An uncontaminated place of purity
The valley of Argentino river is a natural park. This river, which lies in south-western area of Pollino massif, is absolutely unpolluted.
Due to its isolation, its digging into the rocks created an inaccessible natural phenomenon, the flora and fauna of Argentino’s area are something very unique. Visitors can find in this pleasant context specimens of Loricato pine, Black Pine and wild Cherry-tree, as well as local Wolves, Roe Deer, Golden Eagle and Peregrine Falcon.
The place where are preserved the remains of St. Valentine
The Monastery of Belvedere Marittimo pays homage to San Daniele Fasanella and has been built at the end of XVI century. San Daniele Fasanella is the Saint of the city. The monastic order living in the Convento is the one named Frati Cappuccini, followers of San Francesco d’Assisi’s doctrine.
The Convento dei Cappuccini is standing on a hill full of massive tree, this characteristic makes this place the perfect spot to spend a day of relaxing reflections. The monks that have been living in this religious place have suffered persecutions along the centuries, sometimes the have been thrown out the monastery, but they’ve always come back to underline their deep relationship with this building.
The main attraction of the Convento dei Cappuccini in Belvedere Marittimo are San Valentine’s relics; the remains of the Saint of love have been hosted in this place since the XVIII century.
Thanks to a restoration that took place during the XX century visitors can now enjoy the original colours of the internal decorations.
The Castle of Belvedere Marittimo has been originally built by Normans , around the 11th century, to be a military outpost. Its location was perfect to have a 360 degrees view of the coast, which was the main door for enemies to enter this area.
Only under Aragonese domination this building became a proper castle at the end of 15th century.
The castle of Belvedere Marittimo is a great place to observe the towers, the fortifications and the bastions that have been decorated by many different hands belonging to different socio-cultural backgrounds.
Diamante started to host an open-air artistic exposition in 1981. Local, national and international artistic took the streets and the wall of Diamante at the beginning of the summer to transform the wall of the city into massive canvas where to put their feelings.
So we can serenely affirm that Diamante started to host street art exposition way earlier than more celebrated destination all around the world.
Festival dedicated to the Red King
The first edition of Peperoncino Festival took place in 1992 when the city of Diamante wanted to celebrate the arrival of Peperoncino to the ancient Europe thanks to Cristoforo Colombo’s discovery of Americas just five hundred year before.
This Festival’s aim is to celebrate local gastronomy; the centre of all kind of recipes and food experiences is, naturally, the Peperoncino, the local variety of chilly pepper. In every and each event proposed by the staff of Peperoncino Festival (theatre, music gigs, public lectures) the final purpose is to look for Peperoncino everywhere. The Peperoncino represents the secret ingredient that makes the food we taste, or the life we live, more interesting.
After more than 20 years Peperoncino Festival has become one of the most important cultural events of southern Italy.
Lao river runs from Basilicata, exactly from the slopes of Monte Serra del Prete and, after entering Calabria between the villages of Laino Borgo and Laino Castello, flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea, not far from Scalea, after a journey of more than 50 kilometres. Thanks to its particular shape, that ensures an important flow of water (Lao river has a catchment area of 606 square kilometres and an average rate of nearly 10 cubic meters per second) throughout the year and thanks to the wonderful scenery of its location has become a well known destination for passionate people who love of immersion in nature, canoeing and rafting.
Amazing isle standing in front of Praia a Mare
Known by the people who love nature for its caves, the Dino Island was purchased in 1962 by Gianni Agnelli for fifty million pounds. However in June 2014 the Court of Paola sentenced the invsalidity of the purchase and the island came back under the ownership of the Italian State. This beautiful island offers spectacular cliffs of 80 meters. On the coast the erosion of limestone has created numerous cavities that host amazing ecosystems. Its biodiversity is absolutely amazing, for example, in addition to the classic Maquis shrubland, visitors can also find the unusual dwarf palm. Its wildlife includes many species of migratory birds, including peregrine falcons. In recent years the island is also a point of reference for scuba divers.
Legendary natural monument
This place is so named because of a unique natural arch, carved into the rock by the sea: the great arch Arcomagno in Italian, which leads to a small, silent, hidden beach. This lovely place is characterized by a lagoon crescent-shaped, about 25 meters long, with small gravel pebbles. On the left of the arch is a large natural cave, called Grotta del Saraceno which hosts a small water source; while on the north side of the Arch is located another group of small rocks and stones on which stands another rock arch: the Arch of Enea, named after the mythical Trojan hero who, according to myth, after the fall of Troy passed by this area. Facing the two arches is the Rock of Scorzone and a short distance you can see the Dino Island.
Magical neolithic shelter
The Romito Cave is situated in Papasidero (Cosenza), in a valley that lies on the left sideo of Lao River. The archaeological excavations of the 60’s made possible to establish that the interest of man for the cave dates back to the Epipalaeolithic era. The famous rock carvings that have made famous the Romito are visible to the visitor on the entrance of the shelter. The first is the so called ‘linear signs rock’ and reveals no apparent meaning; it is dated around the year 11.000 BC. The second the one with the portrait of three different profiles of Bos Primigenius. The stylistic attitude of this artistic expression is typical of the Mediterranean area; this is one of the the most joyous expression of Paleolithic Realism in the Mediterranean. The stylistic features of this masterpiece recalls the Franco-Cantabrian Palaeolithic art as well. The graves found in the cave increase the symbolic and cultural value of the site. At the base of the boulder with the bulls there is a double burial with the remains of a young man hugging an older woman. This burial was accompanied by horns of Bos primigenius and flint tools. Another double burial, at the same level, hosts the remains of a man and a woman. While in the inner cave two single burials have been found.
Awesome marine grotto
The name of this cave is due to the presence of a rock that looks very much like a lying lion. This is one of the many cavities present on the coast of the Dino Island.
Amazing canvas on the inside
The Chapel of Purgatorio of Tortora’s Piazza Dante Alighieri is characterized by notable symbolic expressions. It is located in an area called mballaturu, dialect word indicating its proximity to one of the towers of the feudal palace. Originally it was located outside the city walls and over time the urban sedimentation has made of it one of the significant elements of urban architecture.
The Church of the Souls of Purgatory was mentioned for the first time in an official document in 1554.
Neoclassical style Church
The Church of St. Peter the Apostle (Via San Pietro) is the mother church of Tortora. It was built in the late XIII century and after that has been extensively rebuilt in the XVIII century.
The Church of St. Peter the Apostle presents a neoclassical style. Legend about its history relates that the two columns on either side of the main door of the building have been recovered from resources proceeding from the ancient town of Blanda Julia, this element is the testimony a strong continuity between the past and the present of local architecture.
Massive civic building
The Palace of Via Cantogrande in Aieta, also known as Palazzo Spinelli, got its actual appearance in 1550, due to renovations operated by Martirano families and Cosentino. Its Renaissance style is the best Calabrian civil construction representation of the whole sixteenth century.
Its outstanding characteristic is the Loggia overlooking the west side of the building, its columns and arches make up an architectural first level effort.
The City Council of Aieta has become owner of this building in 1980 and within a few decades has led to it a splendour never seen before.
XVIII century Church
The Church of St. Mary of the Visitation in Aieta, located in Piazza Monsignore Lomonaco, dates back to the XVIth century. The entrance stone portal, which gives the welcome to visitors, has been conceived and created by Gerardo Rea in the second half of the XVIII century.
Its drawing is a Latin cross with three naves, decorated with many works among which stand out Fabrizio Santafede’s Altarpieces, which are magnificent expressions of the transition period between Mannerism and Baroque.
Spectacular sighting spot
The Tower of Fiuzzi stands on a cliff ideal for hosting such a structure. It is a bastion built between 1400 and 1500 and is part of a coastal defence and communication system which aim was to prevent and neutralize the incursions coming from the sea.
Gothic and charming
The Crawford Tower is a communication and defensive outpost which has been built in 1500. This building, named after the famous US writer Lord Francis Marion Crawford, dominates the Bay of San Nicola Arcella.
The Tower is structured on two levels, connected by a grand staircase and it was suitable to accommodate small garrisons.
The Crawford Tower, like the towers of Fiuzzi and Maratea, was part of a widespread system which aim was to target enemies approaching the coast.
Nice building great location
The Sanctuary of Santa Maria of Constantinople was built in 1600. The location is spectacular, since the building sits on a limestone cliff that runs along the river Lao.
Although surrounded by a natural setting the Sanctuary is very close to the urban center of Papasidero; to access to this religious building the visitors should just walk a short distance from the center of the village and then cross the famous Bridge of Rognosa.
Due to its position this Sanctuary has been used in the past as a shelter for infected during the outbreak of plague during the XVIIth century.
Easter only for adults rite
The main event of the Holy Week of Verbicaro is the rite of Vattienti, held on Holy Thursday night. It may fall into the category of flagellation rites, a sacrificial practice and penitential archaic.
The rite of Verbicaro’s Vattienti goes back to a period when a spontaneous form a religious practices in which physical pain played a fundamental rule was very common.
The first documentation of Vattienti ritual dates back to 1473. After a very large period in which this kind of ritual was considered not congruent to the official catholic system in the 70’s of the twentieth century this collective expression got back to its ancient glory. So Vattienti succeeded in the challenge to enter well and alive in the XXI century.
The reasons that live up the Vattienti performance are basically two: the vote for favors received and the will to perpetuate a collective tradition that is based on reasons and details and confidential codes.
Although we can not speak openly of ‘Procession of Vattienti’ (every Vattiente has his rhythm and the paths taken by the protagonists may differ), the local night of Holy Thursday is divided into well-defined moments.
The first of them is the Mass in Cena Dominiche, which takes place in the main church of Verbicaro.
After that we proceed to visit the Tomb of the various churches.
Then people start to sing a ancestral songs in the streets of the town.
After that begins the feast of Vattienti preparing exit into the street.
Once the Vattienti paid tribute to local delights by eating and drinking local products they, wearing red clothes and red handkerchief, get to the street followed by Spruffaturi (those who throw wine on their wounds), and circulate for the old village until they reach a public fountain to wash out the blood that covers them.
Testament of Greek presence in the area
This open air museum lies in Via degli Schiavo 20, in Santa Maria del Cedro. When in 510. C. Greek settlers known as Sibariti were defeated by Crotonian decided to abandon their home on the Ionian coast to find shelter in the Alto Tirreno Cosentino.
This is how Laos, one of the first Greek enclaves on the west coast of Calabria, has been founded.
The importance of Laos from an archaeological point of view (in 1994 has been opened an archeological park in situ) lies in its being a good resource for understanding the urban organization of the Hellenistic period (diagram of orthogonal streets, system water channeling).
Laos very important because it offers us interesting insights that make us able to understand how the process of integration among the peoples who inhabited the Calabria in general and the High Tyrrhenian coast in particular developed.
Time travel place
The museum of Blanda in Tortora (Corso G. Garibaldi) hosts a decent amount of archaeological evidences discovered during the last decades. The permanent exhibition is divided into the following sectors:
– Outdoor settlements and caves with objects dating back to 150,000 years ago;
– The Burials, from the sixth century;
– The occupation of northern Calabria by the Lucani people, composed by goods, weapons and pottery as evidence of this phenomenon;
– The Roman Conquest.
The Museum is hosted in the Palace of Casapesenna, in the old town of Tortora.