Porto di Vibo Marina | Fonte: wikicommons
In the middle of the southern heart of the region Calabria, south of Cosenza and north of Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia is like a little peninsula on the Tyrrhenian sea. Its roots are lost in antiquity, a city full of history and culture where you can find beautiful wild places and the cultural awareness of the past.
The province includes 50 municipalities and extends itself over the Tyrrhenian coast and the Serre mountains, including the great farm district of the Poro plateau. Vibo Valentia was originally the Greek colony of Hypponion until 192 AD. The province has been established in 1992 and ows its charm to the matching colours of a cobalt blue sea and the verdant plateaus with the backing Serre mountains.
The Sant' Eufemia gulf to the north and the Gioia Tauro gulf to the south are surrounded by the hills and the mountains of the inland. The nature here is completely uncontaminated and cultivated only by the hands of local farmers. Vibo Valentia shows the visitor wonderful panoramic views: neat and shadowy olive groves, scented cornfields, orange and lemon groves offering their aromatic fruits all year long. And then, the vineyards on the hillsides, the oscillating cane fields shaken by the sea breeze, the amazing scent of the flowering orange blossoms during the hot summer nights.
Moving from a place to another means getting in touch with new charming discoveries. It’s the Costa degli Dei, which is never the same, a rugged coastline full of rocky inlets and sandy spots. The hinterland is overawed by the Serre massif, with thick forests of conifers, beech woods, brooks, wide valleys and green plateaus.
Vibo Valentia preserves an unspoilt medieval historic centre, with yellow tuff monumental buildings and streets paved with big lava rocks.
Here, the bell tower of San Michele stands out among the rest of the city, entirely dominated by the Norman Castle, most likely erected on the site of the Hypponion acropolis. The castle houses the State Archaeological Museum, with one of the most precious finds from the Hellenic past: the Laminetta Aurea, a golden lamina bearing the oldest Orpheus text found in Italy.
Going down the coast, you reach Pizzo, a small medieval city directly on the sea. The historical centre is a maze of alleyways crossing the great square, a meeting place during the summer nights. Here, there is also the legendary little church of Piedigrotta, dug into the tuff. Pizzo is one of the most famous seaside resorts of the province together with Tropea and Capo Vaticano.
Moving south, we reach Briatico, an ancient settlement that, according to the tradition, was set up by the Greek of Locri. It is dotted with medieval finds, and it is one of the most interesting archaeological sites of the province. Zambrone, Parghelia, Ioppolo and Nicotera follow along the coastline.
Tropea is one of the most beautiful towns of the area. The legend says it was settled by Hercules, who reached these shores from Spain. Other sources say it was settled by Scipio Africanus on his way back to Rome after having defeated Carthage. In reality, the city bears Roman, Byzantine, Norman, Suevian, Angevin and Aragonese evidence.
In the inland, Filadelfia draws many visitors heading for the nearby Angitola Lake. The Certosa di Serra San Bruno is a very important and renowned monumental monastic settlement founded by Bruno of Cologne at the end of the 1100s. It's a real haven of peace, nature, art and, as well, of religious quiet: one of the favourite destinations of local tourism. Mileto, lastly, is another town linked to popular devotion, with its Benedictine Abbazia della Trinità and its Cathedral.
The wonderful Costa degli Dei is a paradise for water sports. The underwater excusions offer the chance to see unique seabeds and a beautiful sea fauna. Kitesurf and windsurf are quite practised here thanks to the local seawater and winds.
The inland of the province, with its thick woods and its beautiful nature, is a perfect destination for trekking lovers. One of the best known villages is Capo Vaticano, with a typical calabrese torrent surrounded by a rank and gorgeous vegetation including over 300 breeds of plants.
The caves and the monk paths nearby Tropea are also worth a visit, it is even possible to explore them by horse or bicycle trekking. The different landscapes offer unique locations to watch the flora and fauna, whereas the geological aspect witness the natural resources of the area – ecotourism – especially in parks and wildlife reserves.
Vibo Valentia attracts bird-watching lovers all year round. Exhibitions, shows and festivals promote the knowledge of local communities, local costumes and typical tastes.
History and culture condition the traditional gastronomic delights, rich in tastes referring to agriculture, sheep farming and fishing.
The main typical products are marmalade, tuna fish, olive oil, chestnuts, mushrooms, cakes, and the ’Nduja of Spilinga (a tender salami), the fileja (handmade pasta rolled in long braids) and the ice-cream of Pizzo.
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