The “Arcomagno” beach in a secret cove adored by Aeneas
An adorable cradle
Most definitely, this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Calabria: a crescent-shaped stretch of sand about thirty metres long in the Gulf of Policastro at San Nicola Arcella in the province of Cosenza.
The Arcomagno beach, formed by sand and pebbles, is set within a cove in a miniature amphitheatre protected by the surrounding rock formations. The shallow waters are calm and present a broad palette of blue shades. The splendid rock formation with its spectacular arch marking the point where it is possible to enter the sea rises to a height of 20 metres.
In the water one has the impression of being in a cradle entirely surrounded by rocks. It is also called the beach of Aeneas because as the legend would have it the mythical hero passed through this area after the fall of Troy. Legendary tales also recount that the mythical creatures known as “sirens” left the early Hellenic sailors spellbound.
A visit at sunset
It is worth spending a whole day on the Arcomagno beach but remember to bring some water and snacks with you. In any case, it is best not to leave before sunset, when you will perceive a unique spectacular scene. On the horizon the sun gradually disappears and its rays pass through the arch, flooding the bay with light.
Reach the cove ... by land or by sea?
The easiest and quickest way to reach the Arcomagno beach is by crossing the bay, using a pedal boat, which can be hired at the Marinella beach, or also a normal boat. Well-trained swimmers will be able to venture out into the sea from the neighbouring beaches, perhaps using fins, a mask and a snorkel so that they can dive down and admire the seabed and submerged rocks.
The most sporty and recreational (and perhaps most challenging) alternative is to reach the bay on foot, by land, following a pathway that cuts through the rocky slope. The route is well signposted and quite short (you might complete the journey in about an hour) but it is somewhat impervious and presents a few difficulties at the steepest points. Be very careful and wear trekking shoes. You can access the trail at San Nicola Arcella. The amazing panorama that appears as you walk along this route will reward you after all the fatigue: the view extends from Praia a Mare to the Dino Island and you will also see the crag known as the Scoglio dello Scorzone.
A cedar-tree paradise
The Arcomagno beach is situated on the Riviera dei Cedri, a magnificent section of the Tyrrhenian coastline of the Calabria region, with exciting seaside resorts along an 80-km stretch of land located within the territorial zones of 22 different municipalities. Cedars are splendid fruit trees that thrive in this area, thanks to a mild climate not subject to serious temperature inversions. Their cultivation dates back to ancient times in the Calabria region and in particular within the Tirreno Cosentino district. The variety most widespread along this strip of land is called the Liscio Diamante di Calabria (the “smooth Diamante’ citron”). Cedar is actually a rather curious citrus fruit because it contains a small amount of pulp and a thick rind, ranging from yellow to green, the colours that will surround you as you walk past the cedar woods.
If you want to learn more about the cultivation of these citrus fruits visit the museum dedicated to them at Santa Maria del Cedro, where you will learn a lot about their history and some of the relative traditions. Travelling through these areas, you will be able to appreciate the fruit in a variety of ways. Citron is a delicacy when used in a candied form or in jams and preserves and also as an ingredient in fragrant liqueurs. Don’t forget there is also a typical sweet dessert locally prepared with cooked, rolled citron leaves filled with raisins and the peel of this fruit.