At the southern end of our peninsula, with over 780 km of coastline, there is a unique palette of colours and nature all over the world. It is Calabria, an almost perfect synthesis of the whole Italian panorama, in a tour of colours, flavours, traditions and beautiful landscapes. Calabria, land of love, set to the east by the Ionian Sea and to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea. This region offers panoramas of extraordinary beauty. Crystalline seas, steep mountains, forests, cliffs, river gorges, cliffs that plunge into the wild and limpid coasts.
Amongst the most evocative coastal stretches, we recall the Riviera dei Cedri. Here, limestone rocks, affected by karst phenomena, give rise to sea caves with bright colours, such as the Grotta azzurra and the Leone dell’isola di Dino. At Acquappesa stands the majestic Scoglio della regina, almost a cliff, the subject of many legends. From Tropea to Pizzo Calabro, from Bagnara to Capo Rizzuto, one passes from the long, warm beaches of Nicotera alle to the granite cliffs of Capo Vaticano. From the fine sands to the multi-coloured pebbles.
In the Calabrian hinterland there are three natural parks. The Park of Pollino, Aspromonte, della Sila. It is in the Sila nature reserve that we can see the Giants of Fallistro. These are large, ultracentenarian larches pines. A succession of mountains and majestic forests, hills, lakes and pine forests, valleys and spectacular waterfalls, steep slopes and ridges. You can find some real monuments sculpted by the wind. As Pentedattilo, which recalls a cyclope’s hand that emerges from the ground. This is defined as one of the strangest of mankind’s dwellings. Amazement and wonder grasp the viewer in seeing Chianalea, an ancient village of the fishermen of Scilla. Here the houses rise directly on the rocks and the Ruffo Castle dominates the Strait of Messina.
Myths and legends
History and culture are rooted in prehistoric times. A testimony to this is the cave of Romito. It is one of the oldest sites in Europe. And it is precisely the National Museum of Reggio Calabria that hosts the spectacular Riace bronzes, dating back to the 5th century BC. Myths and legends encompass the Calabrian past, like what sees Aschenez, great-grandson of Noah. This merchant, inventor of the rowing boat arrived three generations after the universal deluge on the banks where Reggio was founded. And how to forget the mythological figure of the siren Ligea who jumped into the sea from a cliff following the passage of a ship left unscathed by its bewitching song. The waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea would have rejected the body of Ligea on the Tyrrhenian shore of Calabria, near Terina.
Churches and art
Numerous sacred places, churches, monasteries scattered throughout the territory. Like in Serra San Bruno, where Bruno da Colonia founded the Certosa, the first monastery in Italy. Or the charming and very particular little church of Piedigrotta in Pizzo. Entirely excavated in the tufaceous rocks, the Church of Piedigrotta is unique in its kind and a marvellous gem for the whole region. With its sacred altar, groups of statues, capitals with angels, bas-reliefs with sacred scenes, frescoes on the vault of the central nave and on that of the main altar, all made from the same tuff.
Food in Calabria
In Calabria there is also an ancient and solid tradition of food and wine. It skilfully mixes intense and genuine flavours of peasant origin, scents of land and sea, sweet and spicy, which create a symphony of aromas and spices unique throughout the world. How not to mention then some of the most famous products of the tip of the boot, such as bergamotto of Reggio Calabria, capocollo, clementine, the highly prized liquorice, the Tartufo ice cream of Pizzo, the red onion of Tropea and the world famous ‘Nduja. All with DOP and IGP mark.