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Calabria On My Mind

12 days tour

Calabria On My Mind

per person

This tour planning is a selection of emblematic, meaningful, intriguing places, destinations imprinted into a calabrian heart. They are places making up an image of Calabria, our soul places that we want to tell about. We want to show them. It’s like when you’re the host and you feel an emotional tremble ‘cause you want to go with your guest around the new home, to describe the great care and passion put into action to design and furnish it, and decorate the apartment… 12 days of calabrian full immersion, to explore the most exciting mountains, the lovely coastal and hilly views, charming villages, art signs and masterpieces representing Calabria all over the world.

We have planned 4 changes of hotel accommodation (Morano, Scalea, Amantea, Sila) to make the journey by bus more comfortable, considering the not simple Calabrian road layout.

We will help you (groups or individual travellers) if you need advice about transport, accommodation and food. Core Calabro gives answers considering guests’ demand, it’s too important to outline the tourist profile. Once we examine your request, the Core Calabro expert will answer you to talk about bus companies, restaurants, hotels, b&b. We are pursuing the customized travel experience.

  • Departure
    First, transfer to Calabria at a hotel or bed & breakfast in Morano Calabro/Castrovillari area, northern Calabria, you reach it via A2, Autostrada del Mediterraneo. You may consider flight option (destination Lamezia Terme) and then you can go to the hotel (bus transfer or rental car).
  • Dress Code
    Always wear sports shoes, you will often walk on cobblestones of the historic centers. Walking tours involving mountain hiking require clothing such as a padded sports jacket, backpack, hat or balaclava, gloves. It depends on whether you choose to explore the national park in winter rather than spring-summer-autumn. You can rent - on site - snow boots, poles and snowshoes, to walk better.
  • Included
    Food Tasting
    Licensed tourist guide
    Radio whispers, receivers appropriate for listening in the museums, in crowded places and for better social distancing, as the WHO recommends
    Umbrellas if necessary (also parasol)
  • Not Included
    Hotel, accomodations
    Lunch, dinner
    Museum tickets
    Parking tickets
The charm of the Pollino Massif - a natural barrier between Calabria and Basilicata - is, in our opinion, the first beautiful thing that every traveler must contemplate once he has reached Calabria. You may select some transport options, according to travel agency you call: to take the highway (A2 Autostrada del Mediterraneo), by bus or by car; to land in Lamezia Airport; in both options, you reach the hotel in Morano/Castrovillari area.

Morano Calabro, village very close to the southern slopes of mount Pollino

The village of Morano almost looks like a pointed meatball, in its upper part, rounded on a hill at the foot of the Pollino and Dolcedorme mountains. We are going to admire the polyptych by Bartolomeo Vivarini (1477), a series of 25 saints painted and inserted in a rich golden frame, a Gothic-Venetian pattern. Walking through the alleys and old houses you will arrive in the most beautiful naturalistic museum in Calabria: "il Nibbio". It hosts organic relics and accurate reproductions (dioramas) of high quality of the various fauna of the Pollino National Park. The collection of insects and butterflies is incredible. Another option at the end of spring / early summer is a visit to the Lavender Park, when the plant is blooming and it is a sight to see hectares of colorful flowers. Good lunch tasting local dishes and then transfer to Civita. But you can also go directly to Civita, a traditional arbëreshë community, to taste the flavors of Albanian gastronomy. Here old and young people carefully preserve the language of its ancestors and it will be very interesting to discover especially the traditional costumes and songs. All this beauty to meet, walking among houses with a human face! Anthropomorphic facades, called "Kodra houses" - in memory of the post-cubist master Ibrahim Kodra.   Vivarini polyptych entrance: 1 euro. Nibbio museum: single ticket 4 euros (they offer lower fares for groups).
Trekking for nature lovers on POLLINO or on ORSOMARSO mountains (alternatively, 3rd option: rafting Lao river)

Trunk of pino loricato, you see the particular bark that is covered in scales

A special day for adventure lovers who need unspoilt nature, a day dedicated to explore the mountainous landscape of the deep north of Calabria - the Pollino Massif (national park) - you can choose among more options indicated by the expert environmental guide who will be with us. From the walk in the green basins between the Orsomarso mountains and the Pollino, to the ascent of the 2267 meters of Serra Dolcedorme, to contemplate the beauty of the pini loricati, one of the most frost-resistant species. Clung to the sides immediately below the peaks, this pine seems to escape and isolate itself from many beech trees. Powerful trunk, twisted, scaly bark, which suggests an appearance similar to the “lorica squamata”, the metal-scale vest that was worn by some categories of legionaries of ancient Rome (hence the name). You can also plan an adventurous rafting, a descent with rafts and kayaks along the Lao river, with instructors and rescue team in tow. Packed lunch. Comfortable shoes and clothing will be worn, with a backpack for some indispensable items and materials for possible first aid.   Lao river: you pay ticket for rafting equipment and instructor assistance.
Romito Cave (BOS PRIMIGENIUS) in Papasidero + SCALEA

Bos Primigenius rock engraving, it is an urus,  extinct species of large wild cattle in the Paleolithic Age

We pack our bags because in the afternoon we will check in at a hotel in Scalea, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. First stop, in the morning, is the archaeological site of Grotta del Romito (a prehistorical cave), municipality of Papasidero. On a boulder one can see the most famous cave engraving, dating back to the Upper Paleolithic - between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago – that’s the stylized figure of an urus, the Bos Primigenius, a big extinct bovine that was hunted and which perhaps represented for hominids, hunters, a totemic figure. Lunch in Scalea, hotel accommodation and afternoon walk around the beautiful old part of the Tyrrhenian town, where narrow stairs and streets blend nicely in wonderful corners. The church of San Nicola dei Greci preserves splendid Byzantine icons, they are frescos on the walls.   Entrance to the Romito Cave and antiquarium: 4 euros. We're going to check if there are discounts and free pass.

Wall painting by Baruch Kadmon, he wanted to "duplicate" the famous shot "La Famiglia" by Paul Strand

The state road 18 is always a beautiful discovery, when you cross it you can see all those villages built spread over the hills, in the Middle Ages, to keep away the dangers that came from the sea. In Paola’s holy home of st. Francesco (founder of Ordine dei Minimi) tourists come from all over the world, to walk in the sacred places lived by Francesco Martolilla, the future saint and patron of Calabria - a humble boy who in the 30’s of XV century started a prodigious story, marked by miraculous actions that changed the Calabrian collective imagination. The Gospel, narrated from his mouth, was something amazing. Hermitage, detachment from the material goods of the world, extreme fasting, prayer. Around the small caves excavated to get a chapel and a place of shelter, in the middle of the fifteenth century, the most important sanctuary in Calabria began to form. Lunch at Diamante, where in the afternoon an exciting journey into visionary art will be made. You’ll linger over murales, what they express, each with its particular message, set in the context of the era in which it was created. It is "the village of noses up", inevitable; in Diamante the colors of the paintings on the walls force you to walk with your head up and your gaze captivated by bizarre shapes and subjects that want to communicate something.   Free entry.

Stromboli, volcano at sunset, a sort of Fellini's artistic invention for Amantea and neighborhood (ph Michele Polani)

Transfer to the hotel in Amantea, a maritime town with a long commercial tradition, here we will visit the enchanting old part in the morning, before lunch and check-in. The walk will be useful to understand the maritime history of the community - fishing techniques and fish preservation - as well as the fruitful relationship with the Franciscans of Assisi (we will visit the thirteenth century church and then the building, church and convent, dating back to the fifteenth century, dedicated to St. Bernardino from Siena). After lunch, stop in Fiumefreddo Bruzio, the most beautiful and welcoming balcony on this mirror of Tyrrhenian Sea. A town that can delight for one great stroke of luck: the phenomenal artistic encounter with Salvatore Fiume. The versatile Sicilian genius, since the 1970’s, has disseminated his imaginative and nonconformist art in the streets, squares, in the walls of the old castle, transforming the image of the place. An artistic giant of the '900, of international fame.   No entry to pay.
TRACCIOLINO hilly pathway (Costa Viola) + PALMI

Tourists walking the paths on the hills of the Costa Viola (ph Antonello Martino)

The cliffs of the Costa Viola, between Palmi, Bagnara Calabra and Scilla, are the most evocative the coastal landscape of Calabria can offer. From mount sant'Elia, just under 600 meters high, south zone of Palmi, there is a track for true hikers (7 km and a half ring route, medium difficulty, descend and climb), that we will do together with an expert environmental guide, able to add value to the incredible views that open up between the green of the mediterranean scrub and the blue of the sea. Not recommended for those who fear vertigo-induced discomfort: the Tracciolino path is safe, but the position overlooking the sea can impress. Packed lunch, to be consumed when you return to the base. In the afternoon, a walk in the town of Palmi, whose ethnographic museum (in the House of Culture "Leonida Repaci") contains the most significant examples of calabrian folklore. The Varia procession is a wonderful example of popular religiosity - a huge triumphal float, carried on the shoulders of hundreds of people, supports a scaffold with the representation of the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven - it is usually held on the last Sunday August.   Museum entrance: to be defined.

A modern spadara, swordfish hunting in the open sea

In Chianalea – the well-known area of Scilla - there are two constant factors influencing the travel experience: the breath and the smell of the sea. Always alive, penetrating, suggestive. The "spadare" feluccas, which seemingly wander aimlessly, are focused on the swordfish hunt: as soon as the lookout on the vertical turret of the boat sees the movement on the surface of the water, the man with the harpoon on the long gangway will give the final assault. Marine emotions that today can also be experienced by tourists, by reservation. Lunch at restaurant in Scilla, then transfer to Reggio Calabria. The national archaeological museum is one of the most important structures in the South Italy for the knowledge of the most prestigious finds from the Magna Graecia period. The history of the Bronzes found in Riace is unique and exciting. Seen by a passionate diver in August 1972 not far from the ionian shore of Riace, they were brought back to the surface accompanied by the - unsolved - mystery of where they were originally located and who they represented. We will tell you all the hypotheses about their identity. Reggio museum: full ticket 8 euros (5 euros from 18 to 25 years old, free pass for UE citizens under 18). You get a special discount all Wednesdays: full ticket 6 euros, 4 euros the reduced one.

San Giovanni in Fiore, the only one nave inside the church of the Abbazia Florense

Our exciting tour moves into the green lung of Calabria, the wide forest as well as the SILA National Park, where in the early afternoon we are going to check in at a hotel. In the morning we visit the Abbazia Florense, in San Giovanni in Fiore, the spiritual home of the great philosopher and theologian Gioacchino da Fiore. In the afternoon, after lunch and after having deposited the luggage in the hotel, we're going to plan a pleasant and relaxing mountain bike ride - or on foot - along the paths around lake Arvo, accompanied by an environmental guide who will introduce you to the flora and fauna of the plateau. Mentioned even by Virgil in the Aeneid and in the Georgics, the Sila has a "nordic face”, as Guido Piovene told in 1963: «[...] it seems to be catapulted into a corner of Scandinavia, with pine trees taller and slenderer than the firs».   Free entry.

Sila Grande (ph Antonello Martino)

Majestic trees looking like temple columns, which amaze. The pini larici are even 40 meters high above our heads and have incredible diameters of 2 meters; they are 350 years old and sure they are the unmovable symbols of the ancient Silva Brutia described by writers in Roman times. The imperial delegates obtained indispensable raw material - especially wood and pitch. You can do an exploration of the FAI reserve of Croce di Magara, to embrace those fifty pines of colossal dimensions – also known as the Fallistro Giants. Or you can take part in a trek through the woods around lake Cecita, the largest artificial lake created for the production of hydroelectric energy in Sila. After the lunch break - for which you can organize an exquisite tasting of typical products, such as caciocavallo, or the Sila PGI potato in its various culinary elaborations - you go for a sightseeing tour in Camigliatello Silano, to learn about the roots, the culture, history and the silana economy. With an early booking, for large groups, you could make - alternatively in the afternoon - a tour by rail traveling by train pulled by the old steam locomotive (railway station on mountain, 1400 meters high). Natural reserve entrance: 3 euros kids 4/14 years old; full ticket 5 euros.
SANTA SEVERINA and vineyard Gaglioppo (CIRÒ DOC)

CIRÒ, the local red grape Gaglioppo, mother of the great famous Calabrian doc (PDO) wine, ph Mavi Peña

From the Sila pathways of ineffable beauty we move towards the valley of the Neto river, which is a gateway to the Ionian Sea of ​​equally charm and countless natural wonders. Santa Severina stands on a block of sandstone, dominant, it perfectly conveys the brilliance of the communities that over the centuries have adapted construction techniques to the harshness of the place. Here we will visit the robust castle, which insists on the west side of the rocky peak of the ancient Siberene. Then it will be the turn of the cathedral of Saint Anastasia, which is contiguous to the byzantine baptistery characterized by a greek cross plan and 8 columns surrounding the baptismal font, a rarity. After lunch at a farm-restaurant, in the early afternoon we're going to reach a field to appreciate some of the vines that best adapt to the Cirotano terroir, above all the Gaglioppo, the main component of the PDO Cirò wine. In the evening we’ll move to the hotel in Rossano Calabro, for our last overnight stay.   Santa Severina castle entrance: 4 euros. We're going to check if you can pay less, special offer or discount.
ROSSANO CALABRO and back home

ROSSANO CALABRO, Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, a Byzantine rarity

A journey into the world of icons, art and architecture that the Byzantine culture created in Calabria: this is the final program of our tour, walking around Rossano Calabro. That’s the city of the prestigious Amarelli company, the queen of licorice, at the museum-store you can make the last stop before returning home. In the morning we will go to the cathedral of the Holy Achiropita (an icon not painted by human hand, according to tradition); in the diocesan museum to see the famous Codex Purpureus (manuscript with passages from the New Testament, in purple parchment, it is the jewel of the byzantine artistic production); in the little jewel churches of san Marco and Panaghìa, architectures that brilliantly testify the architectural culture of the Byzantines. Packed lunch and transfer to the airport (Crotone or Lamezia) or, in case of return by bus, the main road is the A2 highway, which is about forty kilometers away.   Codex museum entrance: 5 euros; you pay 4 euros if you are in 20 people organized group; 3 euros for school kids 7 / 14 years old; free pass under 7 years old.