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  • Writer's pictureSu Guillory

Unveiling Hidden Gems: 5 Must-Explore Villages in Calabria, Italy

You already know that Calabria is renowned for its stunning coastline, historical sites, and mouth-watering cuisine. However, beyond the popular destinations lies a treasure trove of charming villages that often go unnoticed by the average tourist.

If the idea of skipping towns like Tropea that are overflowing with tourists appeals to you, head to these hidden gems on your next trip to Calabria.

1. Gerace: A Timeless Beauty

Nestled in the Aspromonte National Park, Gerace is a picturesque village boasting centuries-old architecture and a rich history. Its medieval streets, ancient castle, and breathtaking views make it a haven for history buffs and avid photographers. Explore the well-preserved Gerace Cathedral (one of the few of the original 128 churches that graced this tiny town that still remain) and find the small ceramics shop where sculptor Tony Custureri and his team paint plates and create sculptures with Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses.

2. Altomonte: A Medieval Marvel

Altomonte is a hidden gem with an enchanting medieval charm. The village is adorned with cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses, and the imposing Church of Saint Blaise. Stroll through its narrow alleys, soak in the serene ambiance, and savor the local delicacies at the quaint trattorias. Altomonte offers a glimpse into Calabria's rich heritage.

3. Stilo: The Jewel of Calabria

Known as the "Citta' del Cattolicesimo" or the "City of Catholicism," Stilo is a small village boasting the famous Cattolica, an ancient Byzantine-style church. The architecture of this church is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and the murals inside are surprisingly intact.

Explore the historic center, admire the ancient ruins, and feel transported to a different era in this hidden gem.

4. Palmi: Where Nature Meets Culture

Palmi, perched on the hills overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, offers a perfect blend of culture and natural beauty. The village is famous for its traditional Tarantella Festival and breathtaking landscapes.

Take a scenic drive through the Aspromonte mountains, visit the Romanesque Revival-style Palmi Cathedral, and indulge in authentic Calabrian cuisine.

5. Santa Severina: A Step Back in Time

Santa Severina, situated on a rocky hill, is a village steeped in history. With its ancient fortress, picturesque squares, and stunning views, this village offers a journey back in time.

Explore the well-preserved Castle of Santa Severina, visit the Church of San Filippo d'Agira, and witness the captivating remnants of Calabria's past.

Explore the Unexplored

These lesser-known villages in Calabria offer a glimpse into the region's rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking landscapes. While, sadly, the population is declining in many of these mountain towns as the younger generation seeks its fortune in larger cities and in northern Italy, these underrated destinations allow you to escape the crowds and immerse yourself in an authentic Italian experience. Discover the hidden gems of Calabria, where every village tells a unique story waiting to be explored.


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