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Calabria of the villages, cribs and fairy tale places

Monday 16 october 2023

The small villages of Calabria represent a great wealth for the region. Beauty, culture and identity are combined in them, in fact, perfectly, despite the serious and numerous "wounds" that over time earthquakes and the many other natural disasters have inflicted them.

Calabria of the villages, cribs and fairy tale places

The Calabrian villages as unique places, "intertwined" to the "people" who live there and animate them, but also as "places" of experimentation for new forms of hospitality, entertainment and sociality, destined to a tourist demand now very far from the patterns of mass tourism.

The Villages of Calabria, also and however, as an extraordinary opportunity for growth for the territory and for the wellbeing of the local populations, on which, the Calabria Region has decided to invest well over 100 million euros of the Fund Development and Cohesion (FSC) for their promotion and the promotion of tourism and culture.

Consistently with the existing state of the art, it is still necessary to better understand what is meant in Calabria by "borgo", where the smaller historical centers constitute an important part of the Calabrian settlements, both as regards the territorial extension and the value of heritage. These, in fact, should not be thought of as "villages" in the strict and traditional sense, but as "territories" (including vast ones) that see the presence of settlements (albeit organized by nucleus) of important environmental and landscape resources.


Moreover, the Villages of Calabria, among natural parks, areas of naturalistic interest, archaeological areas, castles, towers, monuments, linguistic minorities, culture, identity and traditions, food and wine species, constitute a vast invariant capital to work on, especially purposes of valorisation and qualification (certified) of the regional tourism offer.

As part of the "Strategic Project for the Development of the Villages of Calabria and the Strengthening of the Tourist and Cultural Offer", among the various "objectives", a significant role is therefore assigned to the "... improvement of the context conditions of the" villages " , according to an approach based on the widespread quality and on the coherent environmental, economic and social sustainability, also in order to allow their recognition...", or the certified denomination. This in order to characterize the difference compared to the wide and well-structured range of the existing offer, both nationally and internationally, where the "certification" of a "village" is a very complex programming process that impacts on the aspects structural and social, such as the recovery of real estate, historical-architectural and urban, accessibility, the formation of new professions, the qualification of the offer, the construction of innovative infrastructure to support the promotion and enhancement of tourism and culture, but also and above all, on the aspects of organization and development of an "experiential" tourism offer.


Moreover, the competitive arena of the international tourism market is currently characterized by a demand with ever more complex needs which, necessarily, must lead to rethinking the interventions and types implemented up to now, both structural and promotional. In the case of the "villages", these must be useful to increase the attractiveness and the peculiar tourist potential, redeveloping them, interpreting them and proposing them to the market as a "new regional tourism product", through an innovative methodological approach, such as the "thematic networks". The only ones, among the existing tools, capable of activating integrated and coordinated actions of ad hoc promotion and communication. Ideal, therefore, for the dynamic use and promotion of the "Borgo", its goods, places and destinations.
This design logic is in fact the only one to favor the development of "integrated projects" (and promotional), which stimulate local projects and generate the growth of "complementary elements" and synergistic to the basic tourist offer. And it is precisely in this direction that the Public Notice issued by the Calabria Region goes, for the "Support of Projects of Enhancement of the Regional Villages".

 Santa Severina

Among the possible Calabrian "thematic networks" of regional importance, to be considered as a model of economic growth, capable of intercepting national and international tourist flows, the following can surely be first identified:

  • Thematic Network: Historical - cultural - identity;
  • Thematic Network: Naturalistic - environmental;
  • Thematic Network: Enogastronomy and typical productions;
  • Thematic Network: Religious, walkways and sacred routes;
  • Thematic Network: Artisan, folklore and traditions.

Calabria, after all, is also a "borghigiana" region, made up of small but dense local identities, where there is always a treasure to be discovered, a view to admire, a food or a wine to taste. The quality of life of a territory is measured especially so, as, however, have understood all those foreigners who for years, taking advantage of the collapse of the Italian real estate market, are buying up houses, just in many Italian villages, while, we - erroneously - we do everything to "cancel" even legally, the identity of our villages, merging them with other municipalities, for example, as if they were useless places.


In the villages, however, there is and must be life, but even more, new opportunities for economic growth and work. To this end, Calabria, on the tip of the "boot", between its two seas, Jonio and Tirreno, always offers a unique and fascinating journey that from ancient, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Aragonese history, leads to today's Calabria, through millennia of history, art, culture and tradition. An extraordinary tourist "tour", with an authentic mark, that from the coast to the mountains, set in "fairy-tale landscapes" and "cribs", offers visitors the image of its villages, among which the splendid ones, like Altomonte, Bova, Buonvicino, Civita, Gerace, Oriolo, Rocca Imperiale, Scilla, San Giorgio Morgeto, Santa Severina, Stilo, Badolato e Tropea, some of which, already "certified" even among the "most beautiful villages in Italy".

Main photo, Santa Severina, e-borghi

By Grazia Gioè
Ricercatore Senior - Dipartimento Turismo e Beni Culturali – Regione Calabria.

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