Tour of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in Calabria

Itinerary through authentic Calabrian villages

© Regione Calabria

Art and Culture

Small medieval towns, nestled between the coast and the hills, rich in history and traditions, artistic gems and welcoming communities. These are the characteristics that distinguish The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in Calabria.

There are 15 most beautiful villages in the region according to the prestigious national brand, which has surveyed them under the banner of the unmistakable red flag.

1. The villages in the province of Cosenza

The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in the province of Cosenza stretch from the Tyrrhenian to the Ionian Sea; from the sea to the forests of the Pollino National Park and the Sila National Park.

An itinerary to discover 8 of the most beautiful villages in Italy, starting from Aieta - a Pollino village embellished with churches and fine buildings - and ending in Rocca Imperiale, immersed in the orange blossom scent of the PGI Lemons of Rocca Imperiale and the panoramic view of the Ionian Sea.

Rocca imperiale
Regione Calabria

The itinerary then passes through the charms of Morano Calabro, also known as the "Crib Village" of the Pollino for the scenery gathered around the ruins of the Norman-Swabian Castle and the precious churches. Towards the south, Altomonte, "City of Bread" and "Slow City" with the Church of Santa Maria della Consolazione, one of the best examples of Calabrian Gothic-Angevin art.

Regione Calabria

The village of Buonvicino is centred around the figure of San Ciriaco Abate, to whom the Church of the Grotte di San Ciriaco, near the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Neve, is dedicated. The village is also home to the MAGB - Museo delle Arti e Gusto Buonvicino (Museum of Arts and Taste Buonvicino) and the Borgo dei Greci diffuse hotel.

On the Tyrrhenian coast is the "terrace on the sea" of Fiumefreddo Bruzio, an open-air museum of the works of the Sicilian artist Salvatore Fiume. The inland area is home to the Arbëreshë communities of Calabria (Italo-Albanian), among which the village of Civita shines, known for the particularity of the so-called "Case Kodra" (Kodra Houses), with their anthropomorphic façades. Finally, Oriolo and the beauty of its chapels and ancient noble palaces, identity museums and typical products.

Regione Calabria

2. Tropea and the Costa degli Dei

Along the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods), the stretch of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the province of Vibo Valentia, lies one of the most iconic of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy.

Capital of the renowned Cipolla Rossa di Tropea IGP Calabria and Blue Flag for its white coves overlooking an emerald sea, Tropea offers the beauty of an historic centre clinging to a tuffaceous promontory.

Walking all the way down the main street, animated by typical shops and restaurants, you reach one of the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean, facing the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola and the Aeolian Islands, with the famous beach below.

The alleyways around it are a maze of wonders: from the Cathedral to Palazzo Toraldo, passing by the numerous small churches, the Diocesan Museum and the Sedile di Portercole, the old Parliament of Nobles.

Vincenzo Stranieri

3. From the Greeks to the Byzantines: Bova, Gerace and Stilo

Among The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy along the Lower Ionian Sea, in the province of Reggio Calabria, we encounter three gems representative of different cultures, dominations and communities.

The capital of the so-called Bovesia, the Grecanica area of Calabria (one of the three regional ethnic minorities), where the ancient Greek language of Calabria is still spoken and rituals and traditions related to the Greek world are kept alive, is the village of Bova.

An old steam locomotive welcomes visitors to the main square. It is worth visiting the Cathedral of Santa Maria dell'Isodia and the buildings in the centre before wandering through the streets, discovering the Sentiero della Civiltà Contadina and the various museums: the "Gherard Rohlfs" Museum of the Greek-Calabra Language, the Aspromonte Museum of Palaeontology and Natural Sciences and the Archeoderi Park with the Bova Synagogue. Don't miss a taste of lestopizza and a visit on Palm Sunday, when the sacred procession of the so-called Persephones of Bova (or Pupazze) is celebrated.

Regione Calabria

The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy of Gerace and Stilo take us back to the Byzantine and Norman world.

Gerace finds its architectural symbol in the splendid Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, one of the largest in Byzantine-Norman Calabria. On the panoramic summit overlooking the valley, one can recognise the remains of the ancient Norman Castle, one of the most beautiful landscape views together with the Bombate (the ancient cannon area).

Stilo, the "City of the Sun" of Tommaso Campanella, is no less remarkable for its historical-architectural value and panoramic views. Famous for its Cattolica, a jewel of Basilian sacred architecture (11th century), it also boasts a beautiful Cathedral and the Abbey of San Giovanni Therestis. There are many gems scattered around the village: from the Dolphin Fountain to the house where the philosopher was born. Visitors to the village in August can watch the folkloristic Palio di Ribusa.

Regione Calabria

4. Badolato and the Costa dei Gelsomini

Among The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy in the province of Catanzaro, along the Costa dei Gelsomini (aka Riviera degli Angeli), Badolato stands out like a nativity scene on a hillside with its architectural landmark: the 17th-century Church of the Immacolata. The church, together with the Convento degli Angeli, represents one of the most important sacred buildings in the area.

There are numerous chapels hidden in the alleys of the village, also known as "Borgo Slow" because of its model of a welcoming community, capable of attracting new inhabitants from all over the world.

Don't miss the rites of Badolatese Holy Week.

Regione Calabria

5. The villages in the province of Crotone

Finally, among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy in the province of Crotone, Caccuri and Santa Severina open up to the valleys sloping towards the Upper Ionian Sea, amidst vineyards and olive groves and breathtaking gullies.

The Castle of Caccuri is identified today in the Mastrigli Tower. Inside, there is the Palatine Chapel dedicated to Santa Barbara. The most important religious building in the historical centre, besides the Chiesa Matrice, is the Church of Santa Maria del Soccorso (or of the Reform), attached to the Dominican Convent. The village is also famous for the presence of the Accademia dei Caccuriani, to which the important Caccuri Literary Prize belongs.

Regione Calabria

The Castle of Santa Severina is the other perfectly preserved fortress, now housing the Archaeological Museum. The village is in the shape of a "Stone Ship", enclosed by ancient walls around the central Piazza Campo, overlooked by the Cathedral of Santa Anastasia (13th century). Inside are the remains of a Baptistery considered the oldest Byzantine monument in Calabria. The Archbishop's Palace houses the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art.

Santa Severina
Regione Calabria

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Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 16, 2024 10:31 AM