Abandoned cities attract our attention, mainly, for their history, but Pentedattilo also attracts our attention for its unusual beauty. Today we are going to visit the most beautiful ghost town in Italy: Pentedattilo! 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 Pentedattilo
Anyone who thinks that the holiday in Calabria is just relaxing on the beach at the edge of the sea is deceiving. There are many hidden and magical places that attract tourists, in this beautiful, but judicious land, called Calabria. Among the many places, we cannot forget about Pentedattillo, the city that walks. Pentedattilo is a small town in the province of Reggio Calabria, situated on a cliff of Calvario’s Mount and has a characteristic shape that looks like a hand with five fingers, hence the name ‘Pena Daktylos’, which means five fingers.
It is a small town, between the mountains of Aspromonte, linked to the legend of ghosts and stories of betrayed loves, where time seems to have stopped, it remains, in any case, one of the most fascinating and mysterious places; the one of the most characteristic centers of the Grecanica Area. The city abandoned by its inhabitants, due to migration and continuous natural threats, such as earthquakes and floods was, for a long time, known as the most spectacular ghost town on the Calabrian coast.
Pentedattilo was defined by Edward Lear, a traveler from the 1800s as ‘the strangest human habitation’ for its eccentric splendor, in his ‘Diary of a Calabrian walking journey’ (free translation) during his Calabrian voyage, in 1847. Today, however, the stone built and decorated with figs burned by the sun, have become hospitality lodgings, all thanks to a network placed together to save this jewel of the final abandonment.
The thanks go to the Association Pro Pentedattilo, the Agency of Cities in solidarity with the Foundation’s support with the South, the European Community and the hundred people who arrive every year through the Fields of Legality ‘Arci e Libera’; the city came back to life, and is returning to life thanks to the many craft workshops and cultural events such as the Paleariza itinerant festival and the Pentedattilo Film Festival.
Today only one person lives permanently there, but the victory is that many houses were transformed, creating work for the artisans and artists of the province of Melito Porto Salvo. There are, for example, the workshops of joinery, ceramics, glass and the Museum of popular traditions, to name a few. In the summer months many events are organized regarding music, theater and photography.
The rare scenic beauty
All that to demonstrate that this ghost town, in addition to offering rare scenic beauty, has as much more to show as a cultural as well as sustainable place. And as with respectable hands, especially in those that have reached a considerable mature age, it has marks between its roads, between its houses and, as Italo Calvino wrote: ‘Its past is written in the streets, in each segment marked by scratches, signs, notches’.
It is incredible how this city is passed as a strategic place and the center of Mediterranean life, in the Greek-Roman age, to a city completely abandoned in the 60s, going through earthquakes and other various phenomena. Fortunately, however, in the early 1990s Pentedattilo’s rebirth began. Today, the old city has attracted travelers and tourists because of the work of some associations and many people who love the picturesque beauty of this territory. Is magnificent be able to immerse again in the unique atmosphere of Pentedattilo.
The Saints Peter and Paul and the Church of Candelaria
Walking inward, one feels a special peace, and breathes that veil of mystery that always permeates, even observing from a distance, resembling a crib carved in the rock. The little old houses reorganized and little shops help to tell what was seen; visiting the parish church of Saints Peter and Paul, incredibly beautiful and that was recovered a few years ago, with its old bell tower, and the Church of Candelaria.
Museum of Popular Traditions
Getting lost in the way, the traditions of this city let us curious, now, for this purpose, is necessary to stop at the micro Museum of Popular Traditions, located between some small old buildings, where we can admire objects and materials typical of the tradition, or browse texts of bibliographic interest. From here, it is possible to take a naturalistic walk in the agricultural landscape that stretches over the cliff.
Pieces of history and legends can be felt, especially, among the castle ruins that recall the various denominations; among them the Marquis Alberti, protagonist of a violent night, and of a famous massacre at Easter of 1686 (known as The Massacre of the Alberti), which originated for personal reasons with an almost Shakespearean touch, that surrounded the legend in the city in the following years, inspiring some literary and cinematographic works.
There is no way to be fascinated by the remarkable and bizarre sandstone rocks of Santa Lena and Pasterà, with olive trees, mulberry trees, fig trees and, in the spring, flowering almond trees and mimosas. A fascinating scenario as well as the Vallata which has several Greek wheel mills, in the past, fed by waters of the Sant’Elia valley, does not pass unnoticed. Among others this valley is an important resource for the local economy.
How to get there?
1) How to get there? BY PLANE
Calabrian airports connect directly with the largest Italian cities and offer the best services. The airports in the region are: Lamezia Terme Airport, Crotone Airport and Reggio Calabria Airport.
2) How to get there? BY TRAIN
The railway infrastructure in Calabria reaches about 850 km of lines, with 115 stations. The main network consists of Tirrenica (Rome – Napoli) – Praia – Paola – Lamezia Terme – Reggio Calabria, which connects the most important places of the Calabrian coast, between them and the main cities of Campania and central Italy; is a functional connection between the Sicilian railway network and the rest of the national system, mainly through the maritime connection of Villa San Giovanni to Messina.
3) How to get there? BY CAR
It is possible to reach Calabria by car from any part of Italy, by the highway network and, specifically, by the A3 Salerno – Reggio Calabria that end in Calabria.
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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!).
- Check with your country’s Traffic Department which documents are required and the rates for issuing the IDP. If you chose to travel by car, be sure to read our Post “Driving in Italy“. It is very important to avoid winning fines for lack of information.
Pentedattilo, a city full of fascination and mystery, immersed in a charming landscape, the Valle Sant’Elia; is certainly a place to admire and visit. This little town is not for every day, so we have to accept the gentle invitation that from afar puts that singular hand of rock that seems to draw people with their colossal fingers and offers in its palm this splendid city. Can you reject such a special invitation?
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