On the day of Calabria’s creation, God found fifteen thousand square kilometers of green clay – with slight purple reflections – and Calabria flowed from His hands to become more beautiful than California or Hawaii, the French coast or even the islands of Japan.
-Leonida Repaci, the Calabrian intellectual, declared in his poem The Land of the Bruzi, transforming a physical place into a literary landscape of a thousand shades.
Calabria is a territory of rich and varied contrasts. Over its storied history it has been known by many names: Ausonia for its fertility; Esperia for its Western ways; Enotria as a land of flourishing vines and wine; Italy as home of Italo, the king who conquered it and inhabited it with his people from the late Iron Age; then Magna Grecia, although from the eighth century BC onwards, simply as Magna because it is more sumptuous than the mother country; Bruzia of the Bruzi, people who conquered and inhabited its cities for four centuries; and finally, for the last thousand years, Calabria, from the Greek Calon-brio, which means rich in every good way,
Its position is as enviable as it is strategic: stretched-out at the toe of the boot, between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas, and only a little more than three kilometers from Sicily across the Strait of Messina. Mostly hilly and mountainous, it is flat along its eight hundred kilometers of enchanting coast, yet boasts the highest and most rugged peaks on its border with the region of Basilicata and, at the end of the peninsula, where the Aspromonte Mountain peaks exceed two thousand meters. Famous above all for its long, white-sand beaches, that alternate from small inlets to rocks and high cliffs overlooking the sea, with many places, both on the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coast, still intact and wild, not yet exploited by tourism.
Pollino National Park
With four natural parks, ranging from north to south, Calabria is the ideal destination for those who want to immerse themselves in nature. Monte Pollino, gives its name to the massif that extends to the borders of Basilicata as well as a National Park, the largest protected area in Europe and one of the most popular destinations for hikers, nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. It’s especially popular for those who love to explore canyons, and the Raganello Gorge offers beautiful multicolored rocks and cliffs, which have been created and smoothed by water and wind.
Sila National Park
Located, in a central position, between the provinces of Cosenza, Crotone and Catanzaro, is the Sila Plateau where you will breathe the cleanest air in Europe, and from which the Sila National Park takes its name. Boasting 150,000 hectares of natural wealth, diverse landscapes, and a great variety of animal and vegetable species, interspersed with many villages, each with its own traditions.
Forests and Waterfalls
Another green lung of the region is the Serre Regional Natural Park, located between the Aspromonte and the Sila, and characterized by the presence of vast forests, gorges, streams and waterfalls. Rich in itineraries and paths, and immersed in nature, the territory and canyons are best explored on foot, horseback or bicycle.
At the tip of the boot is the Aspromonte, a mighty granite-crystalline pyramid that stands imposingly on the last edge of the Calabrian Apennines. The alpine ski slopes of Gambarie d’Aspromonte National Park, wind for 10 kilometers, offering a vast variety of panoramas, extending from the alpine landscape to the Mediterranean scrub, and onward to the Strait of Messina. From the mountain, it is actually possible to admire the smoking Etna Volcano, and at the same time, the Aeolian islands.
Certainly, more popular with tourists is the vast Calabrian coast, offering natural beauty and pristine water. Bathed by both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, Calabria boasts fine, white-sand beaches, which are considered among the most beautiful in the world, as they are interspersed with inlets and cliffs, overlooking the sea and secluded rocky bays. Between Tropea and Capo Vaticano is a long stretch of wide, beautiful beaches, known as the Costa degli Dei, and famous for the unique colors of the sea that change from turquoise to deep blue. Known as the ‘Picolo Paradiso’ the stretch of coast between Palmi and Bagnara, is adored for the intense, undulating shades of colors that the sea assumes throughout the day. At the toe of the boot the sea is open and deep, its clear water offers precious testimony of the many ancient civilizations that settled and lived here.
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