To get to Calabria, visitors can fly to Rome's Fiumicino Airport, then take a connecting flight.
Shaped like a shoe, Calabria is located between the Ionian Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Reggio Calabria, the city at the toe, faces the Straits of Messina and Sicily. Catanzaro, the main city, features the remains of a castle built in 1060 and the renovated San Giovanni complex.
Cosenza, Calabria's economic center, at the top of the region, has several palazzi, which once belonged to noble families. Crotone, at the heel, showcases a 16th-century castle and the Di Capo Rizzuto marine reserve on the coast.
Calabria has four national parks and several nature reserves. Located between Basilicata and Calabria, the National Park of Pollino is known for its loricato pine trees. Silver scales cover the bark like suits of armour. Wildlife includes wild boar, otters, golden eagles and peregrine falcons. The most popular sights are the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pollino, the museum of Albanese costumes of Frascineto and the Natural Museum of the Pollino at Rotunda.
National Park of Aspromonte is located at the tip of Italy. The Sanctuary of Polsi is a popular pilgrimage destination, especially during the August 24 to September 2 festival. Hikes offer splendid views of Lake Constantino and the Pietra Cappa monolith.
National Park of Calabria is known for its meadows of primroses, crocuses, daffodils and spring flowers. Nature walks, beginning at the Forestry Station of Gariglione, bring hikers through silver fir and beech forests.
National Park of the Sila is the 21st Italian National Park. It spreads over Crotone, Catanzaro and Cosenza provinces.
Beach resorts and thermal spas
Calabria has 800 kilometres of coastline and seaside resorts like Diamante, Copanello and Paola. Falerna Lido boasts wide beaches.
Terme di Cerchiara di Calabria is known for its soft black mud that improves the skin. The water and mud at Terme Sibarite is used for baths, mudpacks, inhalations and irrigations to treat arthritis and rheumatism. Spezzano Albanese Terme has five springs, known for helping liver problems.
Terme Luigiane has five springs at Guardia Peimontese. Also on the Tyrrhenian coast is Lamezia Terme. Located near the sea, Terme Caronte has therapeutic 39.4 degree C. water. Terme di Galatro has sulphuric water, while Terme di Antonimina has salt-iodine water that bubbles up in vineyards.
Calabrian food and wine
The cuisine of Calabria features homemade pasta, served with ragu sauce. Goat (carni minute) and pork (soppressate, capicolli, ham and sausages) are popular meats. Seafood dishes include swordfish, steeped salt cod (stoccafisso ammollato) and small fried fish cooked with red pepper and olive oil (sardella). Calabrian cheeses include caciocavallo, mozzarella, burrito, vacchino and pecorino.
Desserts vary from region to region, like the honey bread (pane di miele) of Cerreto and nzuddho, Christian symbols, decorated with silver paper of Serre. Crocette, dried figs, stuffed with walnuts and spices and covered with chocolate, is a specialty of Cosenza. Reggio Calabria is famous for torrone gelato, while Vibo Valentia shops sell ciciriati, cookies stuffed with chick peas, coffee, walnuts and cocoa.
Calabrian wines include Cirò, Pellaro, Melissa, Savuto, Greco, Sant'Anna, Lametia and Rossano.