Among the scents of citrus and licorice



Apr 3, 2022 6:40 AM

Travel information




Amici/Solo coppia

The Alto Ionio Cosentino is one of the most surprising places in Calabria, with unusual and still little known itineraries to discover. Among archaeological ruins, ancient castles, blue flag beaches, lush countryside and opportunities to enjoy delicious cuisine, this area is ideal for immersing yourself in the wildest Calabria without sacrificing comfort.

The itinerary is suitable for everyone, practicable by car and recommended in spring, summer and autumn.

Food tips

n Calabria, besides the production of artisanal pasta, rice is also cultivated: the rice field of the Sibari plain is the most southern in Italy, therefore the most sunny, with an alluvial and naturally brackish soil. This particular combination of soil and microclimate gives Sibari rice unique organoleptic qualities. In the past, this rice was resold to producers in Northern Italy, but since 2006 the entire production phase has been managed on site, from sowing to packaging, and finally to sales, thus allowing the complete control of the entire supply chain, in order to guarantee the final consumer a totally Calabrian product with superior quality and characteristics. Usually, because of its low consistency, it is not recommended for risottos, but it is an excellent choice in preparations such as soups, timbales, croquettes, arancine and desserts.

In Calabria is concentrated about 80% of the Italian production of licorice. This plant comes from the coastal area and the area of major processing is located in the municipalities of Rossano and Corigliano, in the province of Cosenza. Licorice has always been a source of value and wealth for Calabria, especially thanks to the Duke of Corigliano, who founded the first factory of the kind in 1715. The product, in the variety called "Cordara" in Calabria, obtained the DOP certification in 2011.

The IGP lemon, cultivated since ancient times in the territory of Rocca Imperiale, is known as Antico or Nostrano di Rocca Imperiale. The fruit of this lemon, of an intense yellow color and with an extraordinary fragrance, is unique and differs significantly from all other lemons. It has an elongated shape, is almost seedless, juicy, with an excellent scent and a pleasant flavor. Rocca boasts the most important production of lemons in the province of Cosenza and the upper Ionian Sea: since 2001, the lemon growers of Rocca Imperiale have come together in a consortium to protect and enhance the Lemon Rocca Imperiale, starting the process for the recognition of PGI, then obtained in 2011.

A cross between bitter orange and mandarin, clementines probably originated in Algeria. Cultivated in Italy since the '30s, they have found one of their ideal habitats in Calabria, where, in 1992, they became Clementine di Calabria IGP. This fruit and vegetable product is mainly cultivated in the plain areas of Sibari and Corigliano in the province of Cosenza, in the Lamezia Plain in the province of Catanzaro, in the Gioia Tauro-Rosarno Plain and in the Locride area in the province of Reggio Calabria. Clementine di Calabria IGP, for their goodness, are generally consumed in their natural state, but they are also very used in the preparation of sorbets, juices, syrups and jams.

Stop 1 - Rocca Imperiale

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The name of the village of Rocca Imperiale, kingdom of the fragrant IGP lemons famous throughout the world, derives from the manor built in 1255 by Frederick II of Swabia, a source of inspiration also for the director Pupi Avati. 
In August, Rocca becomes an even more poetic city thanks to a literary festival that leaves its mark: the winning poem is printed on a precious majolica and affixed to a house in the town, so that year after year the walls of the houses become the pages of a three-dimensional book that collects all the poems. 
At just four kilometers from the historic center of Rocca we find the sea: seven kilometers of beach alternating with pebbles and rocks.

Stop 2 - Roseto Capo Spulico

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One of the most enchanting places of this stretch of coast is Roseto Capo Spulico, which leaves you speechless thanks to its stone castle, one of the largest in Calabria, of Norman origin and rebuilt at the behest of Frederick II. Roseto was, at the time of Magna Graecia, one of the satellite cities of Sybaris and there they cultivated roses, whose petals were used to fill the mattresses on which the Sybarites slept. 
Finished admiring the castle, overlooking the sea, you go down to the beach: the waters that lap the white pebbles and gravel have received several times the coveted Blue Flag recognition. Here there is also one of the symbols of the Calabrian sea, the famous Scoglio dell'Incudine, not far from the beach, in front of the castle, one of the most loved and photographed sceneries.

Stop 3 - Terranova da Sibari

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Continuing the exploration, here is still follow each other beaches of golden sand and pebbles, crystal clear sea: these elements so peculiar make Sibari a true paradise, where, in some segments, the beach can widen up to almost 100 meters. 
The coast is located in the area of the Foce del Crati nature reserve and the area is also known for its archaeological excavations, whose findings are preserved in the Archaeological Park of Sybaris and in the National Archaeological Museum of the Sibaritide, tangible and superb evidence of a glorious past, when Sybaris was the queen of Magna Graecia.

Stop 4 - Corigliano-Rossano

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Once past the artificial lakes, you come across the majesty of Corigliano Calabro, which appears to the eyes as a charming village perched on a hill, with one of the most evocative and admired historical centers of Italy. The most iconic place of the village is undoubtedly the Ducal Castle, a fortress dating back to the eleventh century but perfectly preserved. Roberto il Guiscardo was the commissioner of this true icon of the Calabrian city: still today inside the palace it is possible to admire numerous frescos, statues, stained glass windows of notable value and beauty, as well as new and original architectural solutions. Corigliano also has a number of impressive religious buildings, such as the Church of Sant'Antonio da Padova, a 15th-century building attached to the nearby Franciscan convent, and the 16th-century Church of San Francesco da Paola, also attached to the convent. 
The waters of the Ionian Sea bathe the seaside village of Corigliano: the beaches of Schiavonea are one of the favourite destinations of foreign tourists wishing to fully enjoy one of the most unspoilt stretches of coastline in southern Italy.

Stop 5 - Corigliano-Rossano

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A little further on you come to Rossano Calabro, in the easternmost part of the beautiful Sibari plain, between Sila and the Ionian coast. The town of Rossano has recently officially joined with Corigliano to form one of the region's largest tourist and commercial centres. 
Rossano is the home of liquorice, as well as the seat of the famous Liquorice Museum, of the variety known in Calabria as Cordara. An ideal destination for hiking enthusiasts, Rossano is also the custodian of a precious treasure: the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, a purple parchment manuscript of the New Testament, of extraordinary biblical and religious, artistic, palaeographic, historical and documentary interest, preserved in the city's Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art. Also worth a visit is the Church of the Panaghìa, a tiny Byzantine building hidden in a cluster of old houses behind the Cathedral. On the edge of a cliff, at the south-eastern end, stands the Church of San Marco Evangelista, one of the most interesting Byzantine buildings in Calabria.