Itinerary: Crotone, Parco Pitagora, Santa Severina, Valli Cupe, Sila, Capo Colonna
A tour to discover some of the most beautiful treasures of Calabria, exploring history, science, archeology, and nature
The region of Calabria is located in the south of Italy, at the tip of the Italian boot and just a stone's throw from Sicily. It boasts a wide array of historic and artistic places and outstanding archaeological findings. Also, Calabria has beautiful coastlines and crystal clear sea-water.
Let's start out on this loop tour from an interesting site in Crotone, which is one of the main cities in Calabria. Together with a castle and countless churches, religious and non-religious buildings, an important attraction of Crotone is Parco Pitagora (pic n°5). Formerly known as Parco Pignera, this park is located on a hill in the south-eastern part of the city, and it is mostly dedicated to the findings and studies of Pythagoras. Pythagoras was a very famous philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, born in Greece in 570 B.C. In Crotone, he with his followers had founded the famous school of Phytagoreanism. Parco Pitagora is formed by a garden with a museum and it is home to several works depicting the studies and the findings of this famous character.
Around 30 km northwest of Parco Pitagora, you can visit Santa Severina (pic n°2), one of the most beautiful Medieval villages in Calabria. This small town, located 320 meters above sea level, is halfway between the Ionic Sea and the Sila plateau where extends the National Park of Sila (pic n°3), founded in 2002 and recognized as an outstanding site by UNESCO. The National Park of Sila is home to many species of flora and fauna living in this unspoiled environment, a real paradise for all nature lovers!
The town of Santa Severina featuring a quiet, picturesque and uncontaminated historic center, with narrow alleys and nice shops. Here, you should have a walk along the amazing Piazza Campo and take some time to visit the thirteenth-century Cathedral and Byzantine Baptistery, with frescoes dating back to the tenth-twelfth centuries.
Although this small town is rich in artistic and architectural beauties, the main attraction of Santa Severina is its castle, an imposing fortification which dates back to the Norman age (eleventh century). The castle is composed of a large, square fortification with four round towers on the corners. Thanks to the impressive structure, the bastions, the tower and the intricate basement, the castle of Santa Severina is one of the most important examples of military fortifications in Italy. In the sixteenth century, the structure of the castle was modified by Andrea Carafa, and because of this, it is also known as the Castle of Carafa (pic n°1). Today, the castle is home to the Archeological Museum which hosts the archeological findings of the surrounding areas and the caste itself. Visitors can also admire some archeological sites, such as a grotto, some necropolises, and a Byzantine church.
After leaving Santa Severina, drive southwest towards the city of Catanzaro, (the capital city of Calabria) and explore the magical environment of Valli Cupe (pic n°4). This natural site is located in the province of Catanzaro and it is about 10 square kilometers large. Valli Cupe is considered as one of the most beautiful natural areas in Calabria thanks to its particular morphology, as it is rich in canyons, gorges, monoliths, and waterfalls, as well as ancient trees and a wide variety of flora. Canyons and gorges can be up to 130 meters high, and it is possible to take long walks or to go trekking along the many paths that cross the park. Here, both kids and adults can live a wonderful experience in a magical place, surrounded by charming waterfalls and streams with crystalline waters, a wild nature, and breathtaking landscapes. Also, do not miss a visit to some of the most impressive natural attractions of the Valley: Canyon of Valle Cupe, Canyon of Barbaro, Canyon dell'Inferno, Canyon delle Timpe Rosse, Gorges of Crocchio, Campanaro Waterfall, and Waterfall of Rupe. Valli Cupe is the perfect destination for those who want to spend some time in full contact with nature!
Our tours end around 60 kilometers east, on the wonderful promontory of Capo Colonna (pic n°6) overlooking the Ionic Sea. Placed in an awe-inspiring natural background, Capo Colonna is a very important Archeological Site, whose story is strictly linked to the past of Crotone. In fact, Crotone was an important Greek colony founded in the eighth century B.C., and here one of the most important temples of the empire used to be located. The temple was dedicated to Hera Lacinia, Zeus' wife and sister, protector of women, fertility, family, marriage, and nourishment. Today, just a single column of the temple is still standing, but visitors can still admire the archaeological findings around the park and in the museum.
The beautiful Calabrian seasides:
Scenic drive road along the Tyrrhenian coast in Calabria
From Tropea, the Pearl of Calabria, to Capo Vaticano
Some pictures of Calabria:
Castello Carafa - Santa Severina (pic n°1); Santa Severina (pic n°2); The National Park of Sila (pic n°3); Valli Cupe (pic n°4); Parco Pitagora - Crotone (pic n°5); Capo Colonna (pic n°6);