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Calabria Region

Although the toe of the Italian boot, enclosed between two seas, may seem shaggy and wild, it offers countless marvellous views: verdant and shady mountains, emerald green sea, vast stretches of olive groves and vineyards dating far back in history, and a mild climate that Franco Costabile, the poet, describes as “warm as milk”.
Calabria was the birthplace of Mattia Preti, the great seventeenth-century Italian painter: some of his wonderful paintings can still be seen in his hometown, Taverna, splendidly situated amid the woods at the foot of the Sila mountains, in the church of Saint Dominic, in the Town Museum and in the church di Santa Barbara. In Calabria, not only art, but culture of every kind has very ancient roots. Pythagoras, the philosopher and mathematician, had his school in Crotone, a powerful and flourishing town of Magna Graecia, near Capo Colonna where the lonely ruins of the Doric temple of Hera (Juno) Lacinia stand. The area is famous for its lovely red beaches, such as the one on Capo Rizzuto island; here, in the Le Castella district, the Aragonese castle standing on a small island can be seen in all its splendour: with its impressive bulk, it seems to be defending the whole town, like a fearless sovereign. More history can be felt in Locri, an ancient Greek colony, in Gerace with its fascinating Cathedral and in Byzantine Stilo.
A place rich not only in history but also in spirituality is Serra San Bruno, built as a monastery founded in the Middle Ages by Brunone di Colonia among the woods donated by Roger the Norman.
Above all, Calabria has a wonderful coast. Pizzo is a lively seaside town famous for the tartufo (truffle), a delicious homemade ice cream. The old part of the town is full of narrow streets, small flights of stone steps, archways and passages, from where the blue sea can be glimpsed; on a bare rock stands Castello Murat, where Napoleon’s brother-in-law, who had arrived from Corsica in an attempt to win back the Kingdom of Naples, was shot on 13 October 1815. Not far from Pizzo are the wonderful beaches of Capo Vaticano, with a view stretching to the Aeolian Islands, and Tropea, the hometown of Raf Vallone, with its picturesque piazza Ercole, many small squares, a maze of small alleys, the brilliant Norman Cathedral, beautiful churches including the Renaissance Michelizia and, on a small tuff promontory, the church of S. Mary of the Island; Tropea stands on a cliff overlooking the deep blue sea: it is delightful to explore the little streets of the old town and discover ancient doorways. Another very charming place is Scilla, sung by Homer, standing on a crag overhanging the sea and dominated by the mythical rock of the Castle of the Ruffo family; the beautiful cove of Marina Grande and the charming Chianalea district, with fishermen’s boats on the beaches, are rich in colours, scents and atmosphere.
In addition to its coast, Calabria has really unique hill and mountain scenery. The scenery in the Sila mountains, with so many rivers, lakes and forests, is wonderful and there are well-known tourist resorts like Camigliatello and Lorica. And nobody can fail to be impressed by the Aspromonte, a mountain with many contrasts, where green woodlands and yellow broom alternate with fertile plains, sunny clearings and rushing torrents.
Cosenza is a city with noble cultural traditions and a walk through the old town is extremely interesting: artistic life centres around the Rendano Theatre. But the feather in the Region’s cap is certainly Reggio Calabria and its magnificent seafront, with its palms and tall magnolia trees: there is a breathtaking view of the Strait of Messina, especially at night when the lights are sparkling, and you feel that you could reach out and touch the Sicilian coastline. Reggio has many buildings in classical and late Art Nouveau style but the most important part of its history can be found in the treasures of the National Museum, which houses the two wonderful Bronze Statues from the 4th century B.C., discovered in the sea at Riace in 1972. These two splendid warriors, 2 metres high, are exceptional for the wonderful sculptural lines of their bodies and the expressiveness of their faces: you can look at them for hours because they are an expression of Greek art at its height.


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Calabria Region ENTER





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