Introducing Calabria

There’s something about Calabria that casts a spell over all who stumble upon it. This lesser-visited charmer is a place of myths and magic, sirens (the ancient Greek kind) and stories. Trace La Costa degli Dei, Coast of the Gods. Delve into the region’s classical past in its many museums. And pitch up in edgy towns and mountain villages for an authentic slice of southern Italy. 

Things to do

Embark on a Homeric odyssey across Calabria. Just south of Scilla you can explore thousands of years of history in Museo Nazionale di Reggio Calabria. Providing they’re not on tour, don’t miss the classical Bronzi di Riace – ancient statues discovered on the seabed in the ‘70s. Uncover Greek and Roman ruins at Museo Nazionale di Locri Epizephyrii. And walk the causeway to 4th-century Fortezza di La Castella near Crotone.

Calabria’s mountainous hinterland is wonderful hiking country. Pollino National Park is sandwiched between Calabria and Basilicata. Book a guide to help you scale its tallest peaks, delve into its grottoes, and point out golden eagles soaring over its native pine trees. Catch the scent of bergamot while walking in Aspromonte National Park. And though wolves still roam its ancient forests for much of the year, Sila National Park turns into a skier’s paradise in winter.

There are two sides to Calabrian beaches. On the west is the Tyrrhenian coast, home to Capo Vaticano (and stunning views), as well as La Costa degli Dei. While here, you could stop by the cliff-hugging towns of Tropea or make your own odyssey to Scilla. Over in the east, the Ionian shores have back-to-nature bays and stretches of sand backed by mountains.   

Top Tip from SLH

Satisfy your sweet tooth with rigulizza – Calabria’s famous liquorice that locals chew after a particularly hearty meal.