Catanzaro & surroundings

What to see in Catanzaro: European silk capital

What to see in Catanzaro? We take you to discover our city of the heart, between parks of contemporary art and unique museums in Italy. Catanzaro, defined as the "city of the three Vs", V as the Patron Saint San Vitaliano, V as the ever-present strong wind and V like velvet, it has a past that not everyone knows. Between 1300 and 1700, the capital was the most important pole for silk weaving, so much so that it was defined as the "European Silk Capital". The gold thread was worked in the Maddalena district by the masters who, thanks to their skill, taught their techniques also in Lyon. Today there is no trace of that past, only a few toponyms remain such as, for example, Via Filanda and Via Gelso Bianco, but to fully discover our city read our guide now on what to see in Catanzaro and its surroundings.



The first place we recommend you visit in Catanzaro is the Mediterranean Biodiversity Park, a 60-hectare naturalistic oasis born from the redevelopment of the old Scuola


Strolling in this park means admiring works by artists celebrated by the most important museums in the world, from Jan Fabre, with his "Man who measures the clouds" to Tony Cragg, with the his work "Rational Beings". Don't miss the seven iron figures facing the sea by Antony Gormley, the Cabane Éclatée aux 4 couleurs by Daniel Buren and the Electric Kisses by Denis Oppenheim. Other installations are designed by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Mauro Staccioli.


If you are an art lover, the Mimmo Rotella Foundation is hidden among the narrow streets of the Giudecca, the artist from Catanzaro famous throughout the world for having transformed the tearing of a poster into an art through the "dècollage" technique.

The house-museum, inaugurated in 2005, was also the milliner's mother's atelier where the artist took his first steps. It houses some of Rotella's most important works such as "L'allegro Charlot's World" of 2004.


Villa Margherita, called by the inhabitants of Catanzaro Villa Trieste, is the oldest garden in the city, inaugurated in 1881 on the occasion of the visit of Queen Margherita of Savoy. Inside it houses the Municipal Library and the Provincial Numismatic Museum.


The halls of the Marca Museum, created in March 2008, house the collections of contemporary Calabrian art. Don't miss the pop art of Mimmo Rotella and all the other works of Calabrian artists from the 17th to the 20th century.


If you love music, one of the things to see in Catanzaro is the Museum of Rock, the only one existing in Italy. It was created in 2011 thanks to the donation of collector Piergiorgio Caruso eracounts the history of music from the 1950s of Elvis Presley to the 1990s.

In its halls you can admire many unique pieces, including the cover of the banana designed by Andy Warhol, the album "The Stars of Mario Schifano" and the poster of the last concert of theBeatles in 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.


The Monumental Complex of San Giovanni is located in the area where the Castle of Norman origin stood, erected in the 11th century by Robert Guiscard and partially destroyed in the Fourteenth Century. Its spaces are often used for exhibitions and displays.


Walking through Matteotti Square, you cannot fail to notice the Cavatore, the monumental fountain symbol of Catanzaro created by sculptor Giuseppe Rito in the 1950s. The bronze statue is set in the walls of the San Giovanni Complex and symbolizes the hard work, perseverance and strength of the people of Catanzaro.



Taverna is the birthplace of Mattia Preti, one of the most important Calabrian artists of the 17th century. You can admire many of his works at the Museo Civico, Chiesa Monumentale di SanDomenico and the Church of Santa Barbara.


Among the things to see around Catanzaro is the Valli Cupe Regional Reserve, located between the towns of Sersale and Zagarise, called by Belgian naturalist John Bouquet "the best-kept secret in Europe. "It holds ancient trees, monoliths dozens of meters high, waterfalls and an 8-kilometer-long canyon, the second-longest in Europe.


If you plan your vacation in Catanzaro, you must make a stop in the Sila National Park. You can start your exploration from the Garcea Visitor Center, a stone's throw from Mancuso Village, and then move on to the villages of San Giovanni in Fiore with its Florense Abbey or go to Longobucco, famous for its handcrafted weaving. An experience not to be missed is definitely the Sila Train: a trip aboard a 1926 steam locomotive through the park's pristine mountains, from Moccone to San Nicola Silvana Mansio, passing through Camigliatello Silano.

MUSEO MABOS (MUSEUM OF ART IN THE SILA WOODS) About 40 minutes from Catanzaro, in the heart of the Sila Piccola of Catanzaro, you can visit Mabos, a place where contemporary art joins the landscape.

It was conceived by entrepreneur Mario Talarico in collaboration with art critic Roberto Sottile. The museum houses, in more than 30 thousand square meters of forest, many wooden sculptures made by the students of the Catanzaro Academy of Fine Arts, a greenhouse-laboratory space and several wooden cottages, the sites of the residencies of national and international artists.


The Scolacium Park is one of the most important archaeological sites in Calabria: it preserves the remains of the Greek city Skylletion and the Roman Scolacium underground.

Stroll in the greenery of the centuries-old olive trees and stop to observe the beauty and uniqueness of these treasures, from the Basilica of S. Maria della Roccella to the Archaeological Museum, passing through the Roman Theatre, the Forum and the Amphitheater.


One of the most beautiful villages to visit near Catanzaro is Santa Severina, in the province of Crotone.

The town stands on a tuff spur which dominates the valley of the river Neto. At the foot of the Norman Castle is the main square of the village nicknamed

the "Campo", with the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Anastasia and the Baptistery, one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine art in Calabria together with the Cattolica di Stilo.


Squillace is one of the best-known centers for ceramics, linked to the foundation of the city which took place around the 7th century BC. by the Greek colonists who brought

here the art of the famous potters of Samos. You cannot miss a tour of the art workshops and a visit to the Castle.


Scolacium Park is one of the most important archaeological sites in Calabria: it preserves underground the remains of the Greek city Skylletion and the Roman Scolacium.

Walk through the green of the ultrasecular olive trees and stop to observe the beauty and uniqueness of these treasures, from the Basilica of S. Maria della Roccella to the Archaeological Museum, passing by the Roman Theater, the Forum and the Amphitheater.


We've almost reached the end of our guide on what to see near Catanzaro. Now it's time for a swim at Caminia, the most beautiful beach on the Costa degliAranci: long, wide and with light-colored sand, it slopes quickly into the crystal-clear water of the Ionian Sea. At either end it is enclosed by two granite cliffs that form caves and inlets. On one side, swimming reaches the Grotto of St. Gregory: this is where the relics of St. Gregory the Wonderworker would have landed,now located in the ancient convent dedicated to the saint, in Stalettì.


We end our recommendations on what to see in Catanzaro and its surroundings with Soverato, the Pearl of the Ionian Sea.The town, a blue flag since 2017, is the most popular tourist resort on the coast: accommodation and beach facilities, nightclubs and discos.But besides the sea, there is more: a millstone quarry from the Roman era, a botanical garden with more than a thousand species of plants typical of the Mediterranean maquis and Antonello Gagini's Pietà, kept inside the Church of Maria SS. Addolorata in Soverato Superiore.

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Photo Credits: Luigina La Rizza ©