Reggio Calabria is a prosperous commune located on the west coast of the Calabria region of southern Italy. The city is one of the southernmost regions in Italy, directly opposite the east coast of Sicily, near the busy port of Messina. Reggio Calabria and the surrounding metropolitan area, with a population of over 200,000 people, is the third largest city in this region of Italy and one of the country’s main economic centers. The city’s main economy revolves around its port and coastal traffic, with Reggio being the main link to Naples, Taranto and Messina.
Civilizations such as the Trojans, Mycenaeans, and Phoenicians have seen some form of habitation in this part of Italy since the 3rd century BC; it is considered one of the oldest Greek colonies in southern Italy. In his later years, Reggio was ruled by Vespers Sicily and the Habsburgs, which eventually became part of a unified Italy. Today, Reggio is a pleasant and charming seaside resort with a lot to offer – you’ll find historic buildings such as the Argonne Castle, modern leisure facilities such as the Lungomare Falcomata, and a fantastic mix of fine restaurants and ice cream parlours.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Reggio Calabria:
1. Aragonese Castle
This fantastic castle has been the city’s main form of defense for centuries and was originally created in the early Middle Ages.
Since Reggio was such an important city in previous times, the castle was always maintained and fortified.
Today, the castle is still intact and can be climbed onto the battlements and walked along the defensive towers.
Located in the center of Reggio Calabria, this castle is one of the main symbols of the city and can be seen from almost anywhere in the vicinity due to its relatively low building.
2. Lungomare Falcomata
Reggio Calabria is a coastal city and therefore has long beaches and public promenades – Lungomare Falcomata is the main beach strip, where locals and tourists come to enjoy the sun, walks and wonderful coastal scenery .
Starting at the edge of the railroad tracks, the promenade stretches for miles until it reaches the bus station.
Along this walkway, there are countless trees, benches and lights, as well as some small parks and the delightful open-air Arena dello Stetto.
At night, the promenade comes alive and you’ll find a lot of people walking to enjoy the sunset.
3. National Museum of Reggio Calabria
If you are looking for a part of the culture and learn about the history of Reggio, the Rijksmuseum is the perfect place to visit.
Located behind the promenade, the museum is housed in a historic building adorned with many old icons.
Inside this museum, you can find a wealth of artifacts and artifacts from the surrounding area dating back to ancient Greek times.
Notable items include two bronze statues of Riace depicting Tydeus and Amphiaraus, a marble head of Apollo, various bronze furniture, and an ornate collection of jewelry and coins.
4. Athena Monument
At the heart of the promenade, the Athena Monument is an icon of the city, standing proudly on the edge of the purpose-built promenade.
Standing next to the statue, you can enjoy stunning views of the Messina Straight, while behind the statue is a fantastic public amphitheater.
The statue itself depicts the warrior goddess Athena Promagios, who is said to defend Reggio Calabria in times of need.
5. Reggio Calabria Beach
In front of the promenade you can find a public beach where many locals and tourists come to relax and enjoy the scorching Mediterranean heat.
Although the beach is a mix of sand and small pebbles, it is still a pleasant location, and the promenade has many amenities that you can benefit from.
There are also several beach bars and cafes next to the Athena Monument, where you can buy refreshments.
In Reggio, the beach is the perfect place to rejuvenate and have fun.
6. Cattedrale di Maria Santissima
Often referred to as the Cathedral of Reggio, this ornate church is the most important religious building in the region and is located in Piazza del Duomo.
Built in 1928, this is a relatively modern structure compared to some other ancient buildings in Italy, but it does have a classic Neo-Romanesque design.
The front façade is made of cream stone and marble, with four decorative columns topped by small domed towers.
The interior is framed by a series of imposing exposed stone columns and features a wealth of religious artifacts, including columns from the Miracle of St. Paul.
7. Corso Garibaldi
If you’re looking for a bargain or a place to shop, Corso Garibaldi is Reggio’s top destination.
This huge street stretches from Fiume Calopinaee to the Museo Nazionale and has several pedestrian areas for a stress-free shopping experience.
Along this prime retail space you can find a range of different shops, high street shops, boutiques and a variety of cafes and restaurants.
At night, the street is one of the main areas of the city’s nightlife, with bars and restaurants offering great opportunities for an unforgettable evening.
8. Parish Museum
Housed in an old church, the Diocesan Museum is another fine museum in the heart of Reggio Calabria.
This museum, in particular, is just a short walk from the Argonese castle, ideal for exploring the city on foot.
Located within this fantastic museum is an interesting collection of artifacts and artifacts collected over the years by the bishops and clergy of Reggio Calabria.
Items include gold and bronze altar pieces, golden chalices and trinkets, ornate jewelry and a variety of historical artefacts.
9. Try ice cream at Da Cesare Gelateria
Italy is famous for its ice cream, and Reggio Calabria has many great ice cream suppliers. The best of these is considered to be Da Cesare Gelateria in Independencia Square.
Although just a small building, the ice cream parlour is well-known throughout the city, and you can always find a steady stream of locals and tourists to sample the treats on sale.
There is a wide range of flavours to choose from, including traditional Neapolitan and vanilla, or some quirky creations like pistachio and cottage cheese!
10. Climb the Rocca di Pentedattilo
Pentedattilo is a ghost town originally built by Greek settlers in 640 BC. It was inhabited until the 1800s, but the earthquake caused the population to evacuate the village.
It stands today, an eerie reminder of a bygone era, and the original building can still be seen clinging to the edge of the mountain.
Behind the village is the rock of Pentedattilo, towering over the buildings, creating an interesting natural monument for you to explore.
There are plenty of photo opportunities here, and for the more adventurous, there are rock climbs.
11. Fortini di Pentimele
It’s easy to see why this fortress occupies such a prominent position in the city – high up on the Pentimele hill, from here you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the Messina Straight.
Dating back to the 1500s, the original forts were designed to defend against pirates, but were not properly used until the 1800s.
Much of the fort’s old structures remain, and they create great photo opportunities against the backdrop of Reggio Calabria in the distance.
12. Go to Messina
Messina is one of Sicily’s most iconic and important cities, with regular passenger ferries from Reggio Calabria to this bustling island port.
From Reggio’s main port, the ferry crosses the Messina Straight and lands at a small pier north of Messina’s main commercial port, Zona Falcata.
From here you can explore the city and see interesting sights such as the Cathedral and Bell Tower of Messina, the beautiful Fountain of Orion and the Temple of Christ the King.
13. Nava Square/Independence Square
Located next to the Rijksmuseum, these two charming squares provide a quiet place to relax and watch, and take a break from a busy day of sightseeing.
Surrounded by beautiful buildings, Piazza Nava is centered on a huge monument dedicated to Giuseppe Nava, an important politician in Reggio Calabria.
Just across the road, Piazza Indipendenza is dedicated to Italian independence and contains several shaded areas covered in beautiful trees. The delightful Cesare Gelateria can also be found here.
14. Eat vegan pizza at Pizzeria Mandalari
Ice cream, pizza and pasta are the three foods Italy is known for, and Pizzeria Mandalari in Reggio Calabria offers an opportunity to indulge in some great homemade pizza and leave you wanting more! Located on Via Udine, this humble hotel may not look like much from the outside, but its menu and plaza are second to none.
You can enjoy a wide variety of creations, including a selection of vegan pizzas, and a wide selection of beers – all served by friendly and helpful staff.
15. Aspromonte National Park
East of Reggio Calabria are some stunning mountain views and the wonderful Aspromonte National Park.
As one of the few national regions in this part of Italy, Aspromonte has a lot to offer and is the perfect place for those who love hiking and the great outdoors.
Montalto is the highest mountain in this park at 1955 meters, but in addition to the mountains, there are many beech forests to explore.
You’ll also find plenty of wildlife here, including peregrine falcons, wolves, eagle owls and goshawks.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Reggio Calabria, Italy
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