Catanzaro, vista sulla città
It overlooks two seas: the Ionian on the east and the Tyrrhenian on the west. On the north it borders with the province of Cosenza, on the north-east with Crotone, on the south with Reggio Calabria and on the south-west with the province of Vibo Valentia.
The province of Catanzaro is delimitated on the north by the Sila and on the south by the Serre Calabresi. The central part is formed by the isthmus of Catanzaro, a narrow valley of nearly 30 km that joins the two coasts of the Squillace Gulf and of Sant'Eufemia, and which is also the narrowest point of the entire Italian peninsula.
Greeks called the inhabitants of this area "Italoi", referring to King Italo, who, according to the legend, descended form the Trojans. Under the Emperor Augustus the entire Calabria was called Italia, name given to the whole peninsula.
Today the most famous area is the one between Catanzaro and Soverato, in the centre of the Squillace Gulf: here, marvellous rocks alternate to long white beaches.
The province is famous for the maritime tourism, especially on the Ionian Coast and, not to forget, the area of the Sila. On its slopes it is possible to visit the villages of Cortale, Taverna, Tiriolo.
The main 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 squared and merloned Norman Tower is what remains of the Norman castle. Villa Trieste is surrounded by wonderful gardens that contain rare plants and marble busts of famous personalities of the region. The Belvedere, indeed, is a perfect place to admire the Fiumarella valley and the Squillace gulf. The Museo Provinciale, in the Villa Comunale, hosts prehistoric finds and collections of ancient coins.
Soverato, known as the pearl of the Ionian, is the first touristic city of Calabria, with its “movida” and many nightclubs. Montepaone is formed by the ancient village in the inland and by the Lido, overlooking the Costa dei Saraceni, also known as Costa degli Aranci.
The municipality of Borgia is famous for the archaeological site Scolacium, which includes the remains of the pre-roman settlement of Skylletion, consisting of remains of the streets, of the aqueducts, a mausoleum, a theatre and an amphitheatre. Squillace gives its name to the Gulf, its historic centre counts several monumental churches and a Norman castle known as " Borgia’s". Along the streets evidence of the Greek, Roman, Sarracen and Byzantine rule is still present and visibile.
Cortale, situated in the narrowest point of Calabria, is extremely important for the musical-artistic tradition and has one of the oldest historic centres of the region. Here is the first Regional Wind Farm. Belcastro is situated on the south-east slopes of the Sila Piccola towards the Ionian coast, equidistant from the sea and the mountains. It’s a typical medieval feud on a woody spur at the foot of the Conti d'Aquino’s castle. The alleys are beautiful and so narrow that cars cannot get through. There are also many churches dating back to different periods.
The province of Catanzaro, specialized for maritime tourism, is the destination for nightlife and water sports lovers: diving, wind surf, water-skiing. Besides this, on the coast it is possible to go jogging, to do excursions by bicycle and take photographs of the wonderful landscapes.
In the Squillace Gulf many discos and clubs animate the summer nights. This is the territory where the first adventure park of Calabria has been established, in Zagarise, in the heart of the National Park of Sila Piccola. The activities here are so many and suitable for the whole family: trekking, mountain bike, orienteering, climbing.
The basic ingredients of Catanzaro’s cuisine are simple and genuine, like olive oil, hot pepper and wholemeal bread. The local specialities 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 chilly 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 we recommend those produced on the hills of the province.
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