and ideology.
So. I think my story may give the impression of an ideal land. That little corner of paradise on earth. Of course, that’s partly true. But. But I want to be objective. How can you advise something without telling the whole truth.
Unfortunately, there are minuses in Calabria. The people. Yes, just now I was praising them, and now I’m adding to the cons. It’s just that for all their virtues, they have an unpleasant feature. They’re total screw-ups. Although, living in a place like this, I wouldn’t blame them. But still. Stand in a car in the middle of the road and start talking to the next car, obstructing the passage? Every other person does. Eating and throwing a piece of paper under your feet? The whole earth is littered with garbage. In fact, this is the main disadvantage of the south of Italy. They say that the dirtiest city in Europe is Naples, and I willingly believe it. (There is no photo of garbage, so here are just beautiful shots from Calabria).
Infrastructure. Traveling in Calabria without your car is impossible. Public transportation is irregular, crooked and most likely none at all. What is there to travel, even just to walk is difficult. Sidewalks either don’t exist, or they are small and uncomfortable. Cars drive at high speeds. Often go for reckless overtaking. I witnessed a terrible fatal accident for this very reason.
Yes, you could say it’s the same here, I don’t argue with that. But there’s either a lot of concentration, or too much contrast to the rest of Europe. But the roads and the infrastructure are amazing. And not in a positive way at all. (The quality of the road surface itself is excellent, so to speak).
It is worth noting that all this is noticeable if you go far enough away from the tourist routes. Moreover, I lived in Calabria for a few months and to me, these disadvantages are more imprinted in the brain than the average vacationer. I guess if you come for a couple of weeks, you won’t notice anything like that. Well, except that the personal car all the same will have to rent, because it’s just more convenient.
And now about the pros. Those that I have not described. Gastronomic tourism in Calabria is the best idea of all possible. What a pity I don’t have pictures of their bazaars and markets. Their food departments are a work of art. Dozens, if not hundreds of types of cheeses. Sausages, seafood. Various buns and paneer (bread in Italian). Lots of different herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, etc. And so you walk between these racks, and it just blows your mind. The smells, the look, it’s just incredible. I don’t think I need to say anything about the taste of these products. But I will say it. Okay. If you’ve never tasted authentic cheeses like provola, parmesan piccorino, then hurry up and correct that oversight. It’s divine. It’s the very essence of Italy as a toque. Sitting by the sea, bunches of grapes hanging over you. On the table is a bottle of local wine. Next to it are sliced cheese, dried sausages, olives. You take a sip, eat a slice of Parmesan. And you realize you didn’t live that life for nothing.
Oh. How much more I want to tell about this wonderful region. You get in the car, push the pedal, and every minute you want to stop and take a mind-blowing picture.
Honestly, remembering the minuses I had to strain my head, because they’re not the first things that come to mind about Calabria. Garbage? You get used to it after a day, and you don’t notice it anymore. The local peculiarities of Calabrians? Yes, it’s their thing, it’s hard to imagine that very atmosphere of backwater Italy without their peculiarities.
And what immediately springs to mind? The sea, infinitely beautiful and majestic. The mountains, different every time. The ruins of ancient buildings. The eternal gatherings of active young people. Cute old men driving old Fiats. Music from the radio, perfectly reflecting the local color. And the atmosphere of sunny joy and serenity reigned everywhere.
Do I go to Calabria? At least once in your life to see the scarlet sun set on the golden water surface surrounded by the tops of the cypress-covered hills. To talk to a local man who sells his wine. Taste the very Dolce Vita, if only for a moment. Well, I guess that’s up to you.
15 amazing sights of Calabria
In this article I will talk about Calabria – the southernmost region of Italy on the Apennine Peninsula and its attractions. I’ll acquaint you with its tiny cozy towns located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. I will tell you what museums, fortresses and churches are waiting for tourists there, what is worth seeing, what beautiful places to visit with a tour. Be sure to mention the national parks that are worth visiting.
What sights to see in Calabria (Italy) in one day
The 15 sights are just a small fraction of what you can see in beautiful, cozy, friendly Calabria! It’s impossible not to fall in love with it! Discover it for yourself! And it will always remain in your heart.
By our Russian standards, everything is close by.
In one day you can manage to see a lot, for example, in the morning to visit the church of Santa Maria di Polsi, in the afternoon to stroll among the flowering meadows of the National Park “Aspromonte”, and in the evening back to the hotel Isca Marina.
Calabria is located in the southernmost part of the Apennine Peninsula, as they sometimes say figuratively, “in the toe of the Italian boot
If you are interested in Cattolica di Stilo, it’s a short walk to the monastery of San Giovanni Teristis, and you can get around the city even without a map.
After wandering through the streets of Old Rossano, go to the Marine Reserve “Capo Rizzuto”. If you like it, you can spend the night at a local hotel and go fishing with professional fishermen at 7am. After staying in this area of provincial Italy you can go to major metropolitan cities like Rome or Milan and walk around the birthplace of Romeo and Juliet, Verona. Dive into the atmosphere of other small towns like Perugia, Livorno or Florence. And if you want romance, then feel free to go to Venice, San Remo, or Syracuse.
Built in 1073 as one of the outposts erected by the Norman commander Robert Guiscard between 1064 and 1080 in the valley of the Crati
Until the 18th century it was known as Palazzo Sangro. The castle was rebuilt several times but has retained its original elements
The first mention of a fortified Norman outpost in the area of the modern town of Corigliano Calabri in the province of Cosenza dates back to 1073. In 1489, the castle began to be rebuilt, adapted for housing. The author of the restoration project is presumably Antonio Marchesi of Settignano, pupil of Francesco di Giorgio Martini, inventor, military engineer, talented artist, sculptor and architect, predecessor of the great Leonardo. In the 17th century, an octagonal tower was erected, the dominant accent in the building’s architectural complex. In the 18th century the castle passed into the ownership of the Sanseverino family and was renamed Castello Ducale di Corigliano. Now the castle is a municipal property. All the most important city events are held in it, a historical museum is opened within its walls, and art exhibitions are organized.
Castello Sant’Aniceto was built as a refuge and a watchtower at a time when the coasts of Calabria and Sicily were being constantly plundered by the Saracen warriors.
Castello Sant’Aniceto is one of the most outstanding examples of late Medieval Byzantine-Norman architecture in Calabria and one of the best-preserved Byzantine forts in the world
The Byzantine Castle of Castello Sant’Aniceto, also known as San Niceto, was built in the 11th century on a hill in the small town of Motta San Giovanni in the province of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region of Calabria
It is near the town of Motta San Giovanni in the province of Reggio Calabria. It was built by the Byzantines in the 11th century as an outpost to repel Saracen raids. The Normans, expanded the castle, strengthened the walls, built two square towers at the entrance and two inside. Because the castle was destroyed in the 15th century and consigned to oblivion, it has survived without alteration or reconstruction. Castello Sant’Anicetto is one of the best preserved Byzantine castles. It is now on the highest point of the castle with a stage, behind which you can see Etna. From time to time concerts are held here. The combination of ancient ruins, beautiful views and music pouring in the open air will not leave anyone indifferent.
Sila National Park
The total area of the park is 74 thousand hectares. Its territory contains nine biogenetic nature reserves
The park was founded in 1997 in the three provinces of Cotone, Cosenza and Catanzaro. It stretches between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts in the foothills of Pollino and Aspromonte. Forests make up almost 80% of its territory. It is famous for its 500-year-old giant pine trees. The park is home to about 150 deer. Old villages, located in the park, give it extra flavor. The park is open to visitors all year round. There is an information center in the park. Here visitors are organized into groups, following routes laid out in the most picturesque places. The places of Comigliatello, Ciricillo and Lorica attract skiers from all over the world.
Pollino National Park
The park was founded in 1992 and it is a convergence of conservation and archaeological interests
The protected area is located in the provinces of Cosenza, Matera and Potenza and with a total area of 1820 km² it is the largest natural park in the country
Rushing rivers, deep gorges and wide valleys are the calling card of Pollino, the largest nature park in Italy. Since 2015 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area of the park is more than 192 hectares. It is located at the junction of two regions: Basilicata and Calabria. The highest mountain Dolcedorme is 2267 m above sea level. This park is the fiefdom of climbers and fans of canyoning and rafting. It is famous for the white (Bosnian) pine, a variety of flowers, among which are several species of orchids, rare red lilies. Fauna is also diverse. Of birds – golden eagle, black woodpecker, klushitsa, the Mediterranean falcon, red kite, falcon sopsan. There is also the Apennine wolf, wild cat, otter and the local species of roe deer. Some places famous for their attractions: Morano Calabro with its monastery of Coloretto; Cerchiara di Calabria with the church of Madonna delle Armi; Papasidero with its artefacts and the 16th century church of Madonna of Constantinople situated in a recess in the rock.
Aspromonte National Park
Aspromonte National Park is located in the southern part of the Apennine mountains and covers an area of 64 hectares
The park is characterized by a great variety of plant and animal species and has special climatic conditions that favor the development of biodiversity
The name Aspromonte, meaning “mountain impassable”, was chosen by farmers who found the park’s steep slopes and stony soil difficult to cultivate
The impassable mountains are the name given by the Calabrians to the steep slopes of the southern Apennines. The territory of the park encompasses a rocky massif that resembles a pyramid in its shape. The base stretches from the sea coast to the mountain peaks and plateaus and the top is Mount Montalto (1955m). The nature is so pristine that everyone who comes here will feel like a pioneer. The peasants who live in the local villages grow orange-bergamot. It is used in the production of the famous Earl Grey tea. The town of Gambarié is a Mecca for lovers of alpine skiing. Interested in church architecture, visit the town of San Luca and the church of Santa Maria di Polsi. Although winters in Aspromonte are cold and even snowy, excursions take place all year round.
The population is 36,876 (as of December 2013), with a population density of 250 persons/km². It is located 3 km from the coast of the Gulf of Taranto.
Rossano is an ancient town of the province of Cosenza situated on a high hill, which offers a magnificent view over the Ionian Sea. At the center of the town is the eleventh century Cathedral dedicated to St. Mary of Acreopita. In 1879, in the sacristy of this cathedral, the Rossus Codex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was found. On the purple parchment sheets, the text of the Gospel of Matthew and Mark is written in Greek. The manuscript was created in the 5th and 6th centuries. It is one of the oldest illustrated texts in the world. The manuscript is now preserved in the Archbishop’s Museum. Byzantine buildings: the church of Santa Maria Panagia (10th-11th cc), the church of San Marco (9th-10th cc) and the church of San Bernardino (15th c).
San Giovanni Teristis Monastery
The Monastery of San Giovanni Teristis is an Orthodox monastery located in the town of Bivongi in the Italian region of Calabria
After the Norman conquest of Italy, the monastery became one of the most important Basilian churches in the southern part of the country
In Reggio Calabria near the town of Bivongi stands the ancient Orthodox monastery of St. John the Reaper. It was built in the 11th century and was named in honor of a local monk, numbered among the saints. In the 17th century it was decided to move the monastery to another more protected location. Thus the monastery of San Giovanni Theristis fuori le mura (St. John the Reaper beyond the wall) was founded in Stilo. Since then, the relics of St. John have been preserved there. Since the end of the 20th century the monastery belongs to the Orthodox Diocese of Italy. In 2008, it was given to the Romanian Orthodox Church for 99 years, as there are about 60,000 Orthodox Romanians living in Calabria.
According to the contemporary German historian Walter Bershin, at the end of the fourteenth century Gerace was still a Greek city
The patrons of the municipality are honored by the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Veneranda and Sant’Antonio del Castello, celebrated on August 23
In Reggio Calabria at the foot of the Aspromonte massif, at 500 m above sea level nestles the small town of Gerace. Gerace is one of the most beautiful small towns in Italy. It was founded in the 11th century by the Greeks who migrated from the Ionian Sea. The Cathedral of Gerace (11c.) is the largest in Calabria. Its treasury keeps a crucifix from the 12th century, a statue of the Virgin Mary with child from the 14th century and a silver jug from the 17th century, adorned with sapphires and emeralds: The Church of St. Francis, the Monastery of San Giovanni Crizostomo, the Byzantine Church of San Giovannello. There are small museums in the Cathedral and the monastery of San Giovanni Crizostomo.
Palmi is the second largest city in the province of Reggio Calabria in the Italian region of Calabria with a population of about 20 thousand people
Palmi itself with its beaches Marina di Palmi and Lido di Palmi is also considered a popular and rapidly developing seaside resort
Not far from the center of Palmi lies the small village of Tauriana, a picturesque tourist resort sandwiched between the sea and the mountain peaks
On the slopes of Monte Sant’Elia in the province of Reggio Calabria lies the town of Palmi, facing the Tyrrhenian Sea Costa Viola. It was the birthplace of the famous Italian composers Francesco Cilea and Nicola Antonio Manfroce and of the writer and political activist Leonida Repachi. In “Casa dela Cultura” Palmi is a modern multifunctional museum that bears the name of Leonid Repaci. There are: the gallery “Leonida and Albertina Repaci”, the ethnographic museum, the music museum “Francesco Chilea and Nicola Antonio Manfroce”. The beaches of Costa Viola Marina di Palmi and Lido di Palmi are considered some of the best in Calabria. Near Palmi is the Tauriani Archaeological Park, set on the ruins of an ancient city.
There are many interesting sights in the vicinity of Nocera Terinese. So, it is worth to visit the archaeological park of Temesa, one of the oldest human habitats
Nocera Terinese is a small town in the Italian region of Calabria, popular with tourists thanks to its ancient center with numerous attractions
The patron saint of the settlement is considered to be St. John the Baptist. The holiday is celebrated annually on June 24th.
It is a small town in the province of Catanzaro, located high in the mountains. The most important landmark is the Baroque Church of St. John the Baptist, built in the 16th century. It is located in the central square of the town. The nearby St. Martin’s Church is even older, from the 15th century. And while the outside of the church bears the mark of time, the inside is bright and cozy. The Church of Santissima Annunziata is famous for its 17th-century marble altar and the equally ancient wooden sculpture of the Pieta. Unlike the Church of St. John the Baptist, this church is rather dusky. The excavations of the ancient city of Temesa near Nocera Terinese attract archeological enthusiasts. If Homer is to be believed, Odysseus visited these places.
Capo Rizzuto Marine Reserve
Despite its name – Isola, which means “island” in Italian – it is not an island in the literal sense. Rather, it is an isthmus, deeply embedded in the sea.
In the province of Crotone, on the coast of the Ionian Sea, near the town of Isola Capo Rizzuto, is the marine reserve Capo Rizzuto. It occupies 42 km of coastline and 13.3 thousand hectares of water area and has 3 protection zones. Its creation was aimed at a dual purpose: preservation of the coastline, unique in terms of environment and protection of the rich archaeological heritage under the sea. The reserve offers tourists a variety of services: excursions on ships with a transparent bottom, rents yachts, in some places organizes diving. The thrill is experienced by tourists participating in fishing along with professional fishermen.
Cattolica di Stilo
Today, Cattolica di Stilo is, along with the Church of San Marco in Rossano Calabro, one of the most fascinating examples of Byzantine architecture.
In the town of Stilo, in the province of Reggio Calabria, the Church of Cattolica di Stilo was built in the 10th century. It is an outstanding example of Byzantine architecture. “Cattolica” means that the church has an annex for baptism, the baptistery. Built of brick, inside the church is divided by four marble columns taken from ancient Greek temples. Its walls are painted with Byzantine frescoes. The history of this tiny church, measuring 6×6 m, conceals many mysteries. However, it is certain that Tommaso Campanella knew of its existence or perhaps visited it. The author of the great utopia The City of the Sun was born and grew up in Stilo.
Isca Marina is a small village that is part of the municipality of Isca sullo Ionico in the province of Catanzaro and lies on the east coast of the Italian region of Calabria
Isca Marina is famous among tourists for its clean sandy beaches and crystal waters of the Squillace Gulf
During the day most of the tourists are concentrated on the beaches of Isca Marina, where you can not only sunbathe and swim, but also engage in various sports
On the coast of the Ionian Sea near the resort of Soverato there is a small village, Isca Marina. It attracts holidaymakers with its sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of the Squillace Gulf. Not so long ago here was built one of the largest in Italy indoor pools with a length of 6.25m. The pool offers group and private scuba diving lessons. A modern yacht club works in the neighboring village of Badolato. Fishing enthusiasts can take advantage of special tours lasting from one to several days. From Isca Marina, there are excursions to the town of Lokri, founded by the Greeks in the 7th century BC, and to the National Parks “Sila” and “Aspromonte”.
Church of Santa Maria di Polsi
The Church of Santa Maria di Polsi is a church located in the heart of the Aspromonte mountain range near the village of San Luca in the Italian region of Calabria
The church and monastery stand in a picturesque setting at the bottom of a ravine surrounded by high mountains. Mount Montalto (1955 meters), the highest peak in Aspromonte, is visible to the west
Near the town of San Luca, in the heart of the Aspromonte massif, the Normans founded the monastery and church of Santa Maria di Polsi in 1144. They stand at the bottom of a ravine surrounded by high mountains. Until recently, it was only accessible on foot. The monastery is one of the few that have survived in Calabria and belongs to the Basilian order. Once every 25 years an important event takes place in the temple: the coronation of the statue of the Madonna. The first coronation was held in 1860 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the statue’s discovery. It was carved from tuff by an unknown Sicilian sculptor in the 16th century. The last coronation took place in 2006. Interestingly, this monastery is the “gathering place” of the Calabrian Ndrageta Mafia
Bova Marina Synagogue
The Bova Marina Synagogue is the second oldest synagogue in Italy (after the Ostia synagogue in Rome) and one of the oldest in all of Europe.
In 2011 it was decided to build an archaeological park around the Bova Marina synagogue and open a museum that will display the Jewish artifacts found there.
It is located in the coastal town of Bova Marina in the Italian region of Calabria. The name of the town translates as “by the sea”.
In the province of Reggio Calabria on the coast of the Ionian Sea is the small town of Bova Marino. In 1983, the ruins of a synagogue (4th-6th century) were discovered during the construction of roads in this locality. It is second only to the synagogue of Ostia in Rome in its antiquity. The Calabrian Jewish community is one of the oldest in Europe. In one of the walls of the synagogue, scientists have discovered a niche. It has been suggested that it was intended for the storage of the Torah. On the mosaic floor of the synagogue can clearly be seen the image of a seven candlestick (menorah) and a wind musical instrument (shofar), a branch of a date palm (lulava) and a citrus tree (etrog). In addition, during the excavations were found 3 thousand bronze coins and numerous artifacts. In 2011, it was decided to establish an archaeological museum.