Reggio Calabria is a thriving commune located on the west coast of the Calabria region of southern Italy. This city is one of the southernmost regions of Italy and lies directly opposite the eastern coast of the island of Sicily in close proximity to the busy port of Messina. With a population of over 200,000, Reggio Calabria and the surrounding metropolitan area is the third largest in this region of Italy and is also one of the main economic centres of the country. The main economy of the city surrounds its port and coastal transport and Reggio serves as a major link to Naples, Taranto and Messina.
This region of Italy as seen some form of inhabitation since the 3rd Millennium BC from civilizations such as the Trojans, Mycenaean’s and Phoenicians; it is considered one of the oldest Greek colonies of Southern Italy. In later years, Reggio was ruled by the Sicilian Vespers and the Habsburgs and eventually became part of unified Italy. Today, Reggio is a pleasant and charming coastal resort with a great deal to offer – You will find a fantastic mix of historic architecture such as the Castello Argonese, modern leisure facilities such as the Lungomare Falcomata, and fine restaurants and gelaterias.
Lets explore the best things to do in Reggio Calabria:
1. Castello Aragonese
This fantastic castle has stood as the cities main form of defence for hundreds of years and was originally created in the early Middle Ages.
As Reggio was such an important city during previous ages, the castle was always maintained and fortified.
Today the castle remains in fantastic condition and it is possible to climb to the battlements and walk along the defensive towers.
Located in the centre of Reggio Calabria, the castle is one of the main icons of the city and due to the relative low-rise buildings, can be seen virtually anywhere in the surrounding vicinity.
2. Lungomare Falcomata
Reggio Calabria is a coastal city and thus has a long stretch of beach and public promenade – The Lungomare Falcomata is the main beach strip and is where both locals and tourist come to enjoy the sun, a walk, and to admire the fantastic coastal scenery.
Starting at the edge of the railway track, the promenade stretches for miles until reaching the bus station.
Along this walkway there is a myriad of trees, benches and lighting, together with some small parks and the delightful open air Arena dello Stetto Amphitheatre.
During the evenings, the promenade comes alive and you will find many people walking to enjoy the sunset.
3. Reggio Calabria Museo Nazionale
If you are looking for a slice of culture and to learn about the history of Reggio, the Museo Nazionale is the perfect place to visit.
Located just behind the beach promenade, the museum is housed within a historic building that is adorned with many ancient icons.
Inside this museum, you can find a huge collection of artefacts and relics from the surrounding region dating as far back as ancient Greek times.
Notable items include two Riace Bronze statues depicting Tydeus and Amphiaraus, a marble head of Apollo, various bronze pieces of furniture and a collection of ornate jewellery and coins.
4. Monumento de Athena
Located in the centre of the beach promenade, the Monument of Athena is an icon of the city and stands proudly at the edge of a purposefully built promenade.
Standing next to the statue you are given fantastic views of the straight of Messina whilst behind the statue is a fantastic public amphitheatre.
The statue itself depicts the warrior goddess Athena Promachos who is said to defend Reggio Calabria in times of need.
5. Reggio Calabria Beach
In front of the promenade you can find a stretch of public beach and many locals and tourists visit to simply relax and enjoy the blistering Mediterranean heat.
Although the beach is a mixture of sand and small pebbles, it is still a pleasant location and the promenade has a plethora of amenities that you can benefit from.
Next to the Monument of Athena there is also several beach bars and cafes where you can buy refreshments.
Whilst in Reggio, the beach offers the perfect place to rejuvenate and have some fun.
6. Cattedrale di Maria Santissima
More commonly known as Reggio Cathedral, this ornate church is the most significant religious building in the region and is located in the Piazza del Duomo.
Created in 1928, this is a relatively modern structure compared to some of the other ancient buildings of Italy, but it does feature a classic Neo Romanesque design.
The front facade is made from cream stone and marble and has four decorative columns topped with small domed towers.
The interior is framed by a series of imposing exposed stone columns and features a swathe of religious artefacts including a column piece from the Miracle of St. Paul.
7. Corso Garibaldi
If you are looking for a bargain, or a spot of retail therapy, Corso Garibaldi is the number one destination in Reggio to visit.
This immense street stretches from the Fiume Calopinaee right across to the Museo Nazionale and has several pedestrianized areas that allow a stress-free shopping experience.
Along this stretch of prime retail space you can find a range of different shops, high-street stores, boutiques and a selection of cafes and restaurants.
At night, the street is one of the main areas for nightlife in the city and the bars and restaurants offer a fantastic opportunity for a memorable evening.
8. Diocesan Museum
Located within an ancient church, the Diocesan Museum is another fine museum located within the centre of Reggio Calabria.
This museum in particular is only a short walk from the Argonese Castle and is a perfect place to visit whilst on a walking tour of the city.
Located within this fantastic museum is an interesting collection of artefacts and relics that have been collected over the years by the Bishops and Clergy of Reggio Calabria.
Items include gold and bronze altar pieces, golden chalices and trinkets, splendid jewellery and a variety of historic artwork.
9. Sample some ice-cream at Da Cesare Gelateria
Italy is famed for it’s ice-cream and Reggio Calabria has a host of fantastic Gelato vendors; the best of which is considered to be the Da Cesare Gelateria which is located on the Piazza Indipendenza.
Although only a small building, the ice-cream shop is famed throughout the city and you will always find a steady stream of locals and tourist sampling the treats for sale.
The wide range of flavours available include traditional Neapolitan and vanilla, or some strange creations such as pistachio and cottage cheese!
10. Climb the Rocca di Pentedattilo
Pentedattilo is a ghost town that was originally built by greek setelers in 640 BC. Until the 1800’s it was continually inhabited, but earthquakes cause the population to vacate the village.
It now stands today as an eerie reminder of a bygone era and the original buildings can still be seen hugging the edge of the mountain.
Behind the village are the Rocks of Pentedattilo that tower above the buildings and create an interesting natural monument to explore.
Photographic opportunities are numerous here, and for the adventurous, it is possible to climb the rocks.
11. Fortini di Pentimele
It is easy to see why this fortification held such a prominent position in the city – Located high up on the Pentimele Hill, from here you are granted panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the straight of Messina.
Dating back to the 1500’s the original forts were meant to act as a defence against pirates however they were not properly used until the 1800’s.
Much of the old structure of the forts remain and they created a brilliant photographic opportunity against the backdrop of Reggio Calabria located in the distance.
12. Travel to Messina
Messina is one of the most iconic and important cities on the Isle of Sicily, and regular passenger ferries travel from Reggio Calabria to this bustling island port.
Located in the main harbour of Reggio, the ferry crosses the Straight of Messina and lands at a small dock just north of the Zona Falcata which is the main commercial port of Messina.
From here you can explore the city and see such interesting sites as Messina Cathedral and the Bell Tower, the beautiful fountain of Orion and the Temple of Christ the King.
13. Piazza de Nava/Piazza Indipendenza
Located next to the Museo Nazionale, these two charming squares offer a quiet place to relax and people watch, and rest from a busy day of sight-seeing.
The Piazza de Nava is surrounded by beautiful buildings and in the centre is a large monument dedicated to Giuseppe Nava who was an important statesman in Reggio Calabria.
Just across the road, Piazza Indipendenza is dedicated to Italian independence and contains several shaded areas covered with beautiful trees; the delightful Cesare Gelateria can also be found here.
14. Sample a vegetarian pizza at Pizzeria Mandalari
Ice-cream, Pizza and Pasta are the three foods that Italy is famed for, and Pizzeria Mandalari in Reggio Calabria offers the opportunity to indulge in some brilliant homemade pizzas that will leave you wanting more! Located on the Via Udine, this unassuming establishment might not look much from the outside, but its menu and piazzas are second to none.
You can enjoy a wide variety of creations including a selection of vegetarian Pizzas, and there is also a large beer selection – all served by the friendly and eager staff.
15. Aspromonte National Park
To the east of Reggio Calabria is some stunning mountain scenery and the wonderful Aspromonte National Park.
As one of the few national parts in this region of Italy, Aspromonte has a great deal to offer and is the perfect place to visit for those who love hiking and the outdoors.
Montalto is the highest mountain of this park that stands at 1955m high, but aside from the mountains, there is also many beech forests to explore.
You can also find a plethora of wildlife here including the Peregrine Falcon, Wolves, the Eagle Owl and the Goshawk.