Calabria’s Enticing Scalea, Southern Italy

March, 2018

Calabria’s enticing Scalea in Southern Italy is always a great treat to enjoy with family and friends, especially when they’ve travelled from England. But Scalea is not just about the Gelato…
And, also about the remarkable history that envelops this town including its gorgeous Old Town.

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Giveaway of this article starts on Monday 10th June.

Getting there

Scalea, Calabria, ItalyFrom Cosenza, it’s almost a two-hour drive until you reach Scalea.

But first, the drive to Paola sees you swerving around steep hills for an hour, before descending down to Paola and the beautiful Tyrrhenian coast, then on to Scalea. This last part of the drive really does offer a pleasant coastal seascape, which always seems to be becalmed when I visit.

As I’ve published another post on Scalea, I’ve included a little history but mostly photos for your delectation in this post.

A little background

Scalea’s history is colourful as is Calabria’s history.

For centuries, merchants from around the world stopped in Scalea to trade their goods in the Byzantine port.

Latin Philosophers also used Scalea as their stomping ground as did the Greeks, which didn’t stop at only colonising Sicily, but instead continued to filter throughout southern Italy.

What to see

Scalea offers many cool monuments and museums for a visitor that are also free entry, although, this time we’re not visiting any museums.

Pristine kilometres of sparkling seafront, extremely popular with local and international tourists during summer months, boasts numerous modern hotels, villas, and bathing areas.

You can also explore grottos on your visit, which I’m still yet to see…maybe on the next visit.

Scalea, Calabria, Italy europe

Scalea’s Old Town is a must to experience its elegant aged architecture, but first, seeing as we’re at the water’s edge, then you only need to look up and spy the imposing Torre Talao.

Torre Talao

Built in 1563, this impressive example of Aragonese military architecture sits almost on the water’s edge.

Originally, the tower was on the Torre Talao rock, which was an island, but over time this became a peninsula and is now completely dry, and an integral part of the mainland. Prehistoric man inhabited the caves of Torre Talao rock.

Torre Taleo, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

As one of 337 towers and in view of one another, the Torre Talao was part of the coastal defence system against attacks from the Turks.

Cannons in the towers were dismantled towards the end of the 17th century.

Torre Taleo, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Locals had to build the commanding Torre Talao by either providing money or their free services towards its construction.

Scalea’s modern side

Level with the seafront is where you’ll discover a modern Scalea with many upmarket boutiques, restaurants, bars, cafes, and numerous gelato shops, along a paved pedestrian road. Locals are very friendly.

Scalea, Calabria, Italy, Europe

From the main carpark, the Centro Storico (Old Town) gradually swells – ascending towards the terraced hill – until you can just make out the remains of the Norman castle, perched high on Scalea’s rock spur.

Scalea, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Centro Storico

Take a hike inland from the seafront and climb up the steep cobbled steps of the Medieval old town, which throws you back in time with its mesh of antiquated steps and stone-arched lanes. The Centro Storico is one of my very favourites spots in Scalea.

Today, we are lucky enough to spy an artist creating a masterpiece and although a little shy, he allows me to indulge in a couple of photos.

Old Town, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Alluring alleyways drenched in history are wonderful to explore…

Old Town, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

…and the fresh washing hanging across buildings just adds to the character of the old town  – reminding visitors that locals do still live here, and the old town is not just for show.

Old Town, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Wandering down winding narrow passages reveal even more history’s secrets to a visitor.

Old Town, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Intricate stone sculptures are dotted throughout the old town and I only wish that I knew what their significance is – can anyone shed some light on these?

Old Town, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

As you climb even higher, you glimpse the crumbling remains of the Norman castle, sprucing above hundred-year-old cacti.

castle, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Norman Castle

Claimed as the oldest castle in Calabria and dating back to the 11th century, Normans built this castle on a Lombard fortress, in which divisions of Calabria’s lands were agreed upon by conquerors: Ruggero and Robero il Guiscardo.

Norman Castle, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Sadly, not much is left of this legacy…

Norman castle, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

…which is still a great vantage point for taking photos…

Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

…and surveying the expansive vistas out to the Tyrrhenian horizon.

Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

A crazy photographer trying various cameras for effects…

Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe
Photo credit: Lorraine Collins

A brief video to give you a taste of the sweeping views you’ll see from this hill – I’m still learning the art of making videos, so please be patient. I’ve taken this one a little fast perhaps?

Torre Cimalonga

Whilst you’re walking up to the castle, you pass the Giò Pub, which never seems to be open. I hear the food is good here and you can also absorb stunning views, whilst unwinding.

Glance above the pub to see the circular structure that looks similar to a castle but isn’t.

castle, Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe

Originally, this tower was erected back in the 15th century to guard one of the four access gates of Scalea. Later the building was used as a prison although these days, the tower hosts permanent exhibitions.

Where to snack

Usually heading for an excellent home-made gelato at Il Gelato, gave this a miss today as it’s a tad chilly.

Jeni’s Bakery

This bar come Gelataria, come gastronomia, come Tavola Calda on Via Lido 7/11, offers great friendly service and delicious savouries.

Tucked away from the main drag, prices here are a little cheaper. The usual panini of various sorts of delicious local goodness is on offer. Many chocolates and scrumptious cakes grace every corner of this bakery, tempting even the strongest of willpower.

Lido Ragno Doc

A wonderful spot right on the beach on Via Lungomare R di Lauria, with a great comfortable outside seating area.

Excellent service is provided in this tranquil venue in which to relax, whilst watching the serene Mediterranean, but also Italians parading along the beach – it’s always a fashion show.

Leaving Scalea

All good things must come to an end, so off we set with our visitors for the drive back to Cosenza, but not before we’re stuck in peak-hour heavy traffic for over an hour in Paola – it’s easy to overstay in enticing Scalea…

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

Scalea, Calabria, Italy Europe
Photo credit: Lorraine Collins

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97 responses to “Calabria’s Enticing Scalea, Southern Italy”

  1. map195 Avatar

    outstanding blog post….u have a wonderfull site….always looking forward for your next post….u are good blogger keep it up

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your continual support and great feedback!

      1. map195 Avatar

        alway’s my pleasure

  2. luisa zambrotta Avatar

    Beautiful post. As an Italian I thank you

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Luisa, many thanks for your kind feedback and glad you enjoyed this post. You may also like to read my first post on Scalea and have many more posts on Italy. 🙂

      1. luisa zambrotta Avatar

        Thank you: I’ll do it 💙

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Cool, thank you!

  3. Carmen | Avatar

    I have been to Italy before, but never to Scalea. It looks like my kinda place. I like the Medieval look of this place!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Carmen, thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment.
      Yes, there are loads of these lovely villages to explore in the south. Next time, you’ll have to make your way down here…

  4. da-AL Avatar

    so many lovely photos – with each one I’d think, ‘my fave,’ then ‘no, this is my fave’, then ‘no, this one,’… 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha that’s do funny, you’ll just have to come over and see for yourself to choose a fave. 😉

      1. da-AL Avatar


  5. jaynaylee Avatar

    I love this post! I’m getting my passport so that I can travel. Italy is one of my top ten places that I want to travel.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Jay, thank you for the great comment and glad you’re getting your passport. Italy is an excellent choice!

  6. inesephoto Avatar

    Beautiful photographs! I so love those alleyways.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you, it’s easy to take lovely photos in Calabria. 😉

      1. inesephoto Avatar

        Haha you might be right 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You’ll have to come over and see for yourself. 😉

      3. inesephoto Avatar

        Ah I wish.

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I have a spare room.

      5. inesephoto Avatar

        Thank you! 🙂 It is complicated.

  7. Blair Villanueva Avatar

    Never been to Italy and still waiting in my travel list! I’ll add your recommendation to my wishlist.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Blair, Italy is a great travel destination, especially if you’re solo-travelling. If/when you do arrive in Italy, don’t forget the deep south. 😉

  8. 3rdofthe3rd Avatar

    Great travel post, I love the stone sculptures, when I went to Dubrovnik there are lots of similar sculptures. Beautiful pictures.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey…thank you for the great feedback and yes, the sculptures are similar.

      I’ve only been to Dubrovnik once, back in 1985 when I solo-backpacked around the world for 12 months. All those years ago, the country was Yugoslavia – it just shows how much times have changed in just a short period.

      1. 3rdofthe3rd Avatar

        I know the world is always evolving. Once I’ve bought my house this year I’m going to be traveling so much more. I believe traveling builds the soul. Very grateful for your blog showing off your travels and the beauty in the world.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Wow, a huge step and good luck with the house hunting.
        Thank you for your kind feedback and hope that my blog inspires people to travel more, to nurture their mind and soul. 😉

      3. 3rdofthe3rd Avatar

        I’m sure it will. Safe Travels.

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You too and catch you in the Blogosphere. 😉

  9. gillmorris Avatar

    Looks lovely Nilla. I’d love wandering around those little alleys. Your video is fab! 🙂 xxx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Gill, thank you for commenting and I’m sure you would love wandering through Scalea and stopping off for a vino or two. 😉 x

  10. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    Another great post! I’ve been to Scalea but only on the seaside but I would like to visit the old town! As always great pics and a great post Nilla! Complimenti!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks Lulu for the kind feedback and glad you enjoyed my post on Scalea!

  11. Coleccion De Fotografia Avatar

    Such a lovely post. I like your narratives and the photos as well. Indeed enticing Scalea, Southern Italy!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your great comment and glad you enjoyed this post.

  12. Crinkle Hub Avatar

    Interesting post. Hope I could see it in future. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your feedback and I hope you get to Scalea.

  13. TheKitchenDoc Avatar

    I hope and wish to travel to Italy some day

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, thank you for commenting and I hope you do get the chance to visit Italy – definitely a great destination!

  14. mariaaar Avatar

    This place looks amazing. Something different from the typical city vibes but it’s much more relaxing.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Definitely more relaxing than the buzz of a city Maria.
      Although I’ve visited Scalea several times now, it’s never been during the summer months when it’s very busy.

  15. SiennyLovesDrawing Avatar

    This is a lovely sharing, I love beautiful places & travelling around. Love your sharing, photos & am enjoy my reading here 😀 Cheers, siennylovesdrawing

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Sienny! I’m happy that you enjoyed stopping by my blog and to read this post. 🙂

  16. Abu Zaid Avatar
    Abu Zaid

    I love read your article, i never go to italy. But, from your picture I can say that italy is look like nice place to visit.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Abu, thank you for your feedback and happy that you enjoyed reading my post.
      Italy is a great country to travel to and hope that you see it one day.

  17. The Social Tumbleweed Avatar

    Heading to Italy in 3 months and I’m hoping I can stop by this area. It looks so interesting 😉

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Rhea, lucky you and look forward to reading your thoughts on Calabria. Not many come down to our region so it’s quite untouched and unspoilt – you will enjoy a genuine Italian experience.

      You may want to read more of my posts on this beautiful region and other places in Italy.

  18. aisasami Avatar

    I never been to Southern Italy before. But it seems like Calabria is a calming place with full of beautiful nature and sights!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, so glad you stopped by my blog and discovered a little taste of Calabria.
      I absolutely agree with your thoughts on this beautiful region of southern Italy. Check out more posts of what Calabria has to offer.

  19. Style High Guy Avatar

    The photos of these ruins are really cool. Looks like you adventured out on the perfect day, that sky is so blue!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your feedback and yes, the sky is an incredible blue in Italy, especially during winter when it’s a clear crisp day.

  20. Elizabeth O Avatar
    Elizabeth O

    I am sure you really enjoyed there and the pictures are stunning. Thanks for sharing all the information and your experience here

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Elizabeth, I’ve been to Scalea a few times now but I’ve only published 2 posts.
      Many thanks for taking the time to comment and look forward to seeing you here again soon.

  21. lm10adhi Avatar

    Interesting read. I love Italy. Hope I could see it in future. Nice pictures and thanks for sharing.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      I hope you travel to Italy some day as I’m sure you’ll enjoy this beautiful country and its people…

  22. karenincalabria Avatar

    Always enjoy your photos and the video is a nice touch. I feel the same way about video speed when I look at the little clips I’ve taken or when I’ve tried the Ken Burns effect on photos. But it’s all good compared to the speed of the popular drone videos, which I find dizzying, usually not in a good way.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Karen,
      Many thanks for your feedback. Yes, taking and editing to make a video great is another form of skill, which I’m yet to master.
      Actually, I love drone photography but then again, heights don’t both me really.

  23. Samar Avatar

    I love reading this blog, It is always crisp and to the point!

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey Samar…

      Many thanks for your feedback and so happy that you enjoy reading my blog. Stay tuned…many more travel posts to share yet – I need to stop travelling to catch up with my writing! 😉

  24. thewayfaringnomad Avatar

    You have an impressive set of blog posts and photographs. Come check out my site whenever you get a chance! 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your comment and feedback.
      Will be over in a minute…

  25. Jasmeet Singh Avatar
    Jasmeet Singh

    These images are amazing. The place is magical and thank you for sharing the history about the place

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the great feedback Jasmeet and yes, “magical” is a great word for Scalea.

  26. Keshia Richmond Avatar
    Keshia Richmond

    Calabria’s Scalea in Southern Italy is a destination to enjoy with my family and friends.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Keshia, yes, Scalea is a great family town but there are so many in Calabria. Check out my posts under Italy as I’ve written many.

  27. Lisa Avatar

    It’s so nice to read about Calabria! We live half the year in Veneto and then return to Sicily for summer. It looks like such a pretty region, and you took great photos too.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Lisa, I have many posts on Calabria under my Italy category.

      Sounds lovely! I’ve been to Sicily (3 posts under Italy) but not Veneto yet…thank you for commenting.

  28. Matija Antonić Avatar
    Matija Antonić

    A lot of those small towns/villages in the world usually hide the best places especially in coastal region, and scalea looks amazingly beautiful with so many wonders to see, also you can never overstay anywhere, but still it’s a bummer you got into a traffic jam, but still, just more time to admire the sites 😀

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Matija, I totally agree with your thoughts and thank you for taking the time to comment on my post.

      Although large cities do have loads to offer, I much prefer the smaller villages for a more genuine and local feel. Scalea is very beautiful and also the reason it’s so popular during the summer months. You may want to check out my first post and photos on Scalea.

      Ha, ha, the traffic jam wasn’t such a drama. I just wanted to let readers know that if they’re driving during that time, then this is what to expect.

  29. momelite2 Avatar

    This looks like an amazing place to visit. So much history and character. I love it!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It really is a lovely place to visit Cyndi and many thanks for your feedback.
      I hope that you can travel to Scalea and other parts of Calabria one day.

  30. The Year I Touched My Toes Avatar

    Hi Nilla, Your Italian posts make me restless. Not having the crowds like up North is a big bonus for the South. I love the shot with washing hanging out. Louise

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for your comment Louise and yes, the washing reminds us that this is home for many and not just a tourist spot.
      No problem with becoming restless, as long as you head over soon. 😉

  31. Yonnah M Avatar

    It seems so beautiful there. Great idea for future travel ventures.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It is Yonnah and hope you get to this region of Italy – a hidden gem.
      Appreciate your feedback.

  32. Tara at Beach Expressions Avatar

    Sounds and looks like an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It is a lovely relaxed part of Calabria, out of the summer months.
      Many thanks for your comment.

  33. Neil Alvin Nicerio Avatar
    Neil Alvin Nicerio

    Great photos Nilla, I would surely include this to my itinerary when I visit Europe soon.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Neil, many thanks for your kind feedback and hope you get to Italy soon.

  34. folabest Avatar

    This post makes me to add Italy to my bucket list this year. Thank for the information shared about the place.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post and many thanks for commenting.

  35. Ashli Avatar

    Well this looks amazing!! I would love to travel to Italy one day!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes it is Ashli and hope you visit Italy soon. 🙂

  36. Nina | Lemons and Luggage Avatar

    I love Italy so much but haven’t been to Calabria yet. Definitely another region I have to explore, given that I really liked Campania.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Nina, thank you for visiting my site and leaving me a comment.
      Many travellers don’t make it to Calabria so it’s untouched. You must visit soon, especially as you’re so close living in Greece – no excuse. 😉

  37. the eternal traveller Avatar

    It is all so pretty. I can see why you love Italy, with the history and beautiful buildings. I would enjoy exploring this area.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Still so much to explore as Calabria is beautiful, but it’s not that easy to get around here in the south without a car – public transport isn’t great.

  38. lillyevechristie Avatar

    Gorgeous pictures! I need to go back to Italy very soon!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you – Italy is a gorgeous country!

  39. idjourneys Avatar

    A place with many gems! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, indeed it is and thank you for your thoughts.

  40. Valerie Cullers Avatar

    Really beautiful! It looks like the people are very nice also! Great place to visit, I’m sure!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Valerie. Calabria is a beautiful untouched region of Italy and has so much to offer…

  41. the #1 Itinerary Avatar

    I really need visit italy again

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for commenting but don’t leave it too long… 😉

  42. ॐ Mina R. Avatar

    I’m going back to Italy later this year!!! I Can’t WAIT!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Cool and thanks for you comment!
      Hope you have a wonderful trip and make sure you visit the south – it’s very untouched. 😉

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