Faith, religion, beauty and extraordinary moments! Today we are going to visit one of the few cities in the world that offers us all this as if it were a blessing package! We’re talking about Paola! So, let’s do it! Here at Traveling to Calabria you make the trip of your dreams!!! Are you staying in Calabria? Looking for a hotel? Click here and discover best accommodation options in Calabria!
A little more about Paola…
Paola is a famous seaside resort on the Cedars Riviera. The stretch of coast that characterizes it consists of wide beaches and a clear sea. It is the most important center of the high Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, both: because it is located around the monastery of St. Francis and because of its connection with the railway and the highway to Cosenza. The site takes place on the levels towards the hill, overlooking the railway, putting the last houses along the beach. The commercial area is built around the railway station and the city alternates the historical area up to the hill where, at the top, stands the Sanctuary of St. Francis, and the seafront, on the beach. It is also a large shopping center besides also possessing a great historical patrimony.
1) Paola and her Sanctuary: VISITE THE BIRTHPLACE OS ST. FRANCIS
This little town is best known for being the birthplace of St. Francis, who was born in 1416 into a family of farmers. St. Francis is the patron of Calabria and the sailors. In addition to the Sanctuary it is interesting to visit the Abbey complex of Badia-Luta, which in the Middle Ages saw King Richard, the Lionheart, pass along for his way to a long journey that would take him to the Holy Land.
2) Paola and her Sanctuary: VISIT THE CASTLE RUINS AND OTHER ATTRACTIONS
As well a must see are the ruins of the Castle Norman-Suevo, which are characterized by the octagonal room, where there are old ‘segments’ of Islamic inspiration. Another interesting aspect is walking through the labyrinth of streets in the old town, to observe the Squares, buildings and picturesque fountains. To complete the panoramic tour you cannot forget the birthplace of St. Francis of Paola; the Cathedral, the monastery of St. Agostino, 1145 (the oldest Augustinian settlement in Calabria), the Clock Tower and the Underground Church, where there is the small Byzantine coffin considered one of the most precious of humanity.
3) Paola and her Sanctuary: TAKE THE WAY TO SÃO FRANCISCO DE PAULA
We have said that, in any case, this important center of the Cedars Riviera has inseparably linked its history with that of San Francisco de Paola. The religious itinerary offers different places of worship in ancient churches and in the sanctuary of San Francisco de Paula, which is the symbol of the Calabrian faith and is also characterized by its religious paths. The Way of St. Francis of Paula, for example, is an unforgettable experience, on the Saint of the Pauline steps, immersed in nature and history, with pleasant enogastronomic stops.
What you’ll find…
These itineraries follow the footsteps of the Saint of Paola and link some of the places that still hold the essence of the life and preaching of Francis. Making the ways of the Saint can be seen as a personal challenge, an adventure, a spiritual journey, a space for research and discovery, fatigue and rebirth, joy, crisis and peace, miles of a long, but rich, humanity divine, grandiose and intimate.
The San Francisco trip is an idea born of a slow and fascinating rediscovery of the Calabrian Mountains, under the seal of the Hikers of the Pauline Apennines. Even today, much of Paola’s tourism is closely linked to the pilgrimages that come from all over Italy.
4) Paola and her Sanctuary: VISIT THE ST. FRANCIS THE SANCTUARY
The St. Francis the Sanctuary is dedicated, which is a delicate and fascinating mix of Renaissance and Baroque constructions, built in an isolated position in the Isco gorge. On the frontage, overlooking the square, you can distinguish the two styles, on the top. The huge complex is a short distance from the top of Paola.
The Sanctuary attractions
It is a cloister of the fifteenth century, with vaults from which it passes to the convent of the ‘Mínimos’. The convent is rich in numerous works of art from the 17th and 18th centuries; inside there is a library that houses precious manuscripts, scrolls and rare books. To the right of the Cathedral, you can follow an itinerary of places that recall the miracles performed by St. Francis. The itinerary includes a visit to the Oven of Miracles, where the friar raised flames of the lamb Martino, the Cucchiarella, a fountain where the water always maintains the same level, the Devil’s Bridge, the Saint’s Cave and the stone pendulum that was stopped by St. Francis while he was falling.
The chapel houses the relics of 1595. Exciting is the patron saint’s feast, from May 1st to May 4th; every year, religious rites take place in the city, party in the blocks and a trade fair, which makes fascinating the busy streets of the city.
How to get there?
Getting to Paola is simple; the city is well served by both: road and rail connections. Getting to Paola is very simple, thanks to several road links. The train station links all the lines, those national and local. By road there is the A3 Salerno – Reggio Calabria, take the Falerna exit (for those arriving from the South) and continue on the way to Amantea for about 45 km. For those coming from the North, you can take the exit Cosenza Nord and then the SS107, which takes you to the exit for Paola or Spezzano Terme, for those arriving from the North, continue on the SS283 to Guardia Piemontese Marina and then take the national road 107.
1) How to get there? BY PLANE
It is possible to get to Paola by plane, thanks to the airport of Lamezia Terme.
2) How to get there? BY TRAIN
The train stations are connected to all lines, both national and local.
3) How to get there? BY CAR
If you use the A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria, the recommended exit, for those coming from the north, is Terme Spezzano, then follow the SS 283 highway until Terme Luigia- Guardia Piemontese Marina and then follow the SS 18 to the coast of Paola. Coming from the south, exit at Cosenza Nord, and take the SS 107 through the tunnel under the Passo della Crocetta; then just enter a scenic and spectacular descent to the coast, which leads to Paola. If you want to enjoy the coast with serenity, you can leave in Falerna and ascend north by Amantea.
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IMPORTANT TO KNOW!
Remember that to drive in Italy it is MANDATORY to have the International Driving License, the famous IDP (International Driving Permit). The certificate is not issued in Italian, but it is accepted in English! The IDP lasts 180 days (it depends where you live) and is issued by the Traffic Department of your country (if you have the European Driver License, you don’t need to worry about it!).
At the end of this text we can only add that the beauty of the sea, the landscapes of the mountains that surround it, the Sanctuary and St. Francis, that protects it from the top, combined with the hospitality of its people, makes the city of Paola one of the best interesting tourist destinations of the Tyrrhenian coast.
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