The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, or Duomo di Reggio, is a magnificent church located in Piazza del Duomo, in Reggio Calabria. SHORT HISTORY The history of the Cathedral of Reggio Calabria is marked by numerous destructions due to wars, fires and earthquakes, and subsequent reconstructions, up to the present church, built after the earthquake of December 28, 1908. The origins of the Cathedral of Reggio can be traced back to the beginning of the second millennium of our era when, after the Norman invasion of southern Italy, Reggio underwent a process of Latinization and progressive abandonment of the Greek-Byzantine cult. In 1061, the Normans of Robert Guiscard arrived in the city, and Guiscard ordered the construction of a new cathedral. In the 14th century, Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, son of Ferdinand of Aragon, built the chapel dedicated to Santa Maria del Popolo, and the Archbishop Guglielmo Logoteta built the chapel of Saint Stephen. In the 15th century, the Archbishop De Ricci built a bell tower adorned with statues. In the 16th century, the Cathedral was destroyed twice by the Turks, in 1574 and in 1594, both times by fire. In 1599, the church was restored by Monsignor D’Afflitto Read more [...]
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, Italy is well known for its rich art and culture, and for its numerous landmarks. With 54 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than any other country in the world, and an estimated 100,000 monuments of any sort (churches, palaces, museums, fountains, sculptures and archaeological remains), Italy is home to about half of the world’s artistic treasures. And if you are looking for inspiration, find below a list of the most famous tourist attractions in Calabria…
The Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola is a beautiful small church standing on the homonymous rock, in Tropea. The church and its rock, once an island, is one of the most iconic images of the Calabrian city. SHORT HISTORY The rock on which the church stands today was probably inhabited around the 7th century by Greek hermit monks. These, isolating themselves from the world, devoted themselves to a contemplative and ascetic life. Built before the 9th century, the church belonged, at first, to the Basilian monks. In the 11th century, after the arrival of the Normans, it was passed on to the Benedictines, who still own it today. As a parenthesis, Tropea, like all of Calabria, was under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Byzantium and, therefore, under the Greek rite, until the arrival of the Normans, in the 11th century, who imposed the latinization of the population. Robert Guiscard, the Norman duke, made the transition from the Greek to the Latin rite around 1060. Around the year 1066, the Church of Santa Maria dell’Isola and some surrounding territories were donated by the Normans to the Abbot of Montecassino, Desiderio, who later became Pope Victor III. Over the centuries, due to Read more [...]
The Church of San Rocco and San Francesco di Paola is a church in Pizzo, located at the northern limit of the historical center of the town. SHORT HISTORY In 1578, the plague hit Pizzo and, to put an end to the epidemic, the local people prayed to Saint Roch. The saint answered their prayers and the city was saved. The following year, to please the saint, the locals decided to build a church in his honor. The adjacent convent was built at the same time for the monks belonging to the Order of Minims, founded by Saint Francis of Paola. At the end of the 18th century, the religious orders were suppressed throughout Italy by Napoleon Bonaparte, including the Order of Minims who resided in the convent. In 1905, another earthquake seriously damaged the church, and the reconstruction works were completed only in 1930. In 2013, the church was dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, painted in pale yellow, is 18 meters high, and is adjacent to a bell tower 23 meters high. The facade is decorated by a polychrome rosette, a tympanum and two niches in which are Read more [...]
Bellamana Beach is a small beach located in Pizzo, a few meters away from the historical center of the town. The beach is about 100 meters long and is situated in a small bay at the foot of the rock on which the Murat Castle magnificently stands. In the evening, the promenade around the beach, along the Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo, becomes a meeting point for young people, thanks to the numerous clubs, cafes and restaurants that populate the area. HOW TO GET THERE The Bellamana Beach is located about 1.3 kilometers away from the Pizzo railway station, or about 20 minutes on foot. To find the beach in no time, use the map below.
Fontana del Commercio (Fountain of Commerce) is a beautiful fountain located in Piazza della Repubblica, the main square of Pizzo Calabro. SHORT HISTORY The project of the fountain was approved on June 16, 1857, by the mayor Emanuele Alcalà, without the possibility of building it in the immediate future, due to lack of funds. The fountain was realized seven years later, in 1864, on a project by the architect Giuseppe Santulli di Monteleone, for an amount of 1029 ducats. For the construction of the fountain was used the granite from the base of an equestrian statue in marble destroyed in 1860. ARCHITECTURE The fountain from Piazza della Repubblica is made of granite, with a shell in the center, containing a stylized dolphin inside. The water comes out of seven nozzles, one placed in the central shell, and the other placed in the mouths of six human and anthropomorphic figures. HOW TO GET THERE Fontana del Commercio is located in Piazza della Repubblica, about 1.4 kilometers away from the Pizzo railway station. To find it on foot, use the map below.
The Chapel of Madonnina del Mare is a chapel built in a small cave in Via San Francesco da Paola, in Scilla. In the chapel, on a marble altar, there is a bronze sculpture of the Virgin and Child. Because is near the entrance to the Port of Scilla, the statue is also known as Madonnina del Porto. SHORT HISTORY The cave in which the altar stands today is the result of the excavations carried out by the German troops during the Second World War, when the soldiers tried to create a shelter against bombing. The Via San Francesco da Paola was built around the middle of the 20th century, and the statue of the Virgin, work of the sculptor Monteleone, was placed in the cave in 1953. During the 1970s, the tunnel that surrounds the rock of Scilla, in which the chapel is found today, was also built. HOW TO GET THERE The Chapel of Madonnina del Mare is located about 750 meters away from the Scilla train station. To find the chapel on foot, use the map below.
Fontana Storica della Sirena is a beautiful fountain located in the Chianalea district, in Scilla, about 100 meters away from the picturesque Port of Scilla. Of modern construction, the fountain is located in Via Grotte, in a small open space between the buildings. The sculpture recalls the myth of the Scylla mermaid, to which Scilla is closely linked. ARCHITECTURE The fountain’s basin is built in brick and stone. The upper part presents a sculpture of a rock made of concrete, which supports an enamelled terracotta statue depicting a mermaid holding a shell in her hands. Behind this composition, another large shell acts as a background. HOW TO GET THERE The fountain is located about 800 meters away from the Scilla railway station. To find the fountain on foot, use the map below.
The Church of the Immaculate Conception (Chiesa dell’Immacolata) is a church in Scilla, located in the immediate vicinity of the Ruffo Castle. SHORT HISTORY Ancient Greek parchments speak about the existence of a church on this place since the early centuries of Christianity, linked more or less to the fortress built nearby around the 5th century. During the Norman domination of the area, the church was dedicated to the Madonna dell’Itria, a title widely used by the Greek churches and imported later to the southern Italy. Following the earthquakes of 1509 and 1599, the church, badly damaged, was rebuilt and enlarged. This new church was dedicated to the Holy Virgin under the title of the Immaculate Conception. During the earthquake of February 5, 1783, the roof and the magnificent dome collapsed. Two days later, the whole central vault fell. The church was rebuilt in brick and stone between 1825 and 1875. In 1894, the church was damaged again, and extensive restorations became necessary. On this occasion, the bell towers were lowered and the brick vault was replaced by a wooden roof. At the beginning of 20th century, the interior of the church was beautifully frescoed, but it was destroyed Read more [...]
The Church of San Rocco is a relatively new church in Scilla, dedicated to Saint Roch, the patron saint of the town, located in the homonymous square, in Piazza San Rocco. SHORT HISTORY The cult of San Rocco was probably born in Scilla in the 15th century, when the area was hit by a plague and the saint was credited for saving the locals. Around that time, Scilla had important commercial relations with Venice, where the relics of San Rocco were held. In the 16th century, one of the saint’s statues was transported from Venice to Scilla, and San Rocco became the patron saint of the town. The Church of San Rocco was built in 1738, on the site of a former church dedicated to St. George. The church was heavily hit by the earthquakes of 1783 and 1908, being rebuilt each time. The today’s church is the result of a rebuilding started in the 1970s and completed in August 1990. The rebuilding was made with the help of the local people, and it became necessary after the damage suffered by the building during the Second World War. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The facade of the church, with two Read more [...]
The Church of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo is a 18th-century church located in a small square in the center of the Chianalea district, in Scilla. SHORT HISTORY The church was built in 1700 by the Brotherhood of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo, in the beautiful Chianalea district. The church was damaged by the cataclysms of 1783 and 1908, but it was not completely destroyed. Each time, it was rebuilt at the expense of the inhabitants of the neighborhood. ART AND ARCHITECTURE The church, with a rectangular plan and a single nave, is a beautiful example of the 18th-century architecture, for its harmonious and delicate style, both on the outside and inside. The facade, of a dirty white color, has four pilasters with a very high base, surmounted by a triangular body with a cross at the top. In the center of the frontispiece, there is a circular tondo representing Maria Santissima di Porto Salvo. Between the external and internal pilasters, there are two cornices with a rectangular shape and concave corners, while between the two central pilasters is the wooden portal from the 18th-century, divided into six squares surrounded by frames. Inside, there were five altars, all Read more [...]
Fontana Garibaldi is an old fountain in Pizzo, known before 1866 as Fontanavecchia (Old Fountain), about which the locals say it has medicinal water which can cure certain diseases. SHORT HISTORY In 1735, Ilario Tranquillo, the author of a book on the ancient Napizia (today’s Pizzo), was talking about the presence of about 80 water springs scattered throughout the territory of the town, fifty to the east and another thirty to the west, from the mountain to the sea, but also, above all, about the existence of two springs with medicinal waters. One of these two fountains is the so-called Fontanavecchia, which since 1866, when it was restored and embellished with a gray granite facade, changed its name to Fontana Garibaldi. It is certain that the Fontanavecchia existed before 1571, the year in which the historian Gabriele Barrio published the first edition of his monumental work Antiquities and places of Calabria, in which he wrote about the fountain. The water that flows from the Fontana Garibaldi is the color of iron, something that can easily be noticed in a glass or other transparent container. Even its taste is ferrous, so probably unpleasant for some people, it is drinkable and Read more [...]
The central Piazza della Repubblica in Pizzo overlooks the beautiful Tyrrhenian Sea that bathes the town, flanked by the imposing and beautiful structure of the 15th century Castello Murat. From the middle of the square, turned towards the sea, we can see on the right the statue of Umberto I, the King of Italy from 9 January 1878 until his assassination on 29 July 1900, to whom the square was previously dedicated. The sculpture was made at the beginning of the 20th century by the sculptor Francesco Gerace, while the granitic pedestal was made by Pietro Marmorato. On the left of the square, we find the Fontana del Commercio, built in 1864, made from the granite of a statue which was destroyed in 1860. Piazza della Repubblica is the main meeting point for residents and tourists. Here, you can find numerous places that allow you to taste some of the delicious local gastronomic products accompanied by the view of the splendid panorama. In particular, Pizzo is famous for its ice cream called tartufo, a ball of ice cream with a heart of dark chocolate, covered with bitter cocoa powder. HOW TO GET THERE Piazza della Repubblica is located in Read more [...]
Castello Murat (Murat Castle) is an ancient fort built in the 15th century in Pizzo. The castle is named after Joachim Murat, King of Naples and brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was imprisoned here and sentenced to death by shooting in 1815. SHORT HISTORY The castle was built in two different historical periods. The Mastia Tower (Torre Mastia), the largest tower of the castle, part of the defensive system implemented by the Angevins, dates back to the end of the 14th century. The tower was built for defense against the Saracen raids. About 100 years later, the castle was completed by Ferdinand I of Aragon, for the same purpose – to reject the Saracen attacks. The castle in Pizzo is one of many fortifications built under the Aragonese rule, in towns like Crotone, Cariati, Corigliano, Belvedere and Reggio Calabria. To the already existing Angevin tower, it was added a massive rectangular body, equipped with a tapered tower and a watchtower overlooking the Marina. The works lasted from 1481 to 1485. In 1505, it was ceded by Ferdinand the Catholic to the De Mendoza and later, by succession, to the De Silva, Dukes of the Infantado, who kept it until Read more [...]
Lungomare Falcomatà, built along the seafront of Reggio Calabria, is the most famous street of the city and one of the most famous in Italy. Lungomare is dedicated to the mayor Italo Falcomatà, protagonist and inspirer of the Primavera di Reggio (Spring of Reggio), the rebirth of the city from the 1990s. The waterfront of Reggio is about 1.7 kilometers long, from Piazza Indipendenza to Piazza Garibaldi, consisting of four segments: Falcomatà, Matteotti, Corso Vittorio Emanuele III and Viale Genoese Zerbi. The entire area is generally identified as Via Marina. The seafront of the city is rich in palm trees and varied plant species. The avenue is adorned with buildings dating back to the last reconstruction of the city, after the 1908 earthquake. The street is also enriched by elements that indirectly trace the history of the city, such as numerous commemorative monuments, a monumental fountain and some archaeological sites testifying about the Greek-Roman era. Between the sea and the promenade stands the Arena dello Stretto (Arena of the Strait), a typically Greek-style theater that hosts cultural events especially during the summer months. On the pier of Porto Salvo, in front of the arena, stands the monument of Vittorio Emanuele Read more [...]
The Aragonese Castle is an ancient fortification located in the homonymous Piazza Castello, in Reggio Calabria. Together with the Riace Bronzes, it is considered one of the main historical symbols of the city. SHORT HISTORY Under Emperor Justinian I, during the war between the Goths and the Byzantines, Belisarius entered Reggio to free it from the barbarians and found the city devoid of fortifications, so the general immediately ordered the restoration of the city walls. As a consequence, a castle was built around the 6th century. In 1059, the fortress passed from the Byzantines to the Normans, and in 1266 to Charles I of Anjou. Since the Normans, who established the court there, the castle was modified and enlarged several times. A substantial part of the work took place during the reign of Frederick II of Swabia, when the imperial authority built a state defense system for the Kingdom of Sicily. The Swabian part of the castle, a building with a square plan, with four corner towers, also of square shape, remained standing until after the earthquake of 1908. The castle was restored in 1327, after the repeated wars between the Angevins and the Aragonese, then fortified in 1381 Read more [...]
The Port of Tropea is probably the most searched spot for yachts sailing along the Coast of the Gods. The port has an outer breakwater 500 meters long and an inner breakwater of 210 meters. On the inner breakwater, there are 3 piers, while the outer breakwater has 6 floating docks. The port features about 450 boat moorings, capable of accommodating boats of up to 45 meters, with sea beds from 3 to 5 meters. Of the many facilities the port offers, we can mention electricity, water and fuel, free WI-FI coverage, toilets, showers, a laundry room and some car parking spaces. A shop selling nautical supplies is also located within the port. The area is equipped with surveillance cameras. HOW TO GET THERE You can find the Port of Tropea to the east of the town, separated from the Rotonda Beach by the rock of San Leonardo. You can reach the harbor either coming from the west, on Via Lungomare, or from the south, on Contrada Marina Vescovado.
Tropea is well known for its beautiful beaches and one of the best beaches in the city is, without a doubt, the Rotonda Beach, or Spiaggia della Rotonda, located near the Port of Tropea. With a great view on the rock of Santa Maria dell’Isola, the Rotonda Beach is bounded on the East by the rock of San Leonardo, and on the West by another small beach, Spiaggia Mare Piccolo (Little Sea). Above, in the back, is the old town of Tropea, watching from its height over the people on the sand. HOW TO GET THERE The Rotonda Beach is about 500 meters from the historical center of the city and about 250 meters from the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola. To find it easily, you can use the map below.
The history of the Port of Scilla is closely linked to that of its city, whose ancient origins are a blend of mythology, history, legend and images created by the enchanting surrounding landscape. Fishermen of the past chose the area next to the cliff of Scilla, where the presence of the numerous rocks facilitated the practice of fishing, while allowing the construction of the rudimentary huts. Over the centuries, this port has been a refuge for boats that crossed the Messina Strait, later becoming a fishing port, since fishing was the main activity for the local population. Even today, at the quay, are often anchored special boats for fishing swordfish, a type of fish very common in the area. The Port of Scilla consists of a pier with an “L” shape, equipped in the inner part with quays and bollards for mooring. The Ruffo di Calabria quay is used for pleasure boating, the Scoglio di Ulisse quay is dedicated to fishing boats, while the outer dock is assigned for commercial use and for anchoring police vehicles. The recreational services are managed by the Boat Service, which has positioned near the port 2 ecological camps with 100 berths, active from May Read more [...]
The Mermaid Beach, or Spiaggia delle Sirene, is a 800 meters long beach in Scilla, set between the Ruffo Castle in the East and the rocky Punta Pacì in the West. The Scilla Beach is a wonderful beach of coarse sand, bathed by the beautiful crystalline and clear water of the Tyrrhenian Sea, with an extraordinary transparency thanks to the gravelly bottom. The sea conceals tremendous natural treasures, the water being rich in various fish species, algae and molluscs, ideal for snorkeling. Perfect for families with children, the beach is well equipped, offering kiosks, bars and numerous restaurants overlooking the sea, as well as the possibility to rent several apartments and holiday homes nearby. HOW TO GET THERE The beach is easily reachable from the Scilla Train Station, the station being only 50 meters away.
The Ruffo Castle, known in Italian as Castello Ruffo di Scilla or Castello Ruffo di Calabria, is an ancient fortification built on the promontory of Scilla, on the southern shore of the Messina Strait, being one of the most characteristic elements of the Calabrian landscape. SHORT HISTORY The first fortification built on the rock of Scilla dates back to the beginning of the 5th century B.C.. During the tyranny of Anaxilas, the city of Reggio assumed a considerable importance, and in 493 B.C., to put an end to the raids of the Tyrrhenian pirates who had a secure base in Scilla, defeated them and started the building of the fortress. The fortress will become for Anaxilas an important outpost for controlling the sea routes. The fortification was under the rule of the tyrants of Reggio, often engaged in clashes with the pirates, until 390 B.C., when Dionysius, the tyrant of Syracuse, conquered the fortress after a long siege. Fifty years have passed from that moment, until the regaining of the independence of Scilla, favored by Timoleonte di Corinto, who destroyed the tyrannical power of Syracuse in the year 340 B.C.. In 1060, during the siege of Reggio by the Read more [...]