A trip to the Costa degli Aranci in Calabria

Discover the itinerary dedicated to the legendary Orange Coast
Cz-Soverato-Tramonto 001[Elisabetta Cirianni]

© Elisabetta Cirianni

Naturalistic

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Discover the itinerary dedicated to the legendary Costa degli Aranci (Calabria), the Ionian coast in the province of Catanzaro that smells of citrus fruits and gives you the magic of sunrise over the sea.

Costa degli Aranci, where exactly is it located? It stretches between the pristine, sandy beaches of Santa Caterina dello Ionio in the south and Sellia Marina in the north, passing through the enchanting Hippocampus Bay (Soverato) and the dreamy little beaches of Copanello, Caminia and Pietragrande (Stalettì and Montauro) in the Gulf of Squillace.

Costa degli Aranci, beaches and sea that boast Blue Flags and Green Flags (i.e. "childproof") among the most renowned in Calabria, but also archaeological sites, medieval castles and perched historic centres that are part of the The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy circuit.  

Relax amidst cliffs and golden coves, and enjoy sampling the typical products and good fish from the gulf, which boasts a delicious local shrimp.

Costa degli Aranci, what to see? You'll be spoilt for choice! Don't miss the archaeological sites a stone's throw from the beach and a visit to the historic centre of Catanzaro, the "sea-mountains" regional capital.

Tappa 1 - Badolato

Vai alla destinazione

After a swim in the nearby town of Santa Caterina dello Ionio (Green Flag) and a visit to the Sant'Antonio Tower and the historic centre, we move on to the now famous 17th-century village of Badolato, listed among "The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy"

A town along the Costa degli Aranci that boasts numerous confraternities and Baroque churches (not to be missed is the Church of the Immacolata, lying at the foot of the village like a nativity scene). Badolato offers the beauty of several historical buildings enriched by granite portals and the peace of the Convent of the Angels, on the hill opposite the old town, in a panoramic position. 

Having become famous in the 1990s for the provocation of the "village for sale" and for the very first landings of the Kurdish community in Calabria, Badolato is also famous for two very popular events: Badolato's evocative Holy Week (in particular the Holy Saturday procession and the Cumprùnta on Easter Sunday) and the historic "Tarantella Power" in August, a folk music festival created in collaboration with the singer Piero Pelù.

Tappa 2 - Soverato

Vai alla destinazione

The so-called "Pearl of the Ionian Sea" is the second stop on the itinerary along the Costa degli Aranci in Calabria. The city of Soverato is the jewel of the Gulf of Squillace and boasts a stretch of crystal-clear sea, Blue Flag and Green Flag, included in the "Bay of Soverato" Regional Marine Park.

Soverato Bay, famous for being pet friendly, is also known as Hippocampus Bay, due to the rare presence of seahorses. Here, snorkelling and diving enthusiasts find a true underwater paradise to explore, as well as the good fortune of seeing frequent dolphin crossings.

Soverato is one of the most popular locations for young people because of the evening and nightlife in all seasons and the places where they can enjoy the prized local shrimp and other seafood specialities.

Among the places not to be missed are a visit to the Church of the Addolorata, in the historic centre of Soverato Superiore (in a hilly position), inside which you can admire a precious 15th-century Pietà by the Sicilian sculptor Antonello Gagini, and a regenerating walk to the "Santicelli" Botanical Garden, on the Panoramic Road

Tappa 3 - Stalettì

Vai alla destinazione

Travelling along the Costa degli Aranci, unmissable beaches such as those of Stalettì are truly a natural paradise you would not expect.

The locality of Caminia, one of the most fascinating on the coast along the Copanello Promontory, is a corner of paradise that alternates a long stretch of free beach with a few equipped establishments. The sea is calm and protected by reefs, ideal for day and night dives.

A perfect place to explore even on a sailing trip, Caminia offers the charms of the St Gregory's Cave, the remains of the Panaja Church and the so-called Cassiodorus Pools, named after the senator Flavius Magnus Aurelius Cassiodorus (Scolacium, 485-580), who founded his Vivarium Monastery in this gulf in Byzantine times. The ancient pools in which fish were bred are now fantastic warm-water pools.

Not to be missed in the surrounding area? The Rock of Pietragrande, in the neighbouring municipality of Montauro, the majestic cliff that attracts adrenalin-diving enthusiasts (13 metres high). In the same area, just further up the hill, is the so-called Gràngia di Montauro, an ancient Cistercian estate.

Tappa 4 - Squillace

Vai alla destinazione

One cannot leave the Costa degli Aranci and the Gulf of Squillace without visiting the bishop's town from which the gulf itself takes its name, among the coast's Green Flags.

Squillace, among the so-called "Cassiodorus' places" is also one of the richest cities in Calabria in terms of history and archaeology. Seat of the episcopal diocese, it boasts a historic centre perched on a hill that offers one of the most beautiful views of the Costa degli Aranci. From the top of the Norman Castle you can enjoy an incomparable view and discover the medieval history of the town, which also passes through the monumental Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.

Known to most as the "City of Ceramics", on account of its famous artistic ceramics, Squillace still boasts several craft workshops, mainly active in the historic centre. 

Tappa 5 - Borgia

Vai alla destinazione

After having mentioned Senator Cassiodorus and his places several times, we come to what was his birthplace in antiquity: Scolacium, in the present-day territory of Roccelletta di Borgia, the seaside hamlet of Borgia, the fifth and unmissable stop along the Costa degli Aranci.

The leap back in time takes place in the rural and relaxing atmosphere of the Scolacium National Archaeological Park, one of Calabria's most important archaeological parks. The symbol of the site are the ruins of the great 11th century Norman basilica, consecrated to Santa Maria della Roccella. The route through the park encompasses the remains of the Roman city of Scolacium, i.e. the Forum, the public area that includes the baths, the remains of a small temple, a monumental fountain and a courthouse. From this area come most of the statues and portraits that can be admired in the adjoining Archaeological Museum.

Those wishing to discover the historical centre of Borgia will not be disappointed, as it is full of grand noble palaces, churches and monuments.

Tappa 6 - Sellia Marina

Vai alla destinazione

The town of Sellia Marina, a must-see Blue Flag along the Costa degli Aranci, welcomes us as the final stop on the route, not before stopping a little in the nightlife of the Catanzaro marina, aka Catanzaro Lido (another Blue Flag).

Awaiting us is a backdrop of Mediterranean scrub and pines, with the first offshoots of the Sila National Park in the background. The beach, with its fine sand, stretches for several kilometres, alternating between freely accessible stretches and equipped lidos. The gem of Sellia Marina? The Caves of Sand, in the locality of Uria.

Not to be missed are the De Seta Palace and Chapel, in the town of the same name, where it is also possible to visit the original Lambretta Museum: dedicated to the famous Italian brand, it houses numerous examples of the Made in Italy jewel in vogue from the 1950s onwards.

Ultimo aggiornamento: Mar 26, 2024 3:39 PM