DISCOVERY OF CALABRIA TOUR

16 DAYS / 15 NIGHTS

Small group of up to 15 travelers.


Join us on an exploratory* in-depth Discovery of Calabria Tour. This is the first Goinitaly small group tour to the undiscovered beautiful region of Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot.

We will discover places that were once part of the Grand Tour from the 16th to 19th centuries. Artists, painters, musicians, writers, and aristocrats traveled on foot, horse, and carriage to explore the Calabrian region of Italy.

Calabria has an incredibly long coastline of beaches and rocky cliffs with access to the clear water of the Mediterranean, Tyrrhenian, and Ionian Seas. However, as magnificent as the Calabrian coast may be, the interior of the region is equally beautiful and wild, with mountains and hills rolling down right up to the sea. In just a few kilometers, the traveler can move from a hot and sunny seaside landscape to mountain scenery with beautiful forests and pastures.

The history of Calabria started eleven thousand years ago. The territory that now forms Calabria was inhabitated by a huge number of ancient people: Ausonians, Oenotrians, Lucanians, Bruzians, Greeks and Romans, Byzantines and Normans, followed by Angevins and Aragonese after the rise of the Kingdom of Naples.

*Please note, this is an exploratory tour. Although we have carried out research trips here, this is the first time we are taking a group here. Any feedback will be appreciated after this tour to help us decide whether it should be a tour we start to run regularly or if we need to make changes to it.

DAY 1: REGGIO CALABRIA

Benvenuti in Calabria! Welcome to Calabria!

Today at 6pm there will be a briefing at the lobby of our hotel in Reggio Calabria. Time to submit travel insurance details, introduce ourselves, and go through the itinerary.

Afterward, we meet for an included group dinner at a local restaurant and get acquainted with our fellow travelers.

Included Meal: Dinner

DAY 2: PENTEDATTILO - CASIGNANA - SIDERNO

After breakfast, we load our bags and board our minibus, Hekate.

On the way out from Reggio Calabria, we stop at a family farm where they specialize in the production of Bergamot: a fragrant citrus fruit almost as big as an orange but similar in color to a lime. Its essential oil is extracted from the rind and used in perfume, scented soaps, and herbal tea.

Drive to the ghost town of Pentedattilo, an abandoned ancient village perched on the cliffs of Mount Calvary, from where you can see Mount Etna and Sicily. Time to explore the village before having lunch at the home of Rossella, the only inhabitant of Pentedattilo.

After lunch, we drive to one of the most important and least known archaeological sites in Calabria, the Roman Villa of Casignana. Discovered in 1963, this is the largest complex of floor mosaics from the Roman period in Southern Italy after the Sicilian floor mosaics of Piazza Armerina.

We then reach Siderno where we will spend the night.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine, Dinner

DAY 3: LOCRI - GERACE - MAMMOLA - R. JONICA

After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and drive to the Ancient Greek archaeological site of Locri. We then have a short drive to reach the incredibly well-preserved medieval town of Gerace, also known as the Town of 100 Churches! In Gerace we will admire 360° hilltop views of the surrounding countryside, explore its narrow streets, visit the main Norman Cathedral in the town square, discover smaller churches with detailed marble decorations, and walk in the shade of beautiful palaces.

Lunch at a trattoria before a short drive to Mammola where we visit the amazing open-air art museum of MUSABA, created by a local artist and his Dutch wife. Here you can admire the Sistine Chapel of Calabria, which occupies a former 10th-century Church of Santa Barbara.

Drive to Roccella Jonica for the night.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 4: STILO - BADOLATO - V. VALENTIA - TROPEA

Today we have a full program. We leave Roccella Jonica after breakfast and in less than an hour we reach Stilo to visit the 9th-century Byzantine chapel, Cattolica of Stilo. Located at the foot of Mount Consolino overlooking the countryside, the chapel has the remains of ancient frescoes of the Madonna, Christ, and St. Nicholas.

We then drive along the coastal road on our way to the picturesque medieval village of Badolato. There we will explore its narrow alleyways, architecture, and meet locals in the square, before enjoying a lunch paired with wine at a nearby vineyard.

Afterward, we drive through the scenic Serre Mountains, reaching an altitude over 1100 meters (3600 feet) above sea level, to reach the town of Vibo Valentia in time to visit its 11th-century Norman-Swabian Castle and museum.

After our visit, we have another beautiful drive descending down to the sea resort town of Tropea where we will spend the next three nights.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine

DAY 5: AEOLIAN ISLANDS BOAT TOUR

Tropea is located just in front of the Aeolian Islands with a view of the active volcano of Stromboli. Today we’re going on a boat tour to spot the islands of Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano.

Stromboli is known as the lighthouse of the Mediterranean, due to its perpetual activity. Discover Lipari, the largest island with its historical port district and the 16th-century castle complex towering over the main town. Vulcano is the natural spa island, with bubbling mud pits and fizzy waters where you have time to relax and swim.

This is a full-day tour and you can have lunch at a cafe or restaurant on one of the islands.

Included Meal: Breakfast

DAY 6: TROPEA - FREE DAY

Today is a free day for optional activities.

You can chill out on the beach, visit the Sanctuary of Saint Mary dell’ Isola, shop for souvenirs, or choose from a number of optional acitivities:

  • Wine tasting
  • Cooking class
  • Visit an ancient olive mill in a nearby village
  • Visit a modern olive mill in Mafrica
  • Visit the village of Zungri and its stone houses

Your tour leader will provide details and can assist you with booking your optional activities.

Included Meal: Breakfast

DAY 7: PIZZO - LE CASTELLA - CROTONE

After breakfast, we say arrivederci to Tropea and continue our exploration of Calabria.

Short drive to the enchanting seaside town of Pizzo. According to legend, Pizzo was built on the ruins of the ancient town of Napitia founded by Phoenicians who had escaped the destruction of Troy and settled here. Pizzo is famous in the area for its Tartufo, a large ball of ice cream filled with molten chocolate. We can choose one of the cafes in the square to try this local delicacy.

We then drive for 90 minutes to reach the touristy coastal town of Le Castella. We visit a 15th-century Aragonese castle built on an island linked to the coast only by a small sandy strip of land.

In the late afternoon we arrive in Crotone, one of the most important centers of Magna Graecia. We check in to our hotel where we will stay for the next two nights.

Group dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8: CAPO COLONNA - WINE TASTING

In the morning we have a short drive to Capo Colonna. We visit the Archaeological Museum and the sacred ruins of the Sanctuary dedicated to the goddesses Hera and Persephone.

Lunch at a vineyard to enjoy a local meal paired with wines.

Free afternoon and evening to furthur explore the old town of Crotone. The old town features a maze of narrow streets, massive noble palaces, the cathedral, as well as the central Pythagoras square, the contact point between the “old” and “new” town.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine

DAY 9: SANTA SEVERINA - SAN GIOVANNI IN FIORE

After breakfast, we drive for less than an hour to reach the village of Santa Severina, one of the most beautiful ancient villages of Italy.

We start with a guided visit to the impressive 11th-century Carafa Castle and its Torture Museum. We then visit the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art, the Cathedral and its Byzantine Baptistery.

Lunch at an osteria before a scenic drive through the Sila Mountain range to reach our accommodation in San Giovanni in Fiore.

Group dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch with Wine, Dinner 

DAY 10: GIANTS OF SILA - COSENZA

After breakfast, we leave San Giovanni in Fiore to reach the hamlet of Croce di Magara. This ancient woodland features more than 60 Calabrian pine trees and sycamore trees planted in the 17th century by the Mollo family. The highlight of this area are the “Giants of Sila”: 350-year-old trees that are 45 meters (148 feet) in height with trunks 2 meters (over 6 feet) wide.

Scenic short drive to reach the city of Cosenza and check in to our hotel. After settling in, we walk to the city center for a cooking class to give you a real taste of Calabrian food. We then feast on the fruits of our labor in an included lunch.

Free afternoon and evening to relax or further explore Cosenza on your own.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: COSENZA

Today we visit the National Gallery of Cosenza located in the magnificent 16th-century Arnone Palace. The museum houses important works by Calabrian painters: Pietro Negroni, Marco Cardisco, Francesco Cozza; as well as Neapolitan artists who influenced local art, such as Luca Giordano.

Lunch at a restaurant.

Afterward, we walk off our meal on an included walking tour through the historical center of Cosenza: explore the tiny alleyways, admire beautiful palaces, old shops, street art, the fountain of the Tredici Canali, and visit the 12th-century Cathedral of Cosenza.

Free evening at your own leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 12: PAOLA - SAN D. CORONE - CORIGLIANO

This morning we leave the mountains and drive down towards the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way we drive through forests of pine, oak, and beech and we can stop to take photos of the stunning coastal views.

We arrive at the Sanctuary of Paola, built in the 15th century by Saint Francis of Paola, the Patron Saint of Calabria. The Sanctuary holds some of the remains of the saint (the rest are found in Tours in France) and attracts pilgrims from all over the world. You will learn more about the history of St. Francis and the Sanctuary by following an easy self-guided walking itinerary.

Short drive into town to reach a trattoria for lunch.

An afternoon drive back into the mountains to reach the village of San Demetrio Corone and visit the Church of San Adriano. We are now in one of the most important cultural centers of the Albanian community in Calabria. The Church was built by San Nilo of Rossano in the 10th century to give the local people a place where they can pray and follow the rules of the Basilian Order.

Short drive to reach our accommodation in Corigliano Calabro, our base for the next three nights.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13: ROSSANO - LICORICE FACTORY

In the morning, we visit a family-run olive oil business to learn more about olive oil production in the Calabria region.

Afterward, we reach the nearby town of Rossano to visit the Cathedral and the fascinating Diocesan Museum. Considered the first Diocesan Museum in Calabria and one of the first in Italy, the museum showcases pieces from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, Mannerism and Baroque Art, plus collections from the 18th and 19th centuries.  But the most precious work of art preserved in the Museum is the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis: a 6th-century illuminated manuscript containing the Gospel of Matthew, almost all the Gospel of Mark, and part of a letter from Eusebio to Carpiano about the concordance of the Gospels.  It’s one of the oldest surviving illuminated manuscripts of the New Testament.

We then visit an 11th-century Cathedral that displays an ancient image of the Madonna Acheropita, Madonna and Child, supposedly not painted by human hand and dated sometime between the 6th and 8th century.

Lunch at a family-run restaurant.

We then drive to the Amarelli Factory and Museum where they produce their famous licorice.

Return to the hotel and enjoy a free evening.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14: CORIGLIANO CALABRO - FREE DAY

Today we may visit a selection of the following places as a group:

  • Ducal Castle of Corigliano Calabro
  • Archaeological Site of Sibari
  • Grotta delle Ninfe Thermal Baths

Or, you can choose to have a free day to relax or explore on your own.

Included Meal: Breakfast

DAY 15: CIVITA - CERASO

After breakfast, we leave Corigliano and drive for one hour to reach the charming hilltown of Civita. Facing the Ioanian Sea, it is part of the Pollino National Park, Italy’s largest national park. We will visit the historical center, Devil’s Bridge on the Raganello River, and a local falconry for a demonstration.

Lunch or picnic.

In the afternoon, we leave the region of Calabria and enter the region of Campania. We arrive at a family-run agriturismo in Ceraso, where we stay for the night.

Farewell group dinner where we will enjoy a delicious hearty meal and raise one last toast to our Calabrian adventure.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16: NAPLES - END OF TOUR

After breakfast we have a three-hour drive to reach Naples, where the tour ends. Your tour leader can assist you with additional tours, post-tour accommodation, and transfers.

Included Meal: Breakfast

WHAT’S INCLUDED:

  • LUXURY MINI-COACH TRANSPORTATION

  • EXPERIENCED GOINITALY DRIVER / TOUR LEADER

  • 15 NIGHTS ACCOMMODATION IN 4-STAR HOTELS

  • 15 BREAKFASTS, 9 LUNCHES, 5 DINNERS

  • ENTRANCE FEES TO INCLUDED SITES

  • WINE TASTINGS

Tour price

2,750

Per Person (Minimum 6 People)

250

Single Supplement

Dates 2020

November

3

Exploratory Tour*

*Due to the Covid19 problem this Tour has been postponed in the 2021

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