Five Great Things to See in Calabria

Did you know Calabria was the 10th largest region in the Bel Paese? Well it is. With more square kilometers than world-famous Liguria or Campania and just slightly smaller than Rome’s Lazio, Bella Calabria has a lot to offer.

So how can I possibly narrow it down to five?

Well, I can’t.

But I’m gonna try.

Calabria is divided into five provinces-Catanzaro, Cosenza, Reggio di Calabria, Crotone and Vibo Valentia and each of these provinces has a jewel … something special that makes that province unique.

So here we go.

Catanzaro


My home province is famous, not only for giving birth to the Paparazzi, but for the Archaeological Park at Roccelletta di Borgia. Located just 10 minutes from my home (and Il Cedro Bed and Breakfast) the ruins at Roccelletta are set in an ancient olive plantation and feature a Greek theater, a Roman square, an amphitheater and other ancient buildings from the last century.

Cosenza

The Province of Cosenza tops my list with fun things to do and see in Calabria but none are as impressive as the Grotta del Romito. Located about 13 kilometers from Papasidero, evidence of the earliest Calabrians, with skeletons dating back 10,000 years, was discovered along with the 12,000 year old “Bos Primigenius” Paleolithic drawing of a bull on a cliff.

Reggio Calabria

The famous Bronzes of Riace statues date back to 5th century BC and are thought to have been buried in the Ionion Sea for more than 2,000 years. Discovered in 1972, they are the main attraction at the Museo Nazionale in Reggio Calabria and are considered to be the most important Greek sculptures in the world.

Crotone

Grappolo d'uva Gaglioppo in Calabria
photo credit: VinoFamily

Located in the hills along the Ionian Coast between Crotone and Sibari, Cirò is home to Calabria’s most famous vineyard. According to local legend, Calabrian athletes drank Cirò wine to celebrate success during the early Olympic games. Today Cirò wine is considered to be one of the most “Greek” Italian wines in the country.

Vibo Valentia

Not quite as famous as neighboring Tropea, Pizzo Calabro is a pint-sized Medieval village with a Baroque church, Aragonese castle-where Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother-in-law was imprisoned-and arguably the best block of gelato in Italy. Pizzo is a must for its quintessential Calabrian life, dramatic views of the St. Eufemia Gulf and its famous hazelnut and chocolate cocoa-covered tartufo ice cream.

Have you been to Calabria? What other must-sees do you think should make the list?

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Comments

  1. You posted a great list of places to go and things to see. We’ve been to a few of them. Those Riace bronzes are stunning. I want to go back and see all the other things you listed. Having a lunch of swordfish on a terrace overlooking the sea and the castle in Scilla is also a nice way to spend a few hours in Calabria.
     
    Sounds fabulous. It is on my list!
     
    Ciaochowlinda’s last blog post..Pear Apple Crostata

  2. Cherrye,
    thanks for mentioning the lovely Ciro’wine.As you know, my family has a small, boutique winery there. As hard as I try, the only brand I can find here in the states is Librandi, the largest producer of Ciro’DOC. Small producers cannot meet the volume demanded by the American importers. Che peccato!!
     
    Which wine is it? I’ll have to try it.
     

  3. Cherrye – What do you know about Diamante? Marco’s parents have a condo there, yet we’ve never been! Instead of sunny Calabria, we keep going to rainy Turin. What is wrong with that picture?!!! : )
     
    Diamante is amazing. I seriously gasped the first time I saw it. Get down here, woman!
     
    Kim B.’s last blog post..And then, Martha Graham

  4. i bronzi di Riace are certainly spectacular! but speaking of Pizzo Calabro (awesome town by the way) have you seen Chiesa di Piedigrotta? It’s amazing and a must see! It will be one of my upcoming posts. Great post Cherrye…. you Calabrese you!
     
    I can’t wait to read about it on your site, Joe. I haven’t seen it. There really *is* just so much to see here, isn’t there?
     
    joe@italyville’s last blog post..Sopressata

  5. Seconding Joe on the Chiesetta in Pizzo…*so* cool. I also love the monastery grounds in Serra San Bruno…and I know you also love Le Castella…and Gerace is *amazingly* cute…and and…I think you’re just going to have to do more posts on this 😉
     
    Absolutely, I am. It was hard to choose just five!!
     
    Noi ci mettiamo il cuore!

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  6. I enjoyed visiting the ancient town of Gerace, in Reggio Calabria. It has been called “the Florence of the south” for its art and architecture or the “city of saints” for its religious buildings. Gerace’s Norman Cathedral is the largest religious building in Calabria.

    My husband’s home town is Gioisa Ionica in Reggio Calabria, so of course I’d alos have to include it in my list.
     
    See … I haven’t been to Gerace yet. But it is HIGH on my list! Thanks for the tip.
     
    Pat’s last blog post..Brooklyn Neighborhood Tour – Part 1

  7. What do you know about Alesandria del Caretto?? I know it’s a small village in Calabria, that my grandparens came from. Is it worth visiting?
     
    Hey Diane. I’m not familiar with the village, but I *know* Calabria is worth visiting and I’d think any place where your grandparents were born would be fun for you to see!
     

  8. Love the website. Going to Italy for the 1st time in Sep 2015. Will be in Rome, Naples then Would like to visit where my grandparent came from Sambiase, which is now Lamezia Terme. Is there a bus or train that will go down there?

  9. Great post Cherrye! I am researching for a summer trip down in your area of Italy and I really want to check out those bronze statues, I can’t believe they were buried in the sea for that long and have remained so incredible intact, awesome!

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