A fascinating itinerary through archaeology, history, natural beauty and traditions, in a land with over 3000 years of history.
Day 1 – Arrival
Arrival in Reggio Calabria, the ancient Greek colony of Rhegion, the tip of the Italic boot, a city that has a lot to offer: the seafront promenade, a splendid view of the Strait of Messina, the National Museum, home to the Riace Bronzes. Hotel accommodation, welcome cocktail and dinner.
Day 2 – Reggio Calabria and the Riace Bronzes
If you want to find out all about Magna Graecia and Ancient Calabria, the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria is the perfect place. In addition to wonderful Riace Bronzes, here you will admire entire collections of artefacts from Magna Graecia, providing testimony to its ancient magnificence. The journey will continue to the discovery of artistic and natural beauties that distinguish the city of Reggio Calabria, such as the Duomo and the splendid lungomare (promenade) overlooking the Strait of Messina.
Day 3 – Scilla and Bagnara
This morning you will find yourself in the picturesque village of Scilla, included in the network of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy (I Borghi più belli d’Italia), perched on the slopes of a rocky promontory. The characteristic little harbour, home to the few spatare, special sword-fishing boats, is dominated by Ruffo di Calabria family’s castle. Scilla is still famous for the ancient fishing district of Chianalea, with its picturesque narrow streets and canals, as well as for the fishermen’s dwellings that slope down towards the sea. In this scenario, you will have a typical lunch among the characteristic alleys. Your journey will continue to Bagnara with a stop at Ruggiero Aragonese Tower, located at the entrance to the small port, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the sea. Passing by Caravilla Bridge, the only stone bridge in the world that can be crossed three times (on top of it and under two of its arches), to admire the facade of Ruffo Ducal Palace and Villa De Leo.
Day 4 – Maesano and Montalto Waterfalls
Today you will immerse yourself in unspoilt nature with an excursion to Maesano and Montalto waterfalls. Maesano waterfalls are an unmissable stop whose path is simple, although there are plenty of climbs and descents, making it even more fascinating. At the viewpoint, you will be amazed by the majesty of three great jumps known, in local jargon, as “U Schicciu da Spana”. At the end we will reach the location “i putichej”, at the base of Montalto, the highest peak of Aspromonte, 1956m above sea level. The walk to the summit is short (about 1km) and you will walk along a short section of Sentiero Italia, the longest trail in the world! Your day will end with accommodation in a hotel on Riviera dei Gelsomini.
Day 5 – Gerace & the Roman Villa of Casignana
Here you are in Gerace, the enchanted village, a splendid medieval centre, included in the list of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy (I Borghi più belli d’Italia). The monuments you will see while walking through the streets of the village are splendid: Castello del Baglio, the Norman Cathedral, which stands out for its beauty and majesty, Piazza delle tre Chiese, Le Bombarde (a splendid view of the entire Riviera dei Gelsomini). The journey will continue to Archaeological Park of Villa Romana Palazzi di Casignana, a large suburban villa brought to light in 1963, with thermal and residential areas, one of the most important complexes of the Roman era in Southern Italy that preserves the largest group of mosaics known so far in Calabria. The villa, built during the first century A.D. in an area bearing traces of Greek occupation, reached its peak in the fourth century A.D. Among the marvellous mosaic floors, you will admire the circular tile depicting the Indian Triumph of Dionysus, which is unique. Your day will end on a gastronomic note. In Bianco, along the Ionian coast, you will taste Greco di Bianco wine, considered the “nectar of the Gods”.
Day 6 – Locri Epizephiri and Portigliola
This morning you are in the very heart of Magna Graecia, in one of the most interesting archaeological sites in Calabria, Locri Epizephiri, founded in the 8th century B.C. by settlers from Locride Opunzia and Ozolia regions in Greece. Here you will be fascinated by the Ionic Temple of Marasà, Thesmoforion, a sanctuary dedicated to Demeter and, on the hills, the ruins of Marafioti temple, the Theatre and the Sanctuary of Zeus. All of this is next to the settlement, now identified as Centocamere. Every artefact found is preserved in the National Museum located at the entrance to the archaeological area, such as the Pinakes, votive tablets linked to the cult of Persephone, which give an indication of the lifestyle led in the city. A few steps from here, your journey will end with a visit to the Greek Theatre of Portigliola, whose general layout dates back to the 4th century B.C. and was later completely transformed in Roman times.
Day 7 – Ancient Kaulon & Stilo
Between Monasterace Marina and Punta Stilo lie the remains of Ancient Kaulon, a Magna Graecia polis that was among the first to mint silver coins. Not to be missed are the traces of the urban road network, the remains of some houses, the fragments of mosaic floors that enriched the luxury dwellings, such as Casa del Drago, which takes its name from the polychrome mosaic depicting a sea dragon (3rd century BC). Another essential stop is the Archaeological Museum, which completes and deepens the visit to the Archaeological Park of the ancient city. Here, you will learn about the finds unearthed in the excavation campaigns carried out in the territory of ancient Achaean colony of Kaulon. Continue to Stilo, one of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy (I Borghi più belli d’Italia), known throughout the world for its famous Cattolica, a true architectural jewel of Byzantine art, one of the most fascinating examples of the symbiosis between art and culture. It was built by oriental monks who settled in caves called laure on the slopes of Mount Consolino between the 10th and 11th centuries. It is a unique monument, one of the most beautiful in Calabria.
Day 8 – Return
To end the trip on a sweet note, before returning, we will take you to taste one of the excellences of the area, bergamot.