Clear sea waters, untouched nature, Arbëresh tradition
Located in Torremezzo, a sea district of Falconara Albanese on the Tyrrhenian Coast, the Antico Casale Del Buono is perfect for an invigorating holiday, enjoy the turquoise sea waters as well as a good starting point to explore the surroundings.
3 km long immense sandy beach and a view of the Orsomarso Mountains, Torremezzo is an oasis of tranquility. Beautiful waters from the deep blue to crystalline turquoise, from limpid emerald becoming pink at the sunset, and breathtaking views over the Stromboli Isle.
Completely surrounded by palms, oleanders, sea pines, and olive trees, soak up the sun on the beach. There are several equipped beaches with parasols, sun loungers and cafés on this long stretch of sand.
Offering sport facilities and shops, Torremezzo is not a destination, it is a way of life. Enjoy the simple life, chat with the locals, taste the local and genuine produce from the onsite farmers or simply go to the local market on Monday afternoon. Do some sport activity outdoor, luxuriate the tranquility, following your own rhythm, far away from the routine stressful life.
Falconara Albanese, the only Arbëresh village on the Tyrrhenian coast, is only 6 km away from Antico Casale Del Buono. Founded around the 16th century by some Albanian refugees, persecuted by the Ottoman Empire, Falconara still preserves its original language, the Greek-Byzantine rituals, the folk songs, costumes and festivities. Climbing up the town, encircled by a wild nature with deep canyons, discover the Arbëresh customs and traditions. Participate to one of their festivities throughout the year to immerge in their culture or go to the ethnographic museum to learn about their history.
With the characteristic circular Middle Eastern layout, distinguishing gjitonia (neighborhood) and humble houses with walkways, Falconara is a unique landscape of its kind, destination for fascinated travelers and inspired moviemakers. In an atmosphere that does not feel real, you walk through narrow streets, discover small squares and fountains, visit the churches. Climb up to the Castelluccio, the gigantic monolithic stone, surrounded by fern. At its peak stands a chapel, accessible only by 126 steps, carved out of stone to the north side of the rock, to enjoy the stunning view of the charming village and the immense sea.
When it comes to food, Falconara cuisine uses a lot of fresh seasonal vegetables and local produce: Fusilli alla zingara, homemade bread, cold-cuts and the aromatic fox grape wine are some of the specialties you must taste!
What to visit
The Riviera of Borghi Antichi (literally The Riviera of “Old Hamlets”) is a wonderful stretch of coast on the Tyrrhenian Sea, southward the Riviera of the Citrons, a perfect retreat for getaways and holidays throughout the year. While thinking about Calabria, one will suddenly think a mass tourism destination for sea holidays in resorts! But if you are looking for a relaxing holiday, with stunning views, wild coasts, unique naturalistic landscape, untouched nature, vibrant sunsets and charming coastal towns, with its own traditions, cultures and flavors – this destination will be to your liking! Unique glimpses, fiumare (streams), ruins, castles, charming ghost places, sand beaches and clear blue sea waters…this is the Riviera dei Borghi Antichi! Enjoy an authentic Calabria with its long sea and land traditions, a place where to get lost and find yourself.
Fiumefreddo: one of the 100 most beautiful hamlets in Italy
Fiumefreddo Bruzio is officially one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy and a perfect inspiration for moviemakers. Perched on a hillside with spectacular views, this medieval village is rich in history and art: historic palaces, ancient churches filled with paintings. Go up to the Castello della Valle on the top of the village, to admire wall frescos of the notorious Sicilian artist Salvatore Fiume, who lived here for many years. He considered Fiumefreddo his own little jewel. Walk through the winding streets and discover the Abbazia di Fonte Laurato, founded by Gioacchino Da Fiore, and extraordinary panoramic sea views. Among the specialties of Fiumefreddo, the ”frittata di patate”, a rustic pie prepared with potatoes of the surrounding fields (despite its name, eggs are not listed in the ingredients), the “Filiciata”, a soft cheese served among fern leaves, and Granita of figs.
Belmonte, narrow alleys and gigantic tomatoes
Belmonte is known as “u paisu di vichi” (the town of narrow alleys). Considered in the past as the garden of Calabria, Belmonte is a fascinating town on the top of a hill. As a French journalist said, a fairytale village, with classic Medieval layout and archways, many churches, narrow and winding streets, hanging gardens and noble historic palaces. Belmonte represents the 2 sides of Galeazzo di Tarsia. He was a domineering and aggressive baron of Belmonte as well as a notable Petrarchan poet in the 16th century, very well appreciated by poets Foscolo and Leopardi, who inspired to his verses. Belmonte was known in the past for some important late Roman graves and a monolith with a phallic representation, discovered in the surrounding fields. During the 17th century Prince Pignatelli, 6th Prince of Belmonte, minted his own gold coin, the “zecchino di Belmonte”.
It is worth visiting the tomb monument raised in honor of Belmonte citizen Michele Bianchi (National Fascist Party’s first secretary) as well as the Museo della Civiltà Contadina (Museum of Rural life).
Well worth is also the food tradition. Above all, the Belmonte Tomato, huge and tasty, fondly named “Il Gigante”, uniquely produced in this area. The “fichi dottati”, a variety of figs produced in this area, the local specialty “Gammune”, a cured meat made from the inner part of the pig’s leg, today a Slow Food presidium.
Amantea, lively and multicultural town
Amantea (originally Clampetia) is one of the most renowned sea destinations on the Tyrrhenian Coast. It was founded by the Greeks, and later re-built by Byzantines, before being conquered by the Arabs. Perched on a hilltop, the old town is a world away from the busy life of the lower town, with an ancient charm. Amantea has a rich historic, artistic heritage of the different dominations. Among the most well-worth to see attractions, there are the ruins of the Castle, the 13th century Chiesa Convento di San Francesco d’Assisi, the Arab stele, the fifteenth-century Chiesa Convento di San Bernardino with some artworks of the artists Cagini and Bernini.
Below the cliffs is the suggestive Parco della Grotta, a pleasant grassy park, which has the unusual feature of a large cave in the side of the hill containing a spring and a boat. The sea used to reach the base of the cliffs, and there was an anchorage here and, it is said, a passageway leading up inside the old town fortifications.
Amantea is well known for local artisan artworks as well as for its shopping area. Every Sunday, the traditional fruit and vegetables market takes place. Among the food specialties, you cannot miss to taste Bucconotti (boat shaped sweet pastry tartlets, traditionally filled with chocolate, aromas and secret ingredients), fichi secchi (dried figs) with dark or white chocolate, and pitticelle (baby anchovies croquettes).
Guardia Piemontese, the Occitan town and the Thermal Spa
Guardia Piemontese was founded by the Waldensians -considered heretic in Piedmont – during the 13th century. They settled here in order to escape the poverty and religious persecutions.
Until the 16th century, the community was flourishing and respectful of the neighbour Catholic communities. The success of the Reformation brought to a further massacre of this community, where more than 2,000 Waldesians were murdered. This bloodshed is commemorated by the still existing town main door’s name: Porta del Sangue (Blood Gate).
Guardia, today, preserves an important heritage from its past: the Occitan language, lenga d’òc, roughly meaning “the language of oc”. Guardia is, in fact, the only place in Calabria, where the remnants of a Gallo-Roman language are still being spoken today.
At the Museo delle Tradizioni typical costumes of that period are exposed.
The hilltop, still intact, is an extraordinary masterpiece suspended between the sky and the sea.
Guardia Piemontese is also a thermal destination, with its natural thermal spas. The therapeutic use of Guardia’s waters – considered among the best in Italy – goes back to the Romans. Rich in sulphur and sodium chloride, bromine and iodine, they spring at 43°- 47°C and are suitable for treatment of different diseases. Thanks to its composition made of many antioxidant microorganisms (white seaweeds) the thermal mud and its important properties are highly recommended as a natural anti-age treatment and used in the cosmetics and beauty treatment of face and body.
San Lucido – a terrace overlooking the sea
Founded by some Basilian Monks, San Lucido is a terrace overlooking the sea with breathtaking views on the surroundings. Suspended on a picturesque spur, houses have the characteristic Gafiu, an arched balcony over the entry door. You can walk through the narrow streets, visit churches, the ruins of the Castle, and the Sea Museum. There are myths, stories and legends tied to San Lucido, as the story of Cilla, a young woman that throw herself off the cliffs into the sea – a final attempt to find and be with her husband Tuturo, a young sailor, once again. On the lungomare, overlooking the crystal blue seas of San Lucido, is the haunting statue depicting Cilla and her tragic story.
Among the specialties, U Fragune (a rustic pie), the spaghetti del pescatore (spaghetti with local fish), cotolette d’agnello (breaded lamb cutlets), served with green olives and onions, and Tortiera di alici (anchovy pie).
Paola, The Sanctuary of San Francesco
Paola, San Francesco’s homeland, is the largest town of Cosenza province as well as a religious tourist destination that attracts several pilgrims every year. San Francesco was famous for founding the order of Minims, and he is Patrons’ Saint of Calabria and sea people. Etched into the hillside above Paola, overlooking the sea, the Sanctuary has retained a sense of seclusion and tranquility. Walk through “Via dei Miracoli” to trace the path of San Francis’s holy life. Explore the chapel, a mesmerizing example of Baroque splendor, to find the sacred relics of St. Francis of Paola. Strolls through the main square that fronts the Sanctuary, visit the Duomo, find fountains and the Augustinian Monastery dated back 1145 and the ruins of a castle. Outside the walls, wander into the Byzantine Church, considered part of the Human Patrimony, and the Medieval Badia of Santa Maria di Josaphat, where Riccardo Cuor di Leone was hosted during his journey to the Holy Land. On return, stop in one of the restaurants to enjoy spaghetti con acciughe e mollica (spaghetti with anchovies and bread crumbs), pasta patate e vajanedde (pasta with potatoes and green beans), the patta (a typical bread with fennel seeds) and home-made maccheroni.
Fuscaldo, a long fishing and craftmanship tradition
Known as the “Stone Village with 100 gates”, Fuscaldo lies on a top of the hill overlooking the sea. It is characterized by hundred gates, ancient churches, bell towers, arches, decorated by local stonemasons. The charming old town offers a spectacular panoramic view and features Medieval and Renaissance buildings as well as ancient churches with the paintings of Pascaletti and Bertè. The most important attractions are Convento di San Francesco di Paola and Donna Vienna’s native house, San Francesco’s mother. Anchovy fishing is the main activity. You can try one the local dishes, prepared with this special blue fish, often seasoned with wild fennel and served with broccoli, or the typical sweet “Dolce Vienna”.
Cleto – Panoramic view of the valleys to the Tyrrhenian Sea
According to Skyscanner, Cleto is a must-to-see destination. Located on the slope of Mount Sant’Angelo, totally immerged in an untouched nature, Cleto is a charming hamlet, a ghost town with a magic atmosphere. You will stroll up and down among alleyways, stopping at churches with their fascinating bell towers.
According to the legends, Cleto was founded by Cleta, Enea’s handmaid, during the Troy war.
Traces of its ancient origins as well as its glorious past are evident in buildings: Chiesa di Consolazione with its mosaic flooring and bell tower with a spire of coloured majolica. The Norman Castle, whose origins are still uncertain, today, attracts many visitors. Built by the Normans on the top of the mountain Monte Sant Angelo, it opens a view of the surrounding land down to the sea and down to the village.
If you want to eat local, try the „Cialletta” (a typical baked bread in woodfired oven) flavoured with garlic, oregano and olive oil. Enjoy it while drinking a glass of good wine, produced in the surroundings hills.
Cosenza, where art merges with modernity
Cosenza, the largest and eldest city in Calabria, today, is known for the Alaric’s legendary tomb. It is also known for having been the capital of Brutii (an Italic tribe, considered the native Calabrian inhabitants). Seat of the Cosentian Academy, the second academy of philosophical and literary studies, founded during the Kingdom of Naples (1511), Cosenza was also considered as the yAthens of Italy. And it is still today a cultural hub in Southern Italy. The old town is one of the most fascinating in Italy, with 9 different museums, the Rendano Theatre, several libraries and above all, the Swabian Castle (built by the Saracens on the ruins of ancient Rocca Brutia around 1000. Frederick II added later the octagonal tower), and Palazzo Arnone, in the past used as courthouse and prison, now house of the National Picture Gallery of Pinacoteca.
Visit the Museo del Fumetto, Museo Multimediale, and the outdoor MAB Museum with some sculptures of Dali’ and De Chirico’.
The Duomo, UNESCO World Heritage Site for being “Heritage Witness to a Culture of Peace”, with Henry VII’s grave is a noteworthy place to visit. Scrolling along the streets, you will find the precious Stauroteca, a gift from Emperor Frederick II to the Duomo, upon consecration.
While the modern city centre is a crowded area. Corso Mazzini, the main street, is famous for shopping. In the modern town as well as in the old town, there are several restaurants offering local cuisine: pasta “ara tijeddra” (a baked pasta with potatoes), broccoli di rapa e salsiccia (broccoli rabe with Calabrian sausages), fusilli, patate “mpacchiuse” (fried potatoes with onions and porcini mushrooms), le tagliatelle ai ceci (type of homemade pasta with chickpeas). And, please, dont’ miss to taste the noteworthy Donnici wine, already appreciated during the Roman Empire by Plinio.
Cosenza is a perfect mix of history and modernity, from the bocs art to the Calatrava bridge, one of the highest in Europe.
Where we are
From North: A2 Autostrada del Mediterraneo, exit Rende/Cosenza Nord, take SS107 to Paola. Then, once you reach Paola, take the SS18 Tirrenia Inferiore South direction (Reggio Calabria) until you reach pur destination.
From South: A2 Autostrada del Mediterraneo, exit Falerna, take SS18 Tirrenia Inferiore North direction (Salerno) until you reach our destination.
Nearest Train Station: FS Paola Railway Station (about 12 km)
International Airport of Lamezia Terme (about 50km). Visit official website.
Coordinate GPS: 39.2638837 – 16.0598592