When we talk about Calabria, our thoughts immediately turn to the splendid panoramas, the miles of jagged coastline and a sea of the most varied colours, which brings back the happiness of carefree days spent on holiday. And yet the tip of the Boot is not only this, but also thousand-year-old history told by the many villages that animate the region and that seem to bring back to a past full of splendor.
Legendary villages immersed in the sea, perched on the hills or situated in the middle of lively towns.
A land to visit and get to know step by step, that's why below we report an itinerary made up of the 5 most fascinating villages of the region, places where you can get lost among the natural beauty and fascinating traditions.
Gerace: open-air Middle Ages
The first time you visit Gerace is like taking a dip in the Middle Ages, thanks to the Aspromonte National Park and the panorama offered by the Locride, Gerace remains one of the most fascinating and mysterious places of this land.
Although there is evidence of much older settlements, we know for sure that the first village was formed in the 7th century AD, due to pirate attacks that forced entire villages located on the coast to take refuge in the safer hills. For this reason Gerace has over the years become a strategic point of control and attack by enemy peoples.
Walking through the village, you can visit numerous monuments including the Co-cathedral, an imposing Romanesque building, with some incursions of other styles that was consecrated in 1045. Don't miss the church of San Francesco, recognized as one of the most important in the south, and the Norman Castle.
Chianalea: one of the oldest bays in Italy
If you love small bays, freshly caught fish and ancient castles with perdivista views that relax your eyes and excite your soul, you should visit Chianalea, the oldest village of Scilla. The houses of this village were built on the cliffs and are divided by small streets that lead directly to the Tyrrhenian Sea, recalling the Venetian canals. A real Italian jewel, declared one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, also thanks to the famous Palazzo Scategna, made of squared stone and arranged on three floors, each with wonderful views of the bay.
But Chianalea is not only sea, the fishing village still active and operating can be defined as the beating heart of the town. In these small streets it is not difficult to find excellent locales that prepare street food based on swordfish in tasty sandwiches, stuffed with local raw material of the highest quality.
Tropea: unforgettable sea
Going north along the region, we reach Tropea, a centre known above all for the beauty of the green sea and the famous onions. Considered by many one of the most beautiful places in Calabria, it certainly deserves a visit and not only for the beaches, considering the legends surrounding its foundation. Tropea, in fact, is full of monuments to visit, starting from the sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola at the Sedile dei Nobili to the majestic cathedral dedicated to Maria Santissima of Romania. But not only that, the village is full of legends that are worth listening to and reliving in the company of some bruschetta alla nduja and a good glass of local red wine.
Caccuri: the slow pace of the mountain
Arriving in Crotone, near the Sila National Park, stands the village of Caccuri, of medieval origins and with a romantic atmosphere perfect for a relaxing getaway of love. The whole village is concentrated around the Castle, where political and social life used to take place in the past; in fact, the numerous narrow streets intertwine and branch off to reunite at the top of this wonderful monument about 650 meters high and its imposing Mastrigli Tower. Visiting Caccuri means getting away from the vortex of everyday life, taking a break from the stress and the hectic pace of the city to get back in touch with nature.
Camigliatello: for hiking lovers
Not far from Caccuri and within the municipality of Spezzano della Sila, there is Camigliatello Silano. Perfect for mountain lovers, it is an ideal place to enjoy a bit of coolness even in summer or to find snow in winter, where you can have fun on the ski slopes. Rich in vegetation, immersed in a thick conifer forest, it is a charming place to spend a pleasant day at the lake. In Camigliatello, in fact, there is the Cecita Lake, a fascinating lake that completes in a masterful way the wonderful mountain landscape, where you can organize several excursions among the many paths that surround the village.