Catanzaro, vista sulla città
It overlooks two seas: the Ionian on the east and the Tyrrhenian on the west. In the north it borders with the Province of Cosenza, in the northeast with Crotone, in the south with Reggio Calabria and in the southwest with the Province of Vibo Valentia.
The Province of Catanzaro is delimited in the north by the Sila and in the south by the Serre Calabresi. The central part is formed by the Isthmus of Catanzaro, a narrow valley of nearly 18.6 mi that joins the two coasts of the Gulf of Squillace and of Sant'Eufemia, and which is also the narrowest point on the entire Italian peninsula.
Greeks called the inhabitants of this area "Italoi," referring to King Italo that, according to legend, descended fromm the Trojans. Under the Emperor Augustus the entirety of Calabria was called Italia, name eventually given to the rest of the Peninsula.
Today the most famous area lies between Catanzaro and Soverato, in the center of the Gulf of Squillace: here, marvelous rocks alternate with long, white beaches.
The Province is famous for both maritime - especially on the Ionian Coast - and mountainous - e.g. the area of the Sila - tourism. The slopes of Sila host the villages of Cortale, Taverna, Tiriolo.
The major monuments in Catanzaro are the Cathedral and, housed in it, the Madonna with Child, a statue by Antonello Gagini da Messina dating back to the 16th Century. The square, crenellated Norman Tower is what remains of the Norman castle. Villa Trieste is surrounded by wonderful gardens that contain rare plants and marble busts of some of the region's famous personalities. The Belvedere, indeed, is a perfect place to admire the Fiumarella Valley and the Gulf of Squillace. The Museo Provinciale, in the Villa Comunale, hosts prehistoric finds and ancient coin collections.
Soverato, known as the pearl of the Ionian, is the first touristic city of Calabria, with its buzzing nightlife. Montepaone is made up of an ancient village and Lido that overlooks the Costa dei Saraceni, also known as Costa degli Aranci.
The municipality of Borgia is famous for the archaeological site in Scolacium, which includes the remains of the pre-Roman settlement of Skylletion, consisting of remains of the streets, aqueducts, a mausoleum, a theatre and an amphitheatre. Squillace gives its name to the Gulf, and its historic center counts several monumental churches and a Norman castle known as Dei Borgia. Evidence of the Greek, Roman, Saracen and Byzantine rule is still visible along the streets.
Cortale, situated in the narrowest point of Calabria, is extremely important for its musical-artistic tradition and is one of the oldest historic centers of the region. It is also the site of the first Regional Wind Farm. Belcastro is situated on the southeastern slopes of the Sila Piccola towards the Ionian coast, equidistant from the sea and the mountains. It is a typical Medieval feudal manor on a woody spur at the base of the Conti d'Aquino castle. The alleys are beautiful and so narrow that cars cannot pass, and the numerous churches date back to various historical periods.
The Province of Catanzaro, specialized in maritime tourism, is a great destination for lovers of aquatic sport: diving, wind surf, and water-skiing. Besides this, on the coast it is possible to go jogging, to take bicycle excursions and to photograph the wonderful landscapes.
In the Gulf of Squillace many discos and clubs animate the summer nights. This is the territory where the first adventure park of Calabria has been established, in Zagarise, the heart of the National Park of Sila Piccola. The activities here are numerous and suitable for the whole family: trekking, mountain-biking, orienteering, and climbing.
The foundational ingredients of Catanzaro’s cuisine are simple and genuine: think olive oil, hot chili pepper (peperoncino) and whole wheat bread. The local specialties are the pasta chjna, a pasta filled with provola cheese, boiled eggs, soppressata and dressed with meat sauce and grated cheese; and the ciambrotta, a vegetarian dish made with pasta and a dressing of fried eggs and pecorino cheese. The most famous dish among the second courses is u murzeddhu, a special tripe cooked in a spicy sauce and served in a typical local round-shaped focaccia bread (pitta).
The stigghiole – entrails of kid, veal or pork cooked with tomatoes, vegetables and chili peppers – are also to be mentioned, as well as sausages like the soppressata and cheeses like the butirri, a caciocavallo with butter inside.
Typical pastries are the crocette, dry figs filled with nuts, cinnamon and candied cedar cooked in the oven. The pastries are served with the local Malvasia wine. Among the table wines, those produced in the Province's hills are top-notch!
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