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Grand Tour Calabria

12 days tour

Grand Tour Calabria

per person

To design a tour in Calabria – the best destinations, art and landscape in a few days – is not an easy work, ‘cause there are many things to do, many places to visit.

So we thought about the famous travelers of the eighteenth and nineteenth century Grand Tour, their slow discovery and the arduous learning of the territory, which sometimes also reserved moments of tension and bewilderment. But the offspring of the noble families of Europe, the writers, poets, geographers, anthropologists, botanists, soldiers, explorers of all kinds needed to go into the ventricles of the southern heart, to know in depth the millennial culture of the various places that make up the sublime mosaic of the South.

Calabria – a thriving land of medieval villages, the cradle of Magna Graecia and the custodian of the immeasurable Byzantine heritage – has always been a mysterious object and desired by travelers. By imagining an itinerary that is a true exploration of the memorable things of a territory, we have selected the centers with the highest tourist appeal, which are eternal postcards, such as Tropea, Scilla, Le Castella or Gerace.

We would like to suggest some samples of excellent gastronomy (tuna, red chili pepper, red onion, swordfish…), amazing tasting of skilled chefs. Sure, we’re gonna show you two must-see like Bronzi di Riace and Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, two real stars of our tour. From north to south, from the Ionian to the Tyrrhenian Sea, the destinations we propose are a rather complete tale about historical and geographical Calabria.

12 Days
  • Departure
    You move from Lamezia Terme International Airport – or from A2 highway – to hotel in Amantea (Cosenza). That’s the starting point of each daily tour.
  • Dress Code
    You should wear sports shoes, you will often walk on cobblestones of the historic centers. Bring small binoculars! It will be very useful to observe the wonderful lines and details of certain landscapes and monuments.
  • 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
    Transfers
1
Flight + Hotel Transfer
Arrival of the tourist group at Lamezia Terme airport and transfer by bus to the hotel in Amantea (CS). We selected this town because it has a very varied and competitive hotel offer; and then because, as a geographical position, it is functional to all the scheduled tours in the different provinces.
2
CLETO and FIUMEFREDDO BRUZIO

Cleto Festival, old castle. Music and dreams at sunset

Morning walk in the village of Cleto. We're going to plan an exciting urban trekkin between the buildings and alleys arranged on the hard rock that characterizes the site. The tour ends in the fascinating and ancient Castle of the Barons of Pietramala. The village is also known for a very rich oil production, we may organize a free tasting visiting a local farm. Lunch at restaurant. In the afternoon exploration of the historic center of Fiumefreddo Bruzio, the town had a nomination several times as "Borgo dei Borghi" in the RAI TV format of Kilimanjaro. We will visit the most important palaces and churches, to end at Castello Della Valle, a very superb view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the next future we’d like to show travelers an amazing collection of works by the Sicilian genius Salvatore Fiume, owned by private individuals, we will go and enjoy his art impressed in public spaces and we will understand the provocative message of the artist, whose pictorial trace and also of sculptor has marked the history of this municipality. The works visible to the public today are a few frescoes on some walls of the castle and inside the dome of the Chapel of San Rocco. In the two towns visited there is no ticket to pay.
3
CORIGLIANO-ROSSANO

Castello di Corigliano Calabro, hall of the mirrors

The third stop is dedicated to the town of Rossano Calabro, "the Byzantine", where you will go to the Cathedral of the Santissima Achiropita, the Diocesan Museum and the famous Codex Purpureus (sort of manuscript of the New Testament, in the format of 200x307 mm, on purple parchment, is the flagship of the Byzantine artistic production), in the jewel churches of San Marco and Panaghia. Lunch in a farmhouse or packed lunch. In the early afternoon you can make a visit to the Museum of Licorice, with the attached store of the famous Amarelli company, entrepreneurs applauded all over the world. Then we move to the Ducal Castle of Corigliano Calabro. Here we're going to contemplate the beautiful hall of mirrors, with the masterful decorations of Ignazio Perricci. Codex museum entrance: 5 euros; 4 euros for groups of at least 20 units, 3 euros for school children 7/14 years old, free pass for younger kids. Castle entrance Corigliano: 5 euros; 3,5 euros per person if 20 people booked group.  
4
SCOLACIUM (Roccelletta di Borgia) and NIDO DI SETA (San Floro)

Scolacium, archaeological park and museum

You will admire the archaeological area of the park of Scolacium – the real Roman Calabria - in Roccelletta di Borgia, a wonderful stretch of coast in the center of the Gulf of Squillace. The museum, with its magnificent layout (it also contains artifacts from the protohistoric and Magna Graecia periods), is curated by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. The Forum, the Theater and the Amphitheater are still today a privileged place of studies for archaeologists from all over the world. The lunch break will take place in a very particular location, at the agricultural laboratory of the Nido di Seta cooperative, in the lush countryside of San Floro. Here we will meet the story of two young entrepreneurs who have taken up silkworm growing; they will show us the silk extraction and its processing. Park and museum entrance: 5 euros, we’re gonna check for group discounts. Nido di Seta visit ticket + lunch: 25 euros.
5
PIZZO CALABRO and TROPEA

Tropea, the golden beach and the turquoise water

We're going to schedule excursions in that couple of places, Pizzo and Tropea (Costa degli Dei), for decades a must for those tourists coming on holiday in Calabria. Morning stops in Pizzo for guided tour inside the Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, with its beautiful sandstone sculptures close to the sea, the panoramic terrace of Piazza della Repubblica (you can try the well-known Tartufo, pastry specialty) and the Gioacchino Murat Castle (right here Napoleon's brother-in-law was imprisoned and shot). Lunch in a local restaurant. The delicacy of the place is tuna: you can compose menus to taste it in all its facets. In the afternoon, strolling through the cute old town of Tropea, from which you will appreciate the sublime maritime scenery even better. Tropea is nowadays the most chosen Calabrian tourist resort in the summer. Entrance fees: 4.5 euros per person for Piedigrotta church + Pizzo castle, but we’re gonna check if there are lower fares for groups.
6
LE CASTELLA di Isola Capo Rizzuto and the village of SANTA SEVERINA

Santa Severina, a view of the village on the rock

In the morning we stop on the Ionian coast close to Crotone, we go inside the Aragonese Fortress (or Castle) of Le Castella. Dream scenario, it seems to be near a movie set. Perched on the sea on a rocky islet, the fort has an overwhelming charm and has also attracted directors of the caliber of Monicelli and Pasolini, who in the 1960s shot some scenes of L'Armata Brancaleone and Il Vangelo secondo Matteo respectively. Lunch in a local restaurant. In the afternoon we go up inland towards Santa Severina, the village nestled on a rock that many call "the stone ship". We're going to visit: Castle, Cathedral of Sant'Anastasia and Byzantine Baptistery that stands next to it. Le Castella aragonese fortress ticket entrance: to be defined. Castle S. Severina, entrance ticket: 4 euros per person. We're going to check if there are discounts and free pass.
7
SCILLA and REGGIO CALABRIA

BRONZO A, back profile

Along the highway you’ll travel rolling south, on the Costa Viola, to go and discover the legendary Scilla. Chianalea is its romantic and picturesque seaside location. We will also visit the Castle, which belonged to the Ruffo family. We’ll have lunch in Scilla, where in some places chefs cook a magnificent swordfish (you can also try the take away solution with sandwich stuffed with tomato or vegetables, potatoes and swordfish ...). 3 pm : departure for Reggio Calabria. After the visit to the Bronzes and to a section of the Museum of Magna Grecia, we're going to walk on the wonderful Reggio promenade for souvenir photos on the Strait. Castle entrance Scilla: 2 euros. Reggio Calabria 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.
8
SILA (Camigliatello Silano) + COSENZA

SILA, caciocavallo and salsiccia, local stars on the table

The morning light will be the value added for a short excursion in the Sila National Park, the Calabrian plateau sought-after by the Roman army two thousand years ago for the wealth of wood and pitch. The FAI reserve of the Giants of Fallistro is highly recommended, it’s a good place to understand the naturalistic “vocation” of Calabria. The majesty and size of some laricio pine trees will leave you stunned. Short ride to Camigliatello for tasting and shopping for some typical products, such as Caciocavallo Silano, the best dairy tradition in the area. Lunch in Camigliatello. Afternoon around Cosenza historic center, where cultural production over the centuries has had excellent results, if you think, for example, about the great philosopher Bernardino Telesio. In recent years we find the story of the legendary leader Alaric – king of Visigoths - whose incalculable treasure would have been buried in Cosenza area, that has aroused much curiosity in the media, because some people think the burial is at the point of the confluence of the Crati and Busento rivers. The guided tour will be useful to know: the Duomo; the diocesan museum which is the custodian of a refined goldsmith's manufacture such as the Stauroteca, a probable reliquary cross, gift of Frederick II to the city; finally Palazzo Arnone - the National Gallery - with its rich collection of paintings (some so beautiful by Mattia Preti). In the evening, walk on the well-known and very popular Corso Mazzini. Natural reserve entrance: 3 euros kids 4/14 years old; full ticket 5 euros. Cosenza diocesan museum: free donation. Arnone palace: free entry.
9
The village of GERACE and the Roman mosaics in CASIGNANA

Casignana, Roman villa, mosaics (ph Antonio Aricò)

Very special day, in Locride area, between essences of bergamot and ancient Roman/Byzantine traces. In the morning we’ll visit Gerace, the elegant village of the "hundred churches", one of the most popular destinations mentioned by operators. Tourists love this place. You will appreciate: the impressive Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the 11th century; the rooms of the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art; the extraordinary portal of the Church of San Francesco d'Assisi (13th century); the Church of San Giovannello (10th century, the oldest); the Door of the Sun (XV century) and the beautiful terrace overlooking the Locrese plain; the ruins of the Norman castle. Lunch in a local restaurant or packed lunch. In the early afternoon, we’ll move to Casignana, on the Ionian state road, to admire the archaeological area of ​​the Roman villa which is carachterized by phenomenal mosaics. Entrance to the diocesan museum and cathedral: 2 euros per person. Casignana ticket: 3 euros. We're going to check if you can pay less, special offer or discount.
10
AMANTEA, lunch and back home

Amantea, anchovies preserved

Before the greetings, a gorgeous morning walk in Amantea, our hotel destination. Among the selected monumental places: church-convent of san Bernardino of Siena; mother church of san Biagio; Jesuits’ College church; church of san Francesco d'Assisi; former Clarisse convent (today hotel-restaurant), with the 11th century Arab funerary stele inside, the only testimony of Islamic material culture; Chianura area (where seafaring traditions will be told); Catocastro quarter and the immense cave (municipal villa), marked by significant natural scenography. After lunch with local specialties (anchovies), you will return to the hotel. In the evening transfer to Lamezia airport. There are no ticket to pay.