15 striking 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. Immerse yourself in 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.
The castle was built as a refuge and watchtower at a time when the shores of Calabria and Sicily were constantly ravaged by 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
Byzantine Castle 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 combines the points of interest of conservation and archaeology
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 favour the development of biodiversity
The name Aspromonte can be translated from Italian as “impassable mountains,” the name given to the massif by farmers who found its steep slopes and stony soils difficult to cultivate
The impassable mountains are the name given by the Calabrians to the steep slopes of the southern Apennines. The park encompasses a rocky massif shaped like a pyramid. 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 (Saint John the Reaper behind 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 Mountains, at an altitude of 500 meters 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 politician Leonida Repachi. In “Casa dela Cultura” Palmi is a modern multifunctional museum that bears the name of Leonida Repaci. There are: the gallery “Leonida and Albertina Repaci”, the ethnographic museum, the museum of music “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, which was 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, there is the marine reserve Capo Rizzuto. It occupies 42 km of coastline, 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, along with the Church of San Marco in the town of Rossano Calabro, is one of the most outstanding 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. To the west you can see Mount Montalto (1955 meters), the highest peak of Aspromonte
Near the town of San Luca, in the heart of the Aspromonte Mountains, 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 is translated as “by the sea”.
In the province of Reggio Calabria on the coast of the Ionian Sea is a small town Bova Marino. In 1983, during the construction of roads in this locality the ruins of a synagogue (4th-6th century) were discovered. 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 create an archaeological museum here.