Travel Tip Tuesday: 15 Reasons to Visit Catanzaro Italy

It’s human nature to take things we love for granted, and although none of us like to admit we do that with people, it is safe to say, at least some of us, have taken our “hometowns” for granted.

When Robin approached me with this idea as a potential Travel Tip Tuesday topic, I felt somewhat hesitant. Where IS my hometown? Do you all want to know the 15 best things about Kountze, Texas? What about Beaumont … cause, baby I got the goods. But then I decided to let you European-lovin’, Italian-seekin’, ‘tell-us-more-about-Catanzaro-pheenin’ folks about my new town. Catanzaro, Italy.

Here’s a quick rundown of the Top 15 Reasons You Should Visit Catanzaro Italy

15. Melanzane – It wasn’t one of my favorites before I moved, but now I wonder how I lived (30something years) without it. Eggplant is everywhere in Catanzaro and throughout most parts of Calabria. We eat it grilled, fried, stuffed, with pasta, with rice … (I’m feeling a little Forest Gump here with this explanation, but I think you get the picture.) There is even a festival in August celebrating the delicious plumpness of this fresh find. Plus, it is a great color!

14. Tropea Onions– I know, I know … Catanzaro and Tropea are two different cities, two hours apart. I get that. However, Pep says it counts as a reason to visit Catanzaro because 1) Tropea used to belong to the province of Catanzaro, which makes us home to their not-quite national treasure; 2) These sweetly ripe masters of the universe are almost too good to be considered an onion and are still widely available in Catanzaro; and 3) Young Catanzaresi (like his father) used to trade American soldiers Tropea onions for cigarettes during the war. If he says it counts, I’ll count it!

13. N’duja Sausage I am seeing a pattern here. This almost spreadable come-on-baby-light-my-firesausage is made in Calabria and features various pork pieces and super-spicy red pepper … are you willing to try it?

12. Copanello Lido – The area around Catanzaro is chock-full of beautiful beaches, sandy coastlines and warm Ionian waters that range from a deep cobalt to turquoise to crystal blue. Copanello is just one of the many beach options located within 10 miles of Catanzaro.

11. Guglielmo Caffe’– The deeply rich aroma fills the air between Catanzaro and Soverato where the internationally acclaimed Guglielmo Caffe is created. Located on the beach, Guglielmo offers seasonal tours and has a restaurant and I’m not normally one to promote competition, a hotel.

10. – Parco della Biodiversita’ – Take a picnic, play soccer, people watch … all of which can be done at this intimate park nestled in the heart of Catanzaro which is a must see when visiting the area.

9. Caminia Lido– Caminia is another one of those creamy sand beaches that dots the Ionian coastline. Wedged against a mountain cliff, Caminia offers amazing swimming and snorkeling and is just an all-out great time. And what about that view??

8. Roccelletta di BorgiaRoman ruins, a national park, 3,000 olive trees… what more could you want? Add this to the fact that Roccelletta has a forest-filled beach and a new, if not slightly disturbing, display and you’ve got yourself a day-trip!

7. Catanzaro Lido– While not the most intimate beach of the group I’ve listed, Catanzaro Lido offers more diversity, more shopping, an open-air market, restaurants, bars and gelatarias, and it is only a 1.5 mile drive from home. Catanzaro Lido also boasts a lungomare with amazing views of the mountains and Ionian Sea, where locals and tourists enjoy their nightly passeggiata.

6. Friendly people – As with most of southern Italy, the people are warm, generous and helpful. I would list them as #1 on the list … but that would be a bit cheesy, don’t ya think?

5. Downtown Catanzaro – Often overlooked by tourists and day-trippers, downtown Catanzaro is a quaint, elegant European city. There is great shopping, majestic churches, a new theater and a funiculare cable car to get you there.

4. Peperoncini – If you like it HOT, HOT, HOT then I don’t even need to explain this choice. Even more widely used than melanzane, this red pepper IS found everywhere – in fish and meat dishes, in pasta and risotto, in bread and cheese, even in desserts and liquor. Diamante, located two hours from Catanzaro holds a Peperonicini Festival every September. Oh yea, I’m hitting that this year!

3. Climate– While not the tropical climate many people claim, Catanzaro does boast a mild climate. Summers are hot and winters are cold … but remember, everything is relative!

2. Pietragrande– Arguably one of the most stunning beaches in Calabria, Pietragrande is only a 15 minute drive from Catanzaro and boasts turquoise waters and white frothy waves. The namesake rock stands proudly in the center where risk-takers boldly jump, or dive into the warm waters below.

1. La Sila – One of Italy’s most welcoming mountain ranges, La Sila is part of the Parco Nazionale di Calabria and sits between Catanzaro and Cosenza. Maybe the pine tree-filled forests remind me of Texas, maybe it is the homegrown porcini mushrooms or maybe the contrast between the Texas plains and these rocky mountains mystify me. Whatever the reason, La Sila is #1 on my list of reasons to visit Catanzaro.

Which of the above reasons would entice you to visit Catanzaro? If anyone is interested, I know of a great little B&B in the area!

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!

16 Responses
  1. joanne at frutto della passione

    All very tempting and I know a couple of Canadians up here in Milan that are very curious about that part of Calabria!

  2. Maria from Philly

    I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Catanzaro a couple times on my trips to Italy and have to say my husband and I loved the city. we had a fabulous dinner, had great gelato and great coffee. We’ve also had the pleasure of going to Pietre Grande and Catanzaro Lido and we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Pietre Grande!!!! WE had an AMAZING lunch at the restaurant perched up on the beach. The water is unexplainable!!!

  3. I *wish* I could have some of that coffee now, Michelle. TX is beautiful … I am glad to be home.

    Oh, Joanne … I know a couple of Canadians in Milan who NEED to visit!

    Isn’t that funny, Running? I made the list with Peppe and he agreed on all parts (ESP the food!)

    Thanks, Robin. I am heading over to your place now!

    Thank you, NYc … so are you!

    Great, Maria. Glad youi liked it.

    See you soon, Carla!

  4. j

    I stayed at the Hotel Guglielmo. I thought it appropriate because my grandfather left there and came to Cleveland because he could not make enough money there to support his family. But it makes me happy to know that is where my antecedents are from.

  5. I might have to stop reading Italian blogs, can;t make my mind up which area to go to next :-)Your photos are great. Fantastic post.

  6. Harley in Milwaukee WI

    Cherrye – I love your site and this post is fantastic. A year ago today I was in Naples/Capri on my way from a cruise of Firenze, Roma, Assisi and on to Palermo. I would love to visit this area sometime and I really appreciate all your great posts. I’ll be thinking of this great post when I go to my favorite Sicilian restaurant tonight here in Milwaukee. I can taste the melanzane already.

  7. Good deal, Louise!! I cant wait!

    I thought you would like this, J. How is Paris?

    I hear you, Anne! Thanks.

    Harley – Thank you so much, that is so nice to say. I hope you enjoyed your melanzane. I had a great dish when I was in Palermo a few months ago!

  8. Hi Cherrye! Hope your summer is going well. Caminia almost made it on my beach list but I had to refrain from listing more than 1 Calabrian beach… didn’t want to seem biased. I’m with you on the Guglielmo! my favorite! I also love the fact that it’s not too touristy in Calabria… lets keep it a secret exept for il Cedro…. EVERYONE should stay there!

  9. I think the beaches, the food and the Roman ruins would all do it for me! I’m checking prices right now! Hopefully we’ll see you in a few months!
    Wonderful. Come on over!

Leave a Reply