Reggio Di Calabria (ca. 105 km from Tropea) was founded as a Greek colony at the foot of the Aspromonte Mountains, and later became a significant centre of settlement of the Roman Empire. Besides the National Museum with its “warriors of Riace”, the promenade “Lungomare Minotti” with its beautiful gardens and its remains from Greek and Roman times is worth a visit. Naturally, the town in the utmost south of Calabria also offers attractive shopping facilities.
On the way to Reggio Di Calabria, you shouldn’t miss stopping at Scilla, a charming Southern Italian fishing village with old houses, palaces, narrow and sometimes terraced alleys and lots of atmosphere. Once upon a time, sea monsters are said to have lived here… - nowadays, however, the fishermen specialize above all in catching swordfish.
From the coast at Capo Vaticano it seems only a stone’s throw away: the island of Stromboli, lined with opuntia and agaves and with the only permanently active volcano of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Using a telephoto, you can even make out the white houses on its slopes. Day trips to the Lipari (Aeolian) Islands, among which you count Vulcano, Lipari and Stromboli, can be booked from Tropea. With a bit of luck you will meet dolphins on the way.
To those who don’t shy a longer tour, one can recommend a visit to Taormina (Sicily). History-charged buildings, dreamy alleys, and its beautiful location on the slopes of Monte Tauro give this old town its characteristic touch. And it is Mount Etna that forms the background of this picturesque, colourful landscape with its lush vegetation.
You should not miss out on an excursion to the Aspromonte National Park. The cultural peculiarities of the mountain range include the „Greek villages“, which are still permeated by their ancient heritage today. Well into the 19th century, the inhabitants of the remote mountain villages of the southern Aspromonte spoke mainly Greek. Nowadays, they reflect this heritage, they maintain cultural exchange with Greece and they are proud of their unique identity. Located at an altitude of 621 m on the western side of the Fiumara Amendolea, Gallicianò is probably the most Greek village in Italy. The church of S. Giovanni Battista is the centre of the small village, where mass is still celebrated according to orthodox rites.
In the southeast of Calabria, you will find the area of the Serre, which is covered by thick forests of beech and oak trees. This mountain range of granite rises up to over 1,200 metres, Capo Vaticano forms its westernmost foothills. The Serre can be reached via the scenic SS 110 from the Tyrrhenian side as quickly as from the Ionian side. At the end of the 11th century, Saint Bruno of Cologne erected the first charterhouse on Italian soil in the solitude of the woods on the Serre. It was also during his lifetime that the two neighbouring monasteries of S. Maria del Bosco and S. Stefano were erected. After Bruno died, only the Certosa S. Stefano remained. Completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1783, the monastery was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style in the mid 19th century. Unfortunately, visits to the monastery of Serra San Bruno are not possible; the monks there live in almost complete seclusion. The museum, however, provides a comprehensive insight into the monks' way of living.
The eastern part of the Serre and the Ionian coastal area are called Locride. Here lies, in fantastic panoramic location, gorgeously renovated Gerace, where you can stroll through one of the most beautiful Old Towns in Southern Italy. Its magnificent cathedral was built under Norman rule, the town's period of prosperity. When the railroad was built at the end of the 19th century, the new district of Gerace Marina, now called Locri, developed in the coastal plain.
Three kilometres south of modern Locri, the excavations of Lokroi Epizephyrioi provide an insight into the ancient world. Originally founded around 700 BC at Zephirion Acron, today's Capo Bruzzano, the Locrians moved their settlement to more fertile farmland 20 km further north some years later. What seems strange is the history of the town's origins. According to Aristotle, female members of the Greek aristocracy took their male slaves and left their homeland of Locris by ship, because their husbands had spent too much time at war instead of with their families. In general, everyday life and religion at Lokroi were dominated in an extraordinary way by women. For aristocrats, the maternal order of succession was applied and the goddesses Aphrodite, Demeter and Persephone were accorded an especially high degree of worship. Today, you can admire the comprehensive archaeological finds at the Museo Nazionale Archeologico.