Visit Reggio Calabria
Located near the southernmost tip of Italy, Reggio Calabria is one of the most beautiful and unexpected cities in Italy. Upon arrival it may not look like much but a leisurely stroll down the lungomare, through the neighborhoods, and a visit to the Cathedral might just change your mind. There’s a particular charm about Reggio, we think it’s the people, the food, and the sea.
Reggio is a place full of happy, warm people who move through life with a certain ease. This says a lot considering the problems that have plagued the region of Calabria for well over a century.
How to Get To Reggio Calabria
You can drive, fly, or take the train to Reggio. It is a city that’s quite friendly to all three modes of transportation. Once you’re in the city center you don’t need to drive around much. You can easily bike or walk most places. If you’re staying a little further out you can drive in and find a lot of free parking in the neighborhoods during the day.
There are two main airports in Calabria: Reggio Calabria and Lamezia Terme. There are also a few smaller airports including Sant’Anna but it’s a lost cause trying to book a flight through there as the schedules are wonky and it keeps opening and closing randomly. Lamezia has often been the best location to fly into due to its location and the fact that it’s an international airport. It’s only a 45 minute drive from Lamezia Terme to downtown Reggio on the highway.
You can now take the high-speed train from Torino to Reggio Calabria. With stops in Rome and Naples, it’s easier than ever to travel to and from Calabria. This train route was intentionally created to connect north and south Italy (Torino to Calabria). We hope more visitors will put the trains to use!
What To Do In Reggio Calabria
Reggio Calabria and the surrounding area is a treasure trove for those interested in archeology and walking through history. If you’re looking to relax and spend some time at the beach then you’re in luck because there are dozens of beach bars, restaurants, and beachside hotels to choose from.
Reggio is a coastal city so they take their fishing and coastal time quite seriously. There are plenty of free sandy and pebbly beaches open to the public. If you’re looking for something more comfortable then try renting a beach chair for the day from one of the beach bars, where you’ll also be able to purchase food, drinks, and even be able to shower and change. Beach chairs can cost anywhere from 15 to 25 euro per day.
The beach bars can be found all along the lungomare. During peak season it might be best to make a reservation. Inquire with your hotel, travel planner, or host about their favorite. Also, sometimes hotels have arrangements with beach clubs which makes visiting them very convenient.
Visit the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Reggio Calabria (aka The Bronze Museum)
The archeological museum in Reggio Calabria, which is also known as The Bronze Museum, is incredible. While the exterior and design of the actual building are nothing to scream about, what lies within is nothing short of extraordinary. There lies thousands of remnants of the past linking south Italy to Greece, Egypt and other parts of North Africa, and the Middle East. You can see the influence all of these incredible cultures had on this part of the country and thousands of years ago it was quite the bustling commerce route.
The popular bronze statues are on the way out of the museum and really beautiful. However, this part of the museum can get quite congested in peak season so it may be best to visit during the off-season or at a less busy time of the day.
The archeological museum offers more than history on trade and gorgeous statues. It shows how humans evolved in this part of the world and how and why bronze was such an important discovery throughout the ages. They’ve done a wonderful job curating the storytelling which really breaks things down.
Get Some Gelato
The gelato in Reggio Calabria is incredible. There are dozens of gelateria and bars tucked away along the lungomare, most of which make really great gelato. We particularly love Sottozero (Cremeria Sottozero) which usually offers ample outdoor seating and a huge variety of ways to consume gelato. From iced tea with a scoop of sorbetto di limone to a full-on gelato banana split they offer it all.
For no-frills or fuss, we prefer to go to Cesare (Gelato Cesare). It’s a tiny gelato stand on a corner and looks like something plopped from 1980s Miami Beach, neon sign and all. Cesare makes the best gelato in Reggio Calabria. In fact, it has been named the best gelateria in all of Italy! This is the place for gelato purists as everything is takeout, you can choose from a cup or cone and at least 2 dozen flavors. Go for the bergamotto as the fruit is native to Calabria and grows extremely well here.
Reggio Calabria’s Lungomare
Stand at the edge of the lungomare and look across the water to the endless coastline and hills of beautiful Sicily. It’s so close you think you’d be able to touch it. Definitely don’t try to swim it as the Strait of Messina is not too friendly to open sea swimmers. The shallows are safe and there are dozens of beach clubs to choose from.
Meander Through the Cathedral
The full name of the Reggio Calabria Cathedral is a long one, Basilica Cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta in Cielo. Walk to the cathedral from the lungomare and take a look around. It’s worth the visit as it’s an absolutely gorgeous structure. The cathedral did collapse due to an earthquake at the beginning of the 20th century which is why it looks so new compared to some of the older churches in Italy.
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If you’re planning a trip to Reggio Calabria or have questions, please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts! We love to hear from you and do respond to comments. If you’re on Instagram or Facebook don’t forget to tag us and use #EXAU so we can repost!