Catanzaro and its province

The province of Catanzaro is located between two seas: the Ionian on the east and the Tyrrhenian on the west. It is delimited by the Sila and the Serre Calabresi. The Isthmus of Catanzaro is situated at the centre of the territory of this province, it is a narrow valley of 18.6 mi which joins the the Gulf of Squillace and the coast of Sant'Eufemia. It’s the narrowest point on the entire Italian peninsula. Its history is linked to the colonization of Magna Grecia (great Greece) by the Greeks. They called the inhabitants of this area "Italoi," which is related to the name of King Italo: under the Emperor Augustus Calabria took the name of Italia, later the rest of the Peninsula was called Italia. Today the area between Catanzaro and Soverato in the centre of the Gulf of Squillace is well known for its enchanting landscape: rocky coast alternates with long white sandy beaches. In the territory of Catanzaro there are two tourist areas: the Ionian Coast, which is famous for maritime tourism, and the Sila, important for mountainous tourism. Cortale, Taverna and Tiriolo are situated on the slopes of Sila.

What to see

The city of Catanzaro has many interesting monuments: the Cathedral, the Church “dell'Osservanza”, or Santa Teresa, where in the interior there is the 16th century Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre and a statue of "Madonna delle Grazie" by Antonello Gagini; the church of Sant'Omobono (11th or 12th century), the Norman Tower; Villa Trieste, surrounded by wonderful gardens. From the Belvedere you can admire the Fiumarella Valley and the Gulf of Squillace. The Museo Provinciale, in the Villa Comunale, hosts prehistoric finds and ancient coin collections.
Soverato is a very famous bathing site visited by many tourists for its clear water, the sandy beach and the animated nightlife. Montepaone Lido is another tourist site that overlooks the Costa dei Saraceni, also known as Costa degli Aranci. In the famous archaeological site of Scolacium, in the municipality of Borgia, you can see the remains of the pre-Roman settlement of Skylletion: there are rests of the streets, aqueducts, a mausoleum, a theatre and an amphitheatre. The historic centre of Squillace has numerous monumental churches and a Norman castle called “Dei Borgia”. Cortale is a village located in the narrowest point of Calabria, it has a very old historic centre and is known for its musical-artistic tradition. The village of Belcastro is situated on a rocky spur, with the Norman castle at the top. The castle was owned by Counts D’Aquino and according to some local historians it was the birthplace of St. Thomas of Aquinas (1226). The historic centre of the village is a typical medieval centre, with narrow streets and new areas in the lower part.

What to do

The Province of Catanzaro is famous for maritime tourism, thus there is a wide choice of aquatic sports to practise: diving, wind surf, and water-skiing, but also you can go jogging or take bicycle excursions along the coast. The nightlife in the Gulf of Squillace is vibrant: there are many discos and clubs. In the heart of the National Park of Sila Piccola, precisely Zagarise, there is an adventure park which offers many activities: trekking, mountain-biking, orienteering, and climbing.

What to taste

The local cuisine is made of simple and genuine ingredients: whole wheat bread, think olive oil, hot pepper (peperoncino). Famous local dishes are: the “pasta chjna”, a pasta filled with provola cheese, boiled eggs, soppressata and dressed with meat sauce and grated cheese; and the “ciambrotta”, a vegetarian dish made with pasta and a dressing of fried eggs and pecorino cheese. As second course you can taste “u murzeddhu”, a special tripe cooked in a spicy sauce and served in a “pitta”, a typical round-shaped focaccia bread. The “stigghiole” are entrails of kid, veal or pork cooked with tomatoes, vegetables and chili peppers. Sausages like the “soppressata” are very tasty, such as cheeses like the “butirri”, a caciocavallo with butter inside. The “crocette” are typical pastries made of dry figs filled with nuts, cinnamon and candied cedar cooked in the oven. The pastries are served with the local Malvasia wine.

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