Why Calabria’s Diamante Murales are Worth Visiting

June, 2018

With a plethora of fabulous tourist destinations in southern Italy’s Calabria region, the famous Murales (murals) in Diamante are definitely worth visiting…

I have to let you in on a little secret, I did go slightly crazy taking loads of photos today. But the murals are not the only attraction in this pretty coastal town.

Tip: This article is now available as a mobile app on iTunes and GooglePlay. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

Giveaway of this article starts on Monday 10th June.

Getting there by bus

Diamante, Calabria, ItalyThe Preite bus from the Cosenza Autostazione to Diamante costs 5€ one-way and takes around one and a half hours.

Make sure you tell the driver beforehand to stop at Diamante as he doesn’t go into the town, instead drives past.

You’re dropped along the highway and need to cross this to get to the town’s side, then walk down the steep hill.

When you need to return, there’s an old dilapidated bus shelter without seats on the town side, opposite to where the bus dropped you off.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Bus view, another village

History of the murals

With over one hundred and fifty murals decorating Diamante and painted on almost every wall of every narrow laneway, you’ll have fun exploring this art. I’ve recently heard that there are around three-hundred murals now, but not sure if this is correct?

Focusing on a different subject or theme, emerging and established artists started leaving their mark on the walls of Diamante back in 1981.

The original idea ‘Operazione murales’ came from the painter Nanni Razzetti, whom was given the go-ahead on his idea from local council. And so, the ancient stone walls became a real-life easel for around eighty-three of Razzetti’s colleagues.

Since 1981, some murals have deteriorated to just a scraping or a faded smear across walls.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Calabrese life

Other images are maintained and still very fresh.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Incredible doorway

New paintings appear and it’s wonderful to see that local authorities are not adverse to this type of artistic venture. Then again, how could anyone be against such creative beauty?

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
“Only the woman manages to transform fragility into strength”

Wander along and absorb yourself amongst this open-air art gallery, whilst visualising artists creating their treasure on a fresh stone canvas, across a window, down a narrow laneway, or within a tiny doorway.

In search of the Murals

As an absolute lover of street art, avidly seeking this art out regardless of the country in which I travel, I’m more than excited to wander through in search of these murals.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Gorgeous car park

I didn’t mange to pick up a map of the murals today from the information office. Yes, there is a map. Instead, I counted on stumbling my way around.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
“Let’s play together”

Rest assured, you can’t really get lost in Diamante as all lanes and roads lead to the sparkling Tyrrhenian Sea. Although before arriving today, I did check an online map just to get a feel for an approximate street in which to start.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Another masterpiece

If you’re anything like me when travelling, not too organised, don’t have data on your phone or rarely take it out of your pack, and leave everything up to chance, then this is how your day may pan out…

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Elixir

…walking in the labyrinth of cobbled lanes whilst losing yourself in search of art.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Political Statement

There’s so much incredible talent in this town that it’s not long until amazement takes a hold.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Contrasts

Art is absolutely everywhere…

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Panoramic art

Tile masterpiece in the making.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Creating tile art

Even Hawaii gets a mention…

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Island influences

Diamante the name

In case you’re wondering, Diamante means diamond’ in Italian and no, diamonds were not found in this region.

The name comes from the Diamante Citron, which is a type of lemon boasting several varieties, widely exported to other parts of Europe and the world. One type particularly looks quite warty and not very appealing at all – I’m yet to taste this fruit.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Artistic dining

Poets such as Byron and D’Annunzio made the Diamante Citron famous and this fruit is also sought after by the Jewish community, during religious feasts.

Diamante town

Dating back to the 1500s, Diamante’s Centro Storico (historic centre) is small but a pleasure to stroll through and very clean. This area seems to hold the highest concentration of murals.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Tile art

Imagine using this art as your playground.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
These guys helped me find their favourite mural

Of course…

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Lion King

It’s wonderful bumping into yet another fabulous lifelike mural around every corner and so unexpected.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
“The Dreamer”

I’m kind of glad I don’t have a map as discovering these murals on my own is a great surprise – although I know that I haven’t seen every mural in this town.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Aged

The only downside is that many are not signed or the artist’s signature has worn off with time. Perhaps a map provides this pertinent information?

The town’s waterfront is not short of trinket and souvenir shops. Understandably so as after all, this is a summer tourist destination for locals.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Southern vista

The fiery chilli is grown in this region and another reason for Diamante’s fame. If you visit during September you can experience the Chilli Festival, which lasts several days. I imagine this is a gastronomic delight.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Stumbled upon this groovy Sombrero laneway…

The calm Tyrrhenian Sea gently laps the shores of Diamante, which hints as if time has stood still…

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Northern vista

A live taste (in Italian) by Rai in this video of the murals and also shows you a little of the town.

Popular in many countries and here also are love locks.

Locks, Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Forever…

Another type of art, which I discovered whilst meandering along the waterfront…

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Tyrrhenian sculpture

Diamante dining experience

Due to its popularity for locals in the summer months as of course Italians flock to the sea, Diamante’s waterfront is lined with many restaurants. All offer a similar three-course ‘Tourist Menu’ including wine, for 15€.

Ristorante Pizzeria Il Giardino

Deciding I don’t want to eat a ‘tourist menu’ and preferring to savour a Diamante dish, I ask a couple of locals for the best place to eat. If it’s one thing I’ve learnt whilst living in Italy, Italians love to share their traditional and local dishes, and are passionate about you having a great dining experience.

Finally, I take the shopkeeper’s advice and crossed the Via Libertà stone bridge to Il Giardino on Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, 44.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
New perspective

Advertising the tourist menu with anchovies – a local delicacy – I let the waiter know that I don’t feel like anchovies today. No problem: ‘we’ll make it seafood instead of anchovies’.

This is sounding great but short-lived with each course that arrived…

Antipasto – marinated anchovies with olives

Primi – pasta with anchovies and tomato

Secondi – fresh fried anchovies

I’m over anchovies!

I have to admit that I’ve never in my life been to a restaurant that served the same main ingredient for three consecutive courses and very disappointed that the waiter didn’t deliver on his promise. On paying, my waiter was no longer in the restaurant so I didn’t bother mentioning my disappointment to the new guy.

Informed by the Indian shopkeeper that this restaurant has been operating for around forty years, I thought I was onto a winner. Locals also dined here for lunch, but perhaps it’s my own fault taking the easy way out and selecting the Tourist Menu.

Anyway, back to the murals…which one is your favourite?

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts on Italy.

Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Art immersion
Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
On the other side and less traversed
Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy
Stunning
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100 thoughts on “Why Calabria’s Diamante Murales are Worth Visiting

Add yours

  1. Wow I want to go here! How incredible are these murals? Thank you for sharing a totally new place and something so unusual. It’s great to have you join us at Dolce Vita Bloggers this month!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your great feedback!
      I really enjoyed writing this post just as much as visiting Diamante – it’s an amazing place. Hope that I can show many travellers a few new off the beaten places as Italy is not just about Venice, Rome, Pisa, Amalfi, and Cinque Terre. Although these destinations are wonderful, there’s a lot more to experience here…

      Like

  2. Gosh, reading through the Dolce Vita Bloggers posts makes me feel like I’ve been nowhere in Italy! This town is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. Art and Italy are my two favorite things in the whole world. Thanks for the awesome intro and the amazing photography! Love, Jasmine (questadolcevita.com). #DolceVitaBloggers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jasmine, many thanks for your great feedback and glad you enjoyed this post and my photographs. Diamante is a special place, which you definitely should visit if you venture to the deep south. I haven’t visited Bergamo either yet… 😉

      To be honest, I still haven’t seen much of Italy at all and have so much to see yet…I’ve been here almost 3 years!

      Like

  3. Beautiful post! I remember reading about this place in an art magazine quite a few years ago. it looks amazing. Ciao, Cristina
    Ps I saw a sign in a restaurant in Roma you would appreciate ‘we are against war and tourist menu’!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is an incredible town to wander through and believe the Murales are being added to again this year, so will need to do a follow-up post.
      Many thanks for your thoughts.

      Like

  4. Hi Nilla
    Fabulous photos! Definitely a must see when I get over to beautiful Italy. Thanks for sharing then on your blog for us all to enjoy.
    Blessings Di

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Actually no, I’m certain I missed many, although I’m not far from Diamante so I have no excuse to visit again.

      The street art is stunning and I love that it’s become a permanent feature of the town and not removed or covered in graffiti.

      I have many more photos that I didn’t include in this post, otherwise, it would ‘death by photo’! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was so happy to explore this town with my mom and her partner when they were visiting in September. The weather was a bit threatening but we managed to explore the town for a good while before the rain started. I definitely need to go back because you found some murales I didn’t stumble across! I also didn’t know there was a map, I guess it would be helpful but I do think wandering and discovering them on your own is so much more interesting and enjoyable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you had a great time and always good to show friends and family Calabria.

      You can definitely wander for hours and still not find all the murals as there are so many. I still prefer stumbling upon the murals without a map – much more fun. 😉

      Like

    1. Thank you Brian – it’s a fabulous town!

      All OK but I’m now marooned here as my visa expired on the 20th and I haven’t got my new card yet…I submitted my renewal application with the Questura on the 30th July.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What I was thinking was that in Mexico they say Wednesday is the best day of the week. Once it’s over, the week-end is only two days away. Sooo. With 3 months under your belt, it’s bound to happen sooner than 3 months ago… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Glad to have made laugh. (It is a day “won” when you make a friend laugh) The wednesday thing is just another version of the half-empty, half-full glass… Where are you now then?

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Yes, I got that and thanks again for the laugh.

      Still in Italy remember, I’m marooned. Have started writing about Peru, which will really confuse people as to my whereabouts. Continuing travel stories from South America in 2011 and will publish one on Sunday. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Oh. I thought you had to leave the EU, while being processed. Well, that’s not too bad. 🙂 Look forward to your post. Don’t know Peru (can you believe that?) except for a stop-over in Lima on my way to Chile. Ciao, ciao.

      Liked by 1 person

    6. No, not for a renewal, quite the reverse, I can’t really leave Italy, well I can, but I may not be let back in…

      I can’t believe you haven’t been to Peru – a seasoned traveller such as yourself…spectacular country, but ripped-off there too many times – kind of takes the shine of eventually.

      Liked by 1 person

    7. Darn comment sent itself. Chi va piano va sano. 🙂 Perú? Yes, haven’t been there yet. There are still many places I haven’t been. Down under is one. 🙂 One day, one day…
      Have a lovely week-end my dear.

      Liked by 1 person

    8. Indeed, but snail’s pace is slower than slow here…
      Same, still too many places to explore yet.
      Well, if you’re thinking of visiting The Land of Oz, then wait until I’m back – you’re always welcome to stay.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They are gorgeous and a pleasure to stroll through.

      I don’t think it was a commission as such but more of a permission. I’ve written a little about its inception in the History of the murals section in the post. Many thanks for leaving your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. These are amazing murals Nilla! I love the quote in the one about women being fragile and strong and the one with the mother and baby in the boat is gorgeous! I always like finding street art when travelling. Your photos are fabulous.

    Liked by 2 people

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