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Known as southern Venice, the village of Chianalea is an uncontaminated area of Calabria of about 350 inhabitants. Characterized by the typical houses on the rocks, this village is one of the most enchanting places in the well-known tourist resort of Scilla.
  • Sea village
  • Village with castle
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Chianalea  | Andrei Molchan
Andrei Molchan
Chianalea  | DaSqui Photography
DaSqui Photography
Chianalea  | leoks
Chianalea  | mRGB
Chianalea  | Natalia Macheda
Natalia Macheda
Chianalea  | OleOleg
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Borgo di Chianalea is one of the most beautiful villages in Italy in the municipality of Scilla in Calabria. It is fascinating to walk through the narrow alleys that end at the sea.  | Desiree LoBartolo - e-borghi Community
Borgo di Chianalea is one of the most beautiful...
Desiree LoBartolo - e-borghi Community
Chianalea, 1 * step of my tour
Chianalea, 1 * step of my tour "The most beauti...
Francesca Franzese - e-borghi Community
The boats of the fishermen of Chianalea  | Ida Cerisano - e-borghi Community
The boats of the fishermen of Chianalea
Ida Cerisano - e-borghi Community

About the village

Chianalea is a small fishing village that preserves the most authentic tradition of the Calabria region among its characteristic lanes. Considered one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, the country overlooks the turquoise waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Its name derives from the plan of the galley or Canalea in reference to the small and narrow streets that separate the houses built sheer above the cliff. Moreover, these alleys descend vertically towards the sea and, for this reason, remind us of the canals. Hence the name Chianalea.

Legend has it that the first nucleus of the town was founded by some Trojans during 456 AD. The small settlement underwent a terrible invasion by the Vandals, during the VIII-IX century, who razed it to the ground. Subsequently during the Byzantine domination Chianalea saw a period of great splendor and its territory was inhabited by the Basilian Fathers (Italian-Greek monks).
Again in the period between the ninth century and the eleventh century, this terrace overlooking the sea was touched by the invasions of the Saracens who destroyed it. It was then the Normans who settled on the territory during 1060 definitively removing the Byzantine people. The XI-XIV century was a moment of rebirth for Scilla who, under the domination of the Swabians, undertook fruitful trade with the eastern populations and with the populations of the Adriatic. Once the control of the Swabian dynasty ended, the Aragonese and the Angevins followed one another.
In 1523, the count and captain of arms in Reggio Calabria of Sinopoli Paolo Ruffo, prevented Barbarossa from attacking the coasts of Chianalea avoiding their destruction. Subsequently, in 1720 the Austrians fortified the Castle of Scilla with the aim of defending the territory from the Spaniards. However, the latter took possession of the Two Sicilies a few years later, during 1734. The earthquake that hit the town during 1783. This event brought the village back into despair which ended with the intervention of the Bourbons in 1827. However, according to scholars, the first settlement must be traced back to the Ligurian and Iberian populations who, due to their dedication to fishing, decided to move to southern Italy in search of a place in which to increase their business.

Despite being a small and ancient village overlooking the sea, Chianalea is full of points of historical and cultural interest.
The Castle of Ruffo undoubtedly represents one of the main stages of the visit to Scilla. Located on the top of a rock, it was built in 1532 for military purposes. Its imposing structure stands out on the strait, characterizing its profile. Not only that, inside is kept the Lighthouse of Scilla, belonging to the Navy.
Reaching the top you can admire a breathtaking view of the Aeolian Islands. Villa Zagari is also one of the main attractions. Its eclectic style dating back to 1933, coexists perfectly with the enchanting Scategna palace characterized by the three balcony floors made of double order stone. Walking through the town visitors will appreciate the authenticity and the timeless atmosphere that populates it. Every corner, from the fountains to the small port, tells an ancient and authentic story, impossible to appreciate in the big tourist cities of the coast.

Renowned for fishing, among the typical products of the village there is undoubtedly swordfish, excellence of the Tyrrhenian coast. Its tasty and rich meat is cooked according to the Calabrian culinary tradition in a simple way, to preserve its flavor. However, among the typical recipes of the village there is also macaroni with swordfish and grilled fish sauce. To accompany these excellent dishes it is possible to savor white wine from local vineyards obtained from the fine zibibbo grapes.

Those who love the tranquility of the small villages of southern Italy overlooking the sea must definitely visit this enchanting place. The relaxed atmosphere with an ancient flavor, the waves of the sea that make up a gentle soundtrack, the small and characteristic alleys, the privileged glimpse of the Tyrrhenian Sea undoubtedly represent the strengths of this place. Not only that, while preserving on its territory architectural and natural beauties of extreme beauty, Chianalea does not suffer from the chaos typical of maritime tourist resorts. For this reason, staying in one of the accommodation facilities of the village will allow fans of the sea and locations with an ancient charm to live a unique experience.

Although small in size, there are numerous activities for tourists and visitors. More specifically, near the beaches, numerous tour operators deal with the rental of rubber boats and small boats. In this way, lovers of the sea and excursions can enjoy a different day among the coves of the coast thus admiring the town from an unusual perspective to. Moving away from the shore, in fact, even snorkeling and diving lovers will be able to admire the splendid backdrops of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Those who love walking and trekking can instead reach the fortress on which the splendid Ruffo Castle was erected on foot, through narrow streets and paths in the middle of the greenery.

Village of Chianalea
Municipality of Scilla
Città Metropolitana di Reggio Calabria
Calabria region

Inhabitants: 4.852 scillesi
Center altitude: 72 m s.l.m.

the Municipality is part of:
Borghi più belli d'Italia

Piazza San Rocco - tel: 0965754003

= distances as the crow flies


  • Take the A3 highway (Salerno-Reggio Calabria) and exit at Scilla.


  • Reggio Calabria station


  • Reggio Calabria airport
  • Airport of Lamezia Terme

Sleep, eat, buy...

= distances as the crow flies
= distances as the crow flies


december, 2023
to tuesday 7 january 2025

Christmas markets in Chianalea

Our news about Chianalea

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