Italy's largest protected reserve
Established in 1991, the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area covers almost 15,000 hectares and is the largest in Italy. It marks the continuation of the easternmost offshoots of Calabria in the Ionian Sea. The hinterland consists of a system of low hills extending from the Sila slopes down to the sea with heights that rarely exceed 300 metres, while the coastal area is characterised by alternating gulfs and promontories. Capo Colonna, Capo Cimiti, Capo Rizzuto and Le Castella are all characterised by low, sandy beaches, with just a few rocky areas.
The importance of this marine reserve lies in its wealth of fauna and flora. Among the most common fish are groupers, mullet, damselfish and the colourful parrotfish of subtropical origin. At Capo Colonna and Capo Cimiti, access, navigation, swimming and anything that may alter the marine environment are prohibited. Only regulated and guided visits are permitted. However, in Le Castella restrictions are reduced.
The area is also interesting from a cultural point of view for the Capo Colonna archaeological park, which contains the only column of the temple of Hera Lacinia still standing, and Punta Le Castella with its Aragonese castle.