Often neglected by the busy Europeans Travel Routes, the regions of Calabria & Basilicata cover part of the land called by the Romans “Magna Graecia”, big Greece. Centuries later this land still keeps most of the monuments, the scenery and the flavours of those ancient civilizations that here, it seems at times, never disappeared. People are charming and tough; the scenery is beautiful, but destinations might be challenging to reach and explore without a good organization. But for those who seek authenticity this tour is the perfect choice: this are both one of the least explored and at the same time one of the most rewarding regions of Italy: spectacular scenery, unspoilt landscapes, fine food and rich culinary traditions kept alive by centennial nonnas. This trip is also an homage to my mothers who was born in this rocky and green land.
Arrival in Naples, we will meet at a Neapolitan Café and we will have a rich brunch, during which the Tour Director will illustrate in detail the itinerary and provide a general historical introduction. Leave Naples by 12 noon and visit to the Archaeological ruins of Paestum: three of the most well-preserved ancient Greek temples to be found anywhere in the world.
Transfer to Agropoli, Overnight.
In the morning, we drive through the beautiful Cilento National Park stopping off at some stunning villages on our way to Matera where will be arriving by Lunchtime. Matera will be the European Capital of Culture in 2019. With remains dating back to the Paleolithic age, this town is believed to be one of the oldest in Italy continuously inhabited for nearly 7000 years. We spend the morning visiting the town. The grottoes of the gorge were used as dwellings and by the 17th century it had become a prosperous town.
Drive to Metapontum where we visit the fine remains of another Greek temple: the Temple of Hera. In the late afternoon we depart for Viggianello in the Heart of the Pollino National Park where we stay in a Castello Dei Principi Sanseverino.
The Pollino National Park which is one of the greatest untouched areas of Europe and an outstanding Natural Beauty. Visit to the ancient town of Sibari, the ancient Greek town of Sybaris (Σύβαρις) was an important city founded in 720BC by Achaean settlers and later famous among the Greeks for its hedonism.
Morning visit the archaeological site of Crotone – in ancient Greek Κρότων, and most famous perhaps for being the home of Pythagorus, who founded his school here around 530BC. Transfer to Locri – the ancient Epizephyrian Locris (Ἐπιζεφύριοι Λοκροί or The Locrians upon the West Wind) – another of the great cities of the Magna Graecia : Plato called “The flower of Italy” .
Overnight in Gerace
We have a full day exploring the wonderful town of Gerace with its noteworthy remains of a Norman castle and fine churches. Then Drive to Reggio Calabria and we visit the Riace Bronzes on display in the museum in Reggio Calabria. These are two full-size Greek bronzes of naked bearded warriors found in the sea near Riace in 1972 and dated to around 450-460BC. They are some of the finest and best preserved Greek statues ever to have been discovered.
Drive to Reggio Calabria railway station in time for trains to Rome.
Optional Overnight Stay in Reggio and Next Morning Drive back to Naples with Stop in Maratea.
Please find below a link to a printable version of the itinerary
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