Romantic itinerary through the gullies of the Calabrian Ionian coast

The Calabrian gullies between history, poetry and nature
Raffaele Marino (2)

© Raffaele Marino

Sport and nature

Ancient geological formations, the result of soil erosion caused by rainwater runoff on clay, the Calabrian gullies on the Ionian coast are deep furrows in the hillside, sloping down to the sea between gentle Mediterranean dunes.

Calabria's gullies enchant visitors who encounter them for the first time, projecting them into the atmosphere of a truly unexpected moonscape, which is why they lend themselves to a couple's outing or a romantic itinerary lasting several days.

No wonder, then, that these timeless panoramas have captivated and inspired the creativity of artists, painters, filmmakers and poets.

The Calanchi of Cutro and the Marchesato Crotonese

The Calanchi of Cutro and the Marchesato Crotonese are today a naturalistic environment of great value, halfway between the sea and the Presila in the province of Crotone.

A place brought to the attention of the collective imagination by the writer Pier Paolo Pasolini in the 1950s, who loved it deeply and first described it on the occasion of his famous trip to southern Italy, stopping along the State Road 106 Ionica, enraptured by what he later described as "dunes imagined by Kafka".

An expanse of clay with iridescent hues, the perfect setting for a film, as in fact happened after Pasolini's trip to Calabria, which made it the set for The Gospel according to St. Matthew (1964).

Equally perfect for literary and naturalistic excursions, in pairs and groups, under the expert guidance of the local associations that have known how to enhance them, in the name of the poetry that the purity of these places still arouses today.

Calanchi Marchesato
Raffaele Marino

The Calanchi of Guardavalle

Proceeding south along the Calabrian Middle Ionian Sea and the province of Catanzaro, the tongue of sand bordering the SS 106 joins the Mediterranean dunes that characterise the Calanchi of Guardavalle on the opposite side.

Same geomorphologic conformation but different panoramic context for this splendid clayey valley that, from the marina, leads to the historic centre of Guardavalle, clinging to the high ground and rich in buildings and fine views.

A natural hinge between the sea and the town, the Calanchi of Guardavalle draw an enchanted scenario, which lends itself to excursions, nature treks and highly suggestive events (also at night) organised by local associations, such as tastings under the moon and recitals.

Calanchi di Guardavalle
Giulia Montepaone - Weresouth

The Calanchi of Palizzi

Finally, having reached the province of Reggio Calabria and the last fragrant stretch of the Costa dei Gelsomini, we stop in front of the sinuous White Gullies of Palizzi.

The White Gullies of Palizzi represent a precious and protected ecosystem, as a Site of Community Interest (SIC). We are in the environment close to the beach where Caretta Caretta turtles nest annually, thus in a naturalistic context of delicate beauty.

This photographic scenery is formed by a stratification of marly limestones and light clays that, in places, take on blue hues, surrounded by typical dune and Mediterranean vegetation.

Palizzi calanchi
Vincenzo Stranieri

What to see in the surroundings? Obviously the historical centre of Palizzi Superiore, where the fortress with the ancient Palizzi Castle stands.

Finally, let's not forget that Palizzi is a "Wine City", since its territory is the habitat of the autochthonous vine from which the prized Palizzi TGI wine is made, perfect for a candlelight toast as a couple.

Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 15, 2024 11:26 AM