CULTURE AND TOURISM
One of the main objectives of the Polo Cassiodoro is to give the right emphasis to the centuries-old cultural expressions of the region and to the variegated – though little valued – tourist vocation of Calabria. The cultural offer is characterized for the most part by the presence of numerous parks and archaeological museums that preserve the treasures of the ancient and thriving Greek-Roman colonies and which are relived, in many cases, thanks to shows and theatrical events. Ruins of castles and ancient monasteries, churches and noble residences tell the difficult history of Calabria, a story that continues to unfold in the halls of museums and modern and contemporary art galleries. The real distinctive feature of the Calabrian cultural heritage is certainly recognizable in the suggestive small villages full of history and charm like the major urban centers of the region, coinciding with the five provincial capitals.
Traditions also play a leading role in defining the Calabrian identity profile, including religious rites and secular events, ancient legends and peculiar craftsmanship, up to popular dances and linguistic minorities that risk of disappearing. This enormous wealth contributes to outline a tourist offer capable of responding to the needs of every type of traveller.
In Calabria, for example, it is possible to ski admiring Mount Etna, reach the 800 m of the Serre Vibonesi from the Ionian Sea in a few minutes, get lost among the Giants of the Sila, the canyons of the Valli Cupe or the wild landscapes of Aspromonte.
The 800 km of coastline, now long stretches of sand, now capricious cliffs, also embrace unique marine parks and protected areas. Religious tourism finds its destination in the large and well-known sanctuaries, such as the Franciscan one of Paola, and in the solemn and spectacular popular festivals such as the Varia di Palmi, since 2013 UNESCO’s oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
Exploring the territory is possible along the routes of the most typical gastronomic products which leads the visitor to discover hidden villages that are often penalized by the inaccessible geographical position; or alternatively you can be guided by the words of the great innovators of the past coming from these lands, from Barlaam di Seminara to Bernardino Telesio, up to those of the travellers on the Grand Tour, whose emotions you can relive by immersing yourself in the literary parks scattered from the north south of the region.