Stalettì is a municipality in the province of Catanzaro in a privileged area where the mountain merges with the sea in a dreamlike setting. But there’s more to the Stalettì area than the splendid sea.
The elevated position of the majestic promontory named ‘Coscia di Stalettì’ (the Stalettì thigh), which extends into the water of Copanello, and the dominating position in the Gulf of Squillace give breathtaking panoramic views.
Embedded in the rocks of the cliffs, there are some archeological remains of great charm and attractiveness.
The elevated area features woods and Mediterranean scrub, and suggestive slopes with a wild, barren appearance. There are old paths leading from the village to the sea.
The many architectural-religious works of the municipality include the mother church, dedicated to Santa Maria del Suffragio and now almost a ruin. It seems to have been part of a military system, a defensive post for one of the access roads to the residential area leading down to the sea. The church in the original layout was small and was destroyed by the earthquake of 1783 but was then rebuilt and enlarged by the Cassa Sacra (a body set up by Calabria Ulteriore to manage expropriated ecclesiastical assets for investment in the reconstruction). The Abbey of S. Gregorio was founded between the era of Cassiodorus and the early mediaeval period and attracted the monastic world. It, too, was damaged by the earthquake of 1783 and, after re-adaptation and restoration work, it became a Friars Minor monastery in 1891. There is the church of the Immacolata in the village, worked in stone by local stonemasons. The façade shows admirable geometric balance and has a doorway in grey granite, following the tradition of the historical period that the particular conformation of the tympanum above it is attributed to. There is a single nave inside with an attractive barrel-vaulted ceiling with some frescoes, and an altar in multi-coloured marble with the statue of the Madonna Immacolata in the centre. Alongside the church of the Immacolata, there is the church of the Rosario, a building with a simple geometric conformation, a gabled façade with a wide gable and four Doric and Ionic half-pillars carved in local stone. The doorway is also carved in granite finely worked by local stonemasons. Other places not to miss are the well-known beach, mainly accessed from the sea, the Torre del Palombaro (the deep-sea diver’s tower) very popular with divers or people taking a boat or pedalo trip who want to have a swim in the pure water.
Caminìa di Stalettì
Caminìa is a well-known resort in the Stalettì area, on the Ionian coast of Calabria, the stretch defined as Costa degli Aranci (the Orange Coast). Caminìa beach consists of a soft area of golden sand encircled by granite cliffs that extend into the water at the two ends of the beach, creating an attractive scenario of unique beauty. Some archaeological finds are preserved in the cliffs such as the ruins of the old church of Panaja and the cave in front of the sea where, according to tradition, the remains of St Gregory arrived. The so-called Torrazzo cliff defines Caminìa beach; this imposing granite cliff rises towards the sky from the sea, creating an appealing, spectacular scenario. There are lots of archaeological finds, the watchtower, and centuries old lime furnaces in Caminìa bay, indicating its historic value, chosen as a happy, secure landing place since olden times. Young people love Caminìa as it has plenty of night life to animate summer nights. The vicinity of Soverato and other beautiful resorts in the province of Catanzaro, such as Copanello, Squillace and Montepaone Lido, means that there is not only a lot of entertainment on offer but also the chance to explore an area full of culture and art, from Squillace to Crotone or south from Stilo to Reggio Calabria. The beautiful Parco Archeologico Scoliacium (Scoliacium Archaeological Park) of Roccelletta di Borgia providing a walk through past centuries is a stone’s throw from Caminìa.
The famous Cassiodorus’s tanks, between Caminia and Copanello and where the ancient Romans bred moray eels, can be visited. They have very white sandy bottoms. These natural tanks were used for fish farming and belonged to Cassiodorus’s Vivarium, the monastery founded in 555 AD. The Vivarium wasn’t just a place of prayer but mainly an important research laboratory and study centre, known throughout Europe in the Mediaeval period and a meeting point for travellers and scholars. The rocky arches, dens and creeks where sea bass, sea bream and even groupers can shelter make the area a real paradise for dives, particularly nocturnal ones.
Wine and food
The Stalettì area is on the Strada dei Sapori Cassiodorei (The Cassiodorus flavour road), a protected wine and food route that preserves local products, promoting their distribution. Olive groves, orchards and wild herbs - everything that’s needed to flavour typical local cuisine moves along this route. The scent of oregano and the taste of the capers that accompany the real flagship product of the area, organic oil, is effused on this road. And let’s not forget the asparagus and wild fennel, whose spring leaves are used to season first courses. The capers on the road are selected from the flower when it is still tightly closed. They are then kept in salt so that the aroma can be released when the fruit is mature, becoming part of a thousand traditional recipes. The wild asparagus reaches tables after harvesting from the hedgerows close to nursery gardens and orchards. Fennel, also wild and whose flowers and seeds are used for flavouring various dishes, grows everywhere at the sides of country paths. The whole oregano plant is picked while still in flower; the bunches are then hung up in the shade to dry before use in the kitchen.
Via Fazzari, 2, Stalettì