Visit Guardavalle, authentic village of Calabria in the Ionian Coast
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Guardavalle

On the eastern slopes of Mount Pecoraro, between the 2 fiumaras Assi and Lunare, there is a small typical village nestled between rocks and fields. Here the olive groves and the wild plants of common and indian figs stand out luxuriant against the blue sky.

Accomodations

Food

Services

A bit of history

It is pretty hard to establish the rise of Guardavalle, but a thing is for sure: it must have something to do with the Saracen attacks  as it happened with many villages of Calabria. In fact, the Ancient Arabs arrived from the sea plundering the coast settlements and forcing its survived residents to build new settlements upland in order to defend their communities more effectively.  That’s probably what happened with Guardavalle, whose first settlement is likely to be rose around the XIII or the IX century AC. The town became casale di Stilo (belonging to Stilo authority)  that’s why it shares with its neighbour both history and rulers across centuries. The Normans occupied this land first, then was the time of Aragoneses and Swabians. This community acted as a shield for several populations, settling here until 1799.  To fulfill the role of defence 12 towers at the highest points of the town were built. Only one of them has survived until us, the so-called sopraguardia tower, dating back to 1486. Guardavalle is also known for giving birth to the eminent Cardinale Guglielmo Sirleto, who had an important role in the XVI century Catholic church. Once he became the bishop of S. Marco Argentano, he rejected the proposal of becoming Pope  when Pio IV died, dedicating himself to the study of the bible. Although far away from his homeland, he kept showing magnanimity towards his people. He was able to cancel their due tax to the Church for 10 years because of the frequent raid they had been facing.

By the end of the XVIII century Guardavalle gained independence thanks to the French General Championnet.

Wandering around the village

Guardavalle is surrounded by a huge natural heritage between the provinces of Catanzaro, Vibo Valentia and Reggio Calabria

The city is divided into two districts. A modern one called Guardavalle Marina, and another among the hills which is the ancient settlement. Here, among narrow steep streets are located the precious monuments telling the history of this old village. Among the most significant the Arco di Trionfo located in Piazza del Carmine upon a staircase leading to the church of the same name. Clean geometrical shapes and pastel colours, the church stand out for the magnificent stone portal. The way in to the ancient tabernacle custodisce shielding the sacred image of the Madonna col Bambino (Virgin Mary with child). Many noble places embellish the streets of the city centre reminding of a glorious and rich past. Among the most prominent there is Palazzo Spedalieri, the ancient dwelling of the cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto, distinguished for its baroque facade  or the XIX century Palazzo Falletti in the via Garibaldi, next to the Church of Purgatorio. In the large piazza in front of the cathedral there is Palazzo Salerno, a charming timeless spot.  The ancient door still undersigned by the family plaque represented by a rampant lion with a crown and two stars on the sides. In the highest part of the village there is the most prominent building of Guardavalle Palazzo Sirleto. Dating back to the beginning of the ‘600, it has never been ended. A side of the place is still opened whereas there are the ruins of a renaissance wall along the via San Carlo,  where Palazzo Riitano can also be admired.

However, the treasure of Guardavalle is made up by its people. Extremely proud of their origins and village they welcome everyone with a smile. The ancient shops hots sthe traditional handcraft, tailors and shoemakers. The old inhabitants sitting down outside their homes love to share with others the ancient tales and legends and if they can they like to offer a glass of their genuine wine. Orgogliosi del proprio paese accolgono con un sorriso chiunque vada a visitarli.

At only 7 km distance there is the Marina district, with almost  2000 residents. Marina is famous for its dry and windy climate ideal for healing breathing problems, with short winters and a long summer. The crystal blue waters and white beaches are served by professional tourist services such as resorts, restaurants, and camping..

Guardavalle all year round

A lovely village between the mountains and the sea is the ideal location for an holiday. In summertime for its beaches and the cultural events. In August the local Aubergine feast takes place. A yummy event where local food and traditions come together to offer the best experience.

The 7th of May in the ancient village is celebrated the Feast of the Patron Sant’Agazio Martire: with music and fireworks following the ceremony. Furthermore, Easter time also hosts the holy week celebrations including the Cunfrunta, on Easter Sunday when the Virgin Mary and Jesus meet again.

To taste the generous vino novello (the new wine) come over for the Festa di San Martino, on the 11th of November. The catoj owners open the doors of their cellars welcoming people to taste their wines together with the tasty typical cold cuts  such as soppressata and salami. Obviously with a fragrant homemade bread and the joyful sound  of the squuezebox.

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