The capital of the Calabria region, Catanzaro, is the kind of city that enchants us, both for its natural beauty and its historical treasure. Little sought after by most tourists, the city breathes art, culture and presents breathtaking natural panoramas. Today we are going to Catanzaro. 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 the Catanzaro
Today we are going to Calabria, to visit Catanzaro, capital of the region! The Italian peninsula, which stretches from the Alps to the Strait, has a characteristic in the “tip of the boot”, in the northwest – southeast, there is a “bottleneck” at the level of the central area of Calabria: it is the isthmus of Catanzaro, the narrowest in Italy. That would be worth reason to come to the city, but Catanzaro goes further! Historic, the city has a unique beauty, full of attractions for the eyes and for knowledge. Let’s know Catanzaro better? What Are The Ten Places You Must See In Calabria? and Where to stay in Catanzaro?
1) What to see in Catanzaro? THE BELVEDERE
One of the most beautiful places in the city is the incredible Belvedere, from which the landscape is majestic in front of our eyes! From there we can see the landscape of the valley of Fiumarella and the Gulf of Squillace: splendid the view!
2) What to see in Catanzaro? THE DUOMO AND THE CATHEDRAL
The old town of Catanzaro – Let’s start our visit at the most important point in the city: its old town! The visit starts at the incredible Duomo. Also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta de Catanzaro, it was damaged during the Second World War and, unfortunately, it was anachronically renovated. The Cathedral was established in 1121, with a celebration attended by Pope Callisto II, who attended to consecrate the new construction. In 1309 the Chapel of San Vitaliano was built, leaning against the left facade of the Cathedral in one of the entrances known as “elm door”. In the three niches of the chapel, you will find the relics of San Vitaliano (patron of Catanzaro) and of the saints Fortunato and Ireneo. The construction of this Chapel, called the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, dates from 1588.
3) What to see in Catanzaro? THE CHURCH OF SANTA TERESA, THE CASTLE OF CATANZARO AND THE PALAZZO RISO
The tour continues and you can proceed to the Church of Santa Teresa that houses the Madonna delle Grazie de Gagini and an interesting convent, present there since the 16th century. The monumental complex of San Giovanni was built in the feudal Castle of Catanzaro. Also not to be missed, especially for its beautiful architecture, are the noble palaces such as Palazzo Riso, Mancusi, Menechini and De ‘Nobili. They are spread across Piazza Grimaldi, which is like the living room of Catanzaro and is the heart of the historic center. Catanzaro also offers nature, lots of nature! For a walk in the greenery, we suggest the incredible parks of Villa Margherita and Villa Trieste. In addition, there are other very interesting places…
4) What to see in Catanzaro? THE ARCHAELOGICAL PARK OF SCOLACIUM
This park is a paradise for those who like archeology! It is located on the road that leads from Catanzaro to the Marina of Catanzaro and, there, you find the remains of Skilletion that emerges among the centenary olive trees. There you can also see a 19th century ruin that has been turned into a museum and houses the remains found in the area. The collection features artifacts ranging from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, through the Greek and Roman eras. The main attraction, however, is the impressive Theater, placed on a natural hillside and capable of receiving up to five thousand spectators. From there, a few meters away, you’ll find the Amphitheater. Also, be sure to see the Basilica built by the Normans.
5) What to see in Catanzaro? THE MEDITERRANEAN BIODIVERSITY PARK
It is actually a complex that houses a museum, ponds, a botanical garden and the International Sculpture Park. The International Sculpture Park is one of the great attractions, because, outdoors, it exhibits its contemporary art works installed throughout the park in a very interesting way!
6) What to see in Catanzaro? THE SILA NATIONAL PARK
It is undoubtedly one of the most well-known parks in Italy, because the Sila National Park is made up of 80% larch and beech forest and is considered one of Italy’s green ‘lungs’. With all this nature almost untouched by man, the park offers us the chance to “immerse” in the area: here you can go trekking, canoeing, picnicking, watching birds and forgetting everything. No rush, calm, tranquility and a peace that only nature in its purest state can bring us!
7) What to see in Catanzaro? THE GULF OF SQUILLACE
After a visit to the churches, the historic center and the palaces, in addition to the parks of Catanzaro, we can finally walk towards the sea as if there was no tomorrow! The Gulf of Squillace is surrounded by pleasant sandy beaches and granite cliffs that form one of the most impressive stretches in Italy: the Costa degli Aranci (Orange’s Coast). There are beautiful resorts by the sea and known as Soverato, in addition to the must see beaches of Caminia and Copello. Halfway, you find the famous Vascas di Cassiodoro, which was used by the ancient Romans for the creation of morays.
In Pietragrande is the area of cliffs that alternate with rocks: this is where some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Calabria “hide”. It is worth mentioning, Soverato, in the southern part of the Gulf of Squillace. Its beauty and importance are due to several environmental factors that make this place incredible, with a mild and pleasant climate throughout the year. Soverato’s beaches have fine and clear sand and their waters are calm and shallow. During the summer it is animated by events and shows, including the Magna Grecia Film Festival.
A little more about Catanzaro and its curiosities…
The province of Catanzaro overlooks two seas: the Ionian, to the east, and the Tyrrhenian, to the west; it borders, in the north, with Sila and, in the south, with the Serre Calabrese (Calabria Mountain Range). The isthmus of Catanzaro is part of the central area of the province’s territory and is a narrow valley with 30 km. This strait connects the Gulf of Squillace to the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia and is considered the narrowest stretch of the entire Italian peninsula.
The origins of Catanzaro
Catanzaro’s origins are linked to the Greek colonization of Magna Grecia, which baptized the inhabitants of this region as ‘Italoi’, because their king, called Italo. During the Roman Empire, Calabria was called Italy and, later, it named the entire peninsula. Yes! The name Italy was born in Calabria. Today, the area best known from the tourist point of view is between Catanzaro and Soverato, in the center of the Gulf of Squillace!
Here you will find stretches of rocky coast that mix with large stretches of beach enchanting the most demanding eyes. The province is known for seaside tourism, mainly because of the Ionian Coast, but also for winter tourism in Sila, which has excellent ski resorts! Nearby are also cities like Taverna, Cortale and Tiriolo, which, without a doubt, are also worth a visit.
The city of the three hills
Catanzaro is also called “the city of the three hills” in reference to the same hills represented in the coat of arms of the city: the hill of Trifone, the hill of the Bishopric and the hill of the Castle, which today is occupied – respectively – by San Rocco, Piazza Duomo and San Giovanni.
The three ‘V’: wind, velvet, Vitaliano
The wind (vento in Italian), which is always present in Catanzaro, is also part of the three ‘V’: wind (vento), velvet and Vitaliano, the latter being the city’s patron saint. Velvet refers to the ancient art of silk, of which Catanzaro, since the Middle Ages and until the end of the 18th century, was the center of production of the noble fabric.
- There is a hypothesis that says the name Catanzaro derives from the Greek term Katartarioi, or silk spinners.
Catanzaro is the kind of city that needs to be visited! Underestimated, the city offers the best of worlds: sea and mountain, in addition tells us a story with several legacies of the most varied peoples that passed through this land forming the current personality of Catanzaro: cheerful, receptive and of a unique beauty!
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