A trip to Badolato, one of the Most Beautiful Villages in Italy

Discover Badolato (village and seaside), on the Ionian coast of Catanzaro

© Nicola Coroniti

Living slow

Among the most popular destinations in Ionian Calabria, Badolato (Catanzaro) is the perfect destination for those who love slow tourism and holidays that combine sea, history and local traditions.

From the Marina (Badolato) to Badolato Borgo (or Badolato Superiore) one crosses an area rich in naturalistic charm, popular stories, and unmissable events all year round.

Let's discover together the fascinating history of Badolato, which was transformed from a "village for sale" into a "buen retiro" for artists and foreigners, and into one of The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in Calabria.

Tour of the village of Badolato

Badolato is a small medieval village dating back to the 17th century, still characterised by the presence of numerous churches, the most spectacular of which is undoubtedly the Church of Addolorata, in a panoramic position at the foot of the village.

It can be seen immediately, going up the hairpin bends that lead from Marina di Badolato to the historic centre on the hill. A true symbol of an ancient devotion, this splendid little church is linked to Badolato's most important religious event: the famous Holy Week (with particular reference to the rites of Holy Saturday), during which the Addolorata Church and the streets of the village of Badolato are filled with hundreds of figures re-enacting the Passion of Christ.

Sabato Santo Badolato
Regione Calabria

Badolato's 14 churches, arranged in the shape of a Latin cross, were the epicentre of a life that meandered through narrow alleys, panoramic squares overlooking the sea and noble palaces.

Among these, Palazzo Gallelli (not to be confused with the Castle of the same name further down the valley, among the Historic Houses of Calabria) has recently been renovated and returned to the community as a venue for exhibitions and displays.

Regione Calabria

Badolato's history is full of episodes of social redemption and provocative initiatives, such as the one that brought it to national attention in the 1970s as a "village for sale" an extreme attempt to repopulate the village of Badolato. As fate would have it, a few decades later it was foreigners who repopulated the old abandoned houses: the Kurdish migrants of the first wave and, more recently, northern European foreigners who have chosen it as an artistic retreat and "slow village".

Today, having become a symbol of the most authentic Calabrian hospitality, Badolato is among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and a film set that attracts film directors and film enthusiasts every year (the forerunner was the great German director Wim Wenders).

A destination for experiential tourism, Badolato offers proposals for "active holidays" in contact with nature and the local community: from olive harvesting with milling to sheep shearing.

Badolato olive
Guerino Nisticò

Typical tastings not to be missed in the village of Badolato? Those based on local wine, cold cuts and cheeses to be consumed directly in the characteristic "catoj", the ancient warehouses where food was once stored and wine was made, which open to visitors during religious festivals and in summer.

Discovering Badolato Marina

Badolato is also crystal-clear sea that bathes a beach of small pebbles and sand among the most beautiful on the Ionian coast of Catanzaro.

The Marina of Badolato is an intact ecosystem that still preserves the Mediterranean maquis and typical dune vegetation in the stretches of free beach. Here you can decide whether to rely on the services and comforts of the bathing establishments, or enjoy the coastline on your own, from camping on the beach to diving and hang-gliding.

Regione Calabria

The uncontaminated nature of this coastline, between the Costa dei Gelsomini and the Costa degli Aranci, is confirmed by the fact that, every year, the Mediterranean Caretta Caretta turtles choose it for nesting, laying their eggs here, which volunteers protect until hatching (which can be witnessed, at night, with extreme discretion).

Badolato Marina offers a beautiful seafront promenade on which to stroll, play outdoor sports and enjoy an aperitif overlooking the sea.

Summer events not to be missed in Badolato? Certainly the Badolato Tarantella Festival.

Those who visit Badolato all year round can count on the rich theatrical programme of the Municipal Theatre (Badolato Marina) run by the "Teatro del Carro" company, one of the few theatrical residences in Calabria that hosts dozens of national artists.


Last update: Jun 11, 2024 10:35 AM