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.
Diamante, Calabria, Italy

Getting there by bus

The 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 are dropped on 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 will 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 have been 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 am 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 leaving 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 is 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 are 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 very 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 are 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 to be 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 – love locks.

Locks, Diamante Murales, Calabria, Italy

Forever…

Another type of art, 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 didn’t want to eat a ‘tourist menu’ and preferring to savour a Diamante dish, I asked 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 took a 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 told the waiter I didn’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 did not deliver on his promise. On paying, my waiter was no longer in the restaurant, so I didn’t bother mentioning this to the new one.

Informed by the Indian shopkeeper that this restaurant has been operating for around fourty 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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79 thoughts on “Why Calabria’s Diamante Murales are Worth Visiting

  1. 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

    • 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

    • 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

  2. 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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