Calabria is a hauntingly beautiful region that is just now getting discovered by tourists. There is little on the web about Calabria, so I hope this map of Calabria helps you plan a trip to fascinating Calabria.
The four National parks of Calabria and the protected areas around them are shown in green.
Calabria is a peninsula in which the Apennines descend into the sea in the Aspromonte. It is bounded on the north by the Pollino National Park, which it shares with bordering Basilicata. Calabria has 800 km of shoreline; the mountains are never more than 40km from the sea.
The Magna Grecia, or what was known in antiquity as "greater Greece" because of Greek colonization of the area, begins along the Ionian coast around Crotone and extends northward. In this area you'll see Greek and Byzantine influences in the art and architecture. Around Pollino National Park and extending to the south, there are settlement areas of Albanians who fled the Ottoman invasions after the death of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg in 1468.
By Car: The A3 or Autostrada del Sol, shown on the map, runs toll-free from Salerno to Reggio Calabria.
By rail: the Rome - Naples - Reggio di Calabria follows the autostrada route. Other lines include the eastern line of Taranto-Sibari-Crotone-Catanzaro Lido - Reggio Calabria and connectors Lamezia-Catanzaro, and Paola-Cosenza.
Airports: Lamezia is Calabria's largest airport, with connections to the main Italian cities and to some European destinations. Minniti Airport in Reggio di Calabria offers flights to Rome and Milan as well as Malta and Madrid in summer. Sant' Anna airport in Crotone is relatively new and offers some international connections like Istanbul, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Monaco.
Ferries: There are connections across the straights of Messina to Sicily. There are also ferries to Malta.
Calabria is a bit unique in that the larger towns are perhaps the least interesting. The four regional capitals are Cosenza, Catanzaro, Vibo Valentia, and Reggio Calabria.
Civita - Inside the Polino National Park are 34 villages, many of which have an Albanian heritage. Civita, occupying the Raganello gorge, has the Etnico Arbëresch museum which documents the history of the Albanian migrations that have occurred here since the 1400s. It's a small but very interesting museum. Nearby is Castrovillari, where medieval Albanian is still the local language.
San Mango d'Aquino - a charming Calabrian village spilling down a hillside between Cosenza and Lamezia Terme and just off the A3 Autostrada. Notable because it has a great web site with lots of pictures and information: San Mango d'Aquino.
Pizzo Calabro is a seaside resort and fishing village.
Before the earthquake in 1783 there were 28 churches in little Squillace. There are still many churches and convents to visit, as well as a Norman castle. Squillace is known for its terracotta, and the Squillace College of Art was founded in 1980 to make sure traditions were passed on and artists had a place to work. Squillace is a well-known resort along a beautiful stretch of coastline; there are charming beaches in nearby Copanello and Staletti.
Tropea is famous for its sweet red onions, but is quite an interesting coastal resort village in itself. The historic center with its narrow lanes and old port are pretty compelling as a travel destination. Check the link for more information.
Gerace, called "the Florence of the south" because of all its churches, stands on a 500 meter rock hill formed out of sea fossils from long ago. The 13th century Church of St. Francis has a Baroque altar and the Norman cathedral is the largest religious building in Calabria. Lots of folks recommend eating at the Casa di Gianna Restorante - also a hotel.
Scilla is a fabled fishing village, the toenail on Italy's toe. See the dramatic Castello dei Ruffo, built to fend off attacks from the sea. See pictures of Scilla, Calabria.
You can book user-rated hotels and locate hotels on a map for towns on the coast of Calabria and Basilicata on Venere.com (book direct).
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