Tyrrhenian Sea

Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour

Explore calabrese traditions, yesterday and today
with Karen Haid, award-winning author of Calabria: The Other Italy
Highlights include medieval grottos, traditional pottery and textiles, gorgeous Tropea and Scilla, amongst the most beautiful villages of Italy, the famous Bronzes of Riace in Reggio Calabria, a contemporary art park in the mountains, a boat ride on the Ionian Sea, stays at the beach and in an historic hunting lodge, and of course, mouthwatering food!

12-Day Calabria Land Tour
Small-Group Travel
September 11 – 22, 2024

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Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival Lamezia Terme – Tropea area
Transfer from the international airport or train station in Lamezia Terme to our overnight coastal accommodation. Welcome to Calabria with a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea or a walk along the beach as you recuperate from your journey. Introduction to the program, dinner and overnight.

Day 2 – ZungriTropea
Our exploration of Calabria begins back in time, in Zungri, a fascinating archeological site of cave dwellings in the foothills of Mount Poro. We will enjoy a rustic lunch of local products, such as the sweet Tropea onion, nduja salami and homemade bread, prepared by village women. We will then have a walking tour of Tropea, recently voted Italy’s most beautiful village. Dinner on your own and overnight.

homemade bread

A bread-making experience on the Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour

Day 3 – Palmi – Scilla – Reggio Calabria
Check-out and departure for Reggio Calabria, stopping in Palmi along the way to visit the House of Culture, which showcases a treasure trove of objects related to Calabrian traditions, religion, folklore and superstition. Continuing on to Scilla, we will wander through its picturesque fishing quarter and learn about the swordfish “hunt” at Ruffo Castle atop the legendary promontory of Homer’s Odyssey. Lunch will feature this local delicacy. Check-in to our 4-star hotel in Reggio, dinner on your own and overnight.

Day 4 – Reggio Calabria
Enjoy a full day in Calabria’s largest city with its dramatic location along the Strait of Messina looking across to Sicily. We will visit the National Archeological Museum where the famous Riace Bronzes are exhibited as well as the unique Bergamot Museum. Free time to relax and stroll the City of the Bergamot’s waterfront and elegant pedestrian-only shopping street. Lunch in a local restaurant, dinner on your own and overnight.

Byzantine church in Calabria

Cattolica di Stilo

Day 5 – Mammola – Stilo – Catanzaro
Checkout and departure for central Calabria. Our day in the Calabrian Serre begins in Mammola with a visit to MuSaBa Park and Museum, the creation of a local artist and visionary who took an abandoned monastery in a depressed region and made it an international artistic happening. Our lunch will feature the local specialty pescestocco. In the afternoon, we will see the Cattolica di Stilo, an architectural jewel of the Byzantine, one of the many testaments to the Greeks in Calabria. We will then continue along the Ionian Sea to Catanzaro Lido where we will check-in to our 4-star hotel. Dinner on your own and overnight.

Day 6 – Gulf of Squillace
We start our day with a drive through lovely olive groves to a ceramics center in the village of Squillace (birthplace of Roman scholar Cassiodorus) to observe the ancient graffito technique of terracotta decoration. For lunch, we will enjoy local seafood aboard a mini-cruise of the Gulf of Squillace with views of white-sand beaches, ancient Roman fish basins dug out of the area’s picturesque rocky reefs, and an opportunity for a swim.
Dinner on your own and overnight.

Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour

Calabrian Textiles

Day 7 – Cirò – Le Castella – Camigliatello Silano
Our day begins with two of Calabria’s iconic symbols, the Aragon castle of Le Castella and the column of Capo Colonna. We will then continue up the Ionian coast to learn about Cirò wine, which was so highly esteemed by the Greeks that it was awarded to winning athletes in the original Olympic games! Following our wine tasting, we will head inland, where the scenery will transform from Mediterranean to alpine as we make our way to Camigliatello Silano and our historic hotel at the heart of the Sila Mountains. Dinner and overnight.

Day 8 – San Giovanni in Fiore
Our full-day excursion will take us to the largest population center of the Sila, where we will learn about its founder Gioacchino da Fiore, an important medieval theologian and prophet. We will visit the Florense Abbey, an impressive Romanesque structure that houses the holy man’s religious drawings as well as a Museum of the Working Class. San Giovanni in Fiore is known for its exceptional artisans and we will visit the workshops of a master goldsmith and a virtuoso textile designer. Lunch, dinner and overnight.

pasta calabrese

Homemade “maccheroni”

Day 9 – Camigliatello Silano
Step back in time for a relaxing day immersed in history and nature, discovering the “Old Calabria” of Norman Douglas and other legendary visitors to the region, as well as the emotions of the mass exodus and the hopes for the future of the great wave of Italian emigrants at the local museum. We will also visit an organic farm, saying hello to the animals and dining on locally made products as well as pasta made by our own hands. In the evening, if you still have room, we will enjoy a panino silano, a classic choice in the fresh mountain air. Dinner and overnight.

Day 10 – Longobucco
A drive through verdant mountain woods will take us to the town of Longobucco, historically known for its crafts, particularly textile production that continues today. Our morning will include a workshop and museum, where we will admire beautiful fabrics with traditional designs made on antique looms. Lunch will highlight local specialties. In the afternoon we will visit the national park’s educational center, once a sawmill, and take a walk along Lake Cecita. Dinner in Camigliatello and overnight.

An old town in Southern Italy

On a walk in Cosenza

Day 11 – Cosenza – Paola
In the morning we will check out of our hotel and head for Cosenza, a city known for its learned men and pretty women, according to Casanova. We will stroll through the old town where we will enjoy a typical Calabrian lunch. On our way to the Tyrrhenian coast, we will visit the Sanctuary of St. Francis of Paola, the patron saint of Calabria, and then have a final fig treat before continuing on to our 4-star airport hotel. Farewell dinner and overnight.

Day 12 – Departure, transfer to Lamezia Terme Airport.

Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour basics:
$4,390 per person, $330 single supplement
Note: This itinerary will run in reverse in 2024

Small group Calabria tour – maximum of 15 participants
Comprehensive Tour accompanied by Karen Haid, author of Calabria: The Other Italy, together with local guides
Transportation and tours as outlined above (airfare not included)

11 nights in top-quality, locally owned hotels and an historic residence, breakfast daily, 10 lunches, 7 dinners, wine and water included with meals

See many photos on my Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour Blogpost
See video on Traditions & Food of Calabria Tour YouTube

To sign up for a Calabria tour or for more information, please use the Contact Page.
Looking forward to hearing from you!

Check out the detailed itineraries for my other programs on these links:
Calabria Cultural Tour
Castles and Wines of Calabria – Easy Walking Tour
Basilicata Cultural Tour

Read about the founding of Karen’s Travel LLC and the inspiration for these Calabria tours on my 100th blogpost New Calabria Cultural Tour with Karen’s Travel LLC.
For more information and photos of Calabria, click on the highlighted links in the itinerary,
browse My Italian Blog and read my book Calabria: The Other Italy.
Please don’t hesitate to use the contact page for questions about these exciting Calabria tours.