Popilia and Surroundings

POPILIA & SURROUNDINGS

Discover the evocative places rich in the history of Calabria

Pizzo

A charming seaside resort, Pizzo was built on a tufo rock cliff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The town is famous for its historical centre, a maze of narrow streets called “vicoletti” and steps connecting the old town to the marina. Inside the castle you will find the Murat Museum which tells the story of the last hours of Joachim Murat, King of Naples, and brother- in-law of Napoleon, who was executed on 13th October, 1815. Also important are the Cathedral of St. George (seventeenth century) and the Piedigrotta Church, which was carved into the tufo rock cliff-face overlooking the beach. A small but very lively city which is full of craftsmanship shops, Pizzo has medieval origins and became famous throughout the world for its tuna fish and ice-cream (Tartufo de Pizzo). Due to the excellent quality of their tuna fish and ice-cream production, Callipo Group has achieved international acclaim in these fields

Distance from the Resort: 10 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Turn right toward SS 18. After 0.7 km turn left onto SS522.Continue 5 km up to Pizzo centre (Piazza della Repubblica).

Vibo Valentia

Vibo Valentia is one of the most important cities in the Calabria region. Its origins date back to Greek times. It was originally the Greek colony of Hipponion, founded by inhabitants of Locri Epizeferi (the principal city of the Italian Magna Graecia). The town became a Roman colony in 194 BC with the name of Vibona. During the Middle Ages the city came under the control of the Normans-Suevian, becoming known as Monteleone. Since 1928 the city returned to the original Latin name of Vibo Valentia. Of particular interest is the norman castle with its archaeological museum “Museo Archeologico Statale” and the ruins of its greek walls. Significant also is the Cathedral with its bronze doors (XVII sec.), the church of St. Michael with the bell tower of the Peruzzi (sixteenth century), and the church of Santa Ruba, of Byzantine origin. In the suburb of Marina there is a natural harbour, important for its commercial-tourist business (formerly known as Porto di Santa Venere), which in summer offers daily boat-trips to the Aeolian Islands. One of the local festivals is called the Madonna of the Sea, which take place on the third sunday of August and is famous for its splendid procession which is held in the port. The sea is spotted with innumerable candles and the event ends with a colourful fireworks display in which the surrounding sea mirrors the fantastic light show.

Distance from the Resort: 20 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Proceed towards th SS18. Then turn right. After 0.9 km turn left and stay on SS18. After 0.5 km get onto the motorway A3, (direction, Reggio Calabria). After 10.3 km take the exit to St. Onofrio / Vibo Valentia. Turn right and proceed for 5 km until you reach Vibo Valentia

Tropea - Capo Vaticano

For many people it is considered the “Pearl of the Mediterranean”, and without doubt, the most important tourist resort of the region. The old city is placed on a Tufo rock headland which rises up from the sea and faces onto white broad beaches and a beautiful crystal-clear sea. From the vantage point of the terrace you can admire the Church of Santa Maria dell’ Isola, a famous Calabrian landmark. This church was orignaly a Benedictine convent of medieval origins, rising up from the rock which is upon the sea. The rock is joined to the rest of the coast by a narrow isthmus. The historical centre boasts a multitude of craft shops which offer samples of the local craftworks and specialities, such as the Red Onions of Tropea. The Norman Cathedral is also considered a “must see”. Known as one of the most renowned holiday resorts of the Mediterranean, Tropea has also got an excellent harbour. Formicoli, Capo Vaticano is located to the South of Tropea where it is possible to admire panoramic views of the splendid coves and prominent cliffs. Some of the most beautiful beaches of Calabria are: Baia di Riaci, Baia di Formicoli, Grotticelle and S. Maria. On one of the headlands which drops sharply to the sea we find Belvedere at 99 metres above sea level. From this location you can enjoy stunning views of Sicily and the Eolian Islands.

Distance from the Resort: 40 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Proceed towards the SS18. Then turn right. After 0.7 km turn left onto S.S.522. Keep going for 10 km. Afterwards, turn left onto Via Longobardi, S.S. 522 and follow it for 23 kms until you reach Tropea.

Serra San Bruno

Serra San Bruno represents one of the major places of interest in the region. Serra San Bruno is surrounded by green mountains called Serre. The place is full of architectural landmarks of various epochs. It was founded by the monk called Brunone di Colonia, who built his hermitage there and got many followers, thus creating Carthusian Order. The Carthusian Monastery of Santo Stefano del Bosco is the first in Italy and second in Europe after the Grenoble one. In Serra San Bruno it is possible to visit the Certosa Museum, where you can admire masterpieces of spiritual art produced by the monks. You can spot various churches in the area such as: Chiesa dell’Addolorata, Chiesa dell’Annunziata, Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Ermo where San Brunone lived and died. Next to the church is the cave where the Saint prayed and slept and the miracle lake, where tradition says the remains of the Saint are.

Distance from the Resort: 40 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Proceed towards SS18. Turn right into SSS18. After 0.9 km follow direction SS110. After 20.1 kms turn left into Via Roma/SS 110. Follow SS110 for 16 kms until you get to Serra San Bruno.

Stilo - Gerace - Locri

STILO, clinging to the slope of Monte Cosolino, has Byzantine origins and is one of the most important places in Calabria. Among the many numerous monuments of interest is the Cattolica, a byzantine church of the seventh century A.D. It is built of brick and has been well preserved. GERACE. was built by refugees from Locri in the ninth century. Its name, Agia Ciriaca, derives from the Byzantine word which means “sacred peak”. Its location is overlooking almost the entire territory of Locri. Although it was sacked several times by the Saracens and was destroyed by earthquakes, its historic center has been well preserved, including the magnificent castle (twelfth century A.D). The Norman-Romanesque cathedral, the largest in Calabria, is built partly on the rock and part on a crypt of greek origins, probably an early christian basilica in the year 1000. “ A must see” is the church of San Francesco from the Romanesque era of 1252. LOCRI was founded in the seventh century. A.D. by the citizens of Locri. The location was already inhabited by Italian people. Today it is one of the most modern centres of the Ionian coast of Calabria and a popular seaside resort. Of great interest is the area of the archaeological excavations (3 km from the center) where you can admire the ruins of an Ionic temple (fifth century A.D), the sanctuary of Persephone and a temple of Athena. Also in the area are the remains of a greek-roman theatre and a stronghold of the house Marzano in which a battle took place between Scipio and Hannibal (205 A.D). Near the excavations is the “Antiquarium” which houses archaeological material of considerable interest.

Distance from the Resort: 120 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Follow the mootrway A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria( Salerno direction) exit Lamezia Terme. Enter on SS280 direction Due Mari. At the intersection of Catanzaro Lido turn right toward Soverato – Reggio Calabria or enter SS 110 for Serra San Bruno, SP95 Stilo Monasterace

Reggio Calabria - Scilla

Due to the optical effect according to which it would seem closer to Sicily than it actually is, people gave it the name the “City of Morgan Le Fay”. Reggio di Calabria was a thriving city of Magna Graecia. Thanks to its strategic position it was the centre of comunication. Of the old buildings, only a few ruins of the greek walls remain visible on the Promenade of Falcomatà which D’Annunzio described as the most beautiful kilometre in Italy. The Aragonese castle (XV cent.) was built on an already existing fortress in 1207. The cathedral was completely destroyed and rebuilt in the Romanesque style and houses a marble pulpit with bas-reliefs, tombs and some important paintings. The archaeological museum, with bronze tablets, constitutes the archives of the city of Locri. Inside you can find the head of Apollo, Greek and Byzantine coins, paintings by Mattia Preti and Antonello da Messina. But the real attractions that have become the symbol of the city are, without doubt, the Bronze Statues of the two Greek warriors in perfect physical shape, whose sculptor is unknown. They were found in the waters of Riace on August 16, 1972, probably because their ship was shipwrecked. Do not miss a stop at the legendary Scilla, a center perched on the slopes of a rocky outcrop, and known for its colourful houses built just above water level. The culinary tradition is based on sword fish caught by the few remaining “spatare” (old traditional boats). Also try the Cerasolo of Scilla a tasty wine produced on site.

Distance from the Resort: 105 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Proceed toward SS18. turn right into SS18. After 0.9 km turn left and remain on SS18. After 0.5 km enter the motorway A3 direction Reggio Calabria) and proceed for about 100 km untiil you reach Reggio Calabria.

Sila

It is a large plateau extending for about 2000 square kilometres in the central part of Calabria. Its woodland glades and streams reach an altitude of 1200 metres above sea level culminating in the Monte Botte Donato (1928 metres). It takes in part of the provinces of Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone. It is divided into three areas Sila Grande (center),Sila Piccola (south) Sila Greek (north). 75,700 hectares of the plateau is protected since 2001 by the Sila National Park. Its green forests constitute a microcosm to explore by hiking where you can observe not only the flora but also its rich fauna of wolf, fox, squirrels, dormice, otters and black woodpeckers.

Distance from the Resort: 123 km

HOW TO REACH IT
Motorway A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria direction SA. Get off at Cosenza and enter the SS 107 direction Spezzano Sila.

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