A millennia-old tale, from Magna Grecia up to our days. Rulers, people and culture follow one another affecting ways of living, of being and of thinking of local people. Crossroads of trades between the East and the West, our Villages of the Angels tell a rich and intense story, full of treasures for the eyes and the mind.
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Our small corner of Calabria offers endless ideas for a dive into the past.
Let’s start from the Archaeological Park of Ancient Kaulon, located in Monasterace marina. It is one of the most significant evidence of the old Magna Grecia settlement, the foundation of which dates back to about late VII century b.C. A fascinating polis with sea view where no ticket is required and where it is still possible to admire the construction stages of the house or the rests of the Doric Temple of the V century b.C. For a complete and deep analysis, you may want to visit the Park, the Archaeological Museum “Ancient Kaulon”, which proudly preserves the evidence, found owing to several excavation campaigns, among which the famous mosaic of the Dragon of Kaulon, the biggest Hellenistic mosaic in South Italy.
Still, for those who love ancient civilisations and cultures, in Roccelletta di Borgia, there is the Archaeological Park of Ancient Scolacium, which preserves the traces of a florid Roman colony dedicated to the goddess Minerva. Even in this case, for whose wishing to learn more, it is possible to visit the Archaeological Museum of Scolacium, which rises in the same area.
Near Stilo, instead, there is an Oriental kind of atmosphere, owing to the famous Cattolica di Stilo, perfectly inserted in an evoking natural scenario. An authentic Byzantine small temple, the construction of which is attributed to the influence of the Byzantine monks, who, after settling in Calabria around the X century, gave rise to a profitable cultural exchange. Still, in Stilo, on top of the Consolino Mountain, there is the Norman Castle, built in the XI century by Roger the Norman to watch over the rebellious village. Today, it is possible to visit the ruins, from which you can enjoy a marvellous view on the valley, which slopes all the way to the sea.
At a few km from Stilo, there is the vilage of Guardavalle. Here, the streets of the old town are flanked and embellished with palaces, which bear witness of a past full of thriving events. Among these, the ancient house of the famous cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto, who conquered a prominent position in the ecclesiastic life of the XVI century, stands out.
Unusual experiences and fun facts
Maybe, many people do not know this, but Calabria, in particular the small town of San Floro, has an ancient and deep relation with the activity of sericolture, a trait which turned the whole territory of Catanzaro into the most important silk production centre of Europe between the XVIII and the XIX century. A tradition, which was rediscovered owing to the initiative of three youngsters from San Floro, who recently took over the ancient industry by founding the Cooperative Nido di Seta. Here, it is possible to admire the transformation process of one of the most ancient fabrics in the world. In order to understand how the finished product is used, we recommend visiting the Silk Museum, set inside the regal frame of the Caracciolo Castle.
Another curious fact relates to the Renaissance period of our region. Yes, even Calabria has been overwhelmed by this bright artistic period. One of the most authentic proof is kept in the Chiesa Matrice Maria Santissima Addolorata, in Soverato Superiore; it is the Pietà of Antonello Gagini, one of the greatest Renaissance sculptors in South Italy. The artist from Palermo took insipiration from the famous Pietà by Michelangelo Buonarroti and reinterpreted it thus creating a work appreciated all around the world for its value.
The last pearl is located in Badolato On a small hill near the town stands the Franciscan monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which in 1987 became the house of a community called Mondo X. Among the marvellous XIX-century colonnades and frescoed chapels, very valuable treasures are preserved, such as a XVIII-century wooden crucifix, a pulpit of the same period and a wooden choir. From the external spaces, invaded by the scent of lemons and bergamots, it is possible to enjoy a magical view on the town: the small houses one on top of the other take on the aspect of the Nativity scene. A perfect background for a souvenir photo!
The best period
The best moment to experience our cultural attractions is winter. When the cold weather hinders outdoor activities, there is nothing better than finding shelter in a museum or a frescoed chapel. Tasting a traditional sweet specialty and a wine that warms your heart, churches and museums open their doors to those who wish to learn more about our history, to those wishing to know our cultural identities or to discover something more on the artistic events, which have affected our architecture.
It is useless to say that the Villages of the Angels offer endless historical and cultural ideas all year round and even when the beaches are crowded, there are those who prefer jumping back in time and walking among the ruins of an archaeological park.
We satisfy the needs of all types of visitors and, on the other hand…it is always a good moment to learn and to meet.
Navigate the map and discover our land
Badolato, a quaint ancient village where time goes by slowly and the days are fulfilled with simple things and great emotionsDiscover More
Guardavalle is the green of the mountains and the blue of the sea. Guardavalle is a warm welcome, hospitality and smiles.Guardavalle è tradition and folklore. Guardavalle is a treat to yourselfDiscover More
Santa Caterina dello Ionio, between earth and sea a quaint treasure trove that preserves unaltered influence of a rich pastDiscover More
Stilo is an ancient medieval village that preserves unaltered influences of a past rich in art and cultureDiscover More
A town of warm hospitality, authentic food, ancient tradition and timeless culture stands on the iconic Calabrian slopes, between the blue Ionan Sea and green countrysideDiscover More
In San Floro, a village with a heart of hospitality along the evocative Costa degli Aranci, you can rediscover yourself and the value of timeDiscover More
In Calabria, between the sea and the hills, between the deep blue and woody valleys, between the Magna Grecia and Medieval origins, stands a charming town called Monasterace, rich of remarkable artistic and cultural assets.DISCOVER MORE