Calabria: 5 Secret Villages

Southern Italy’s untouched Calabria is bursting with beautiful villages (Borghi) – unearth these 5 secret villages…

Perhaps a village experience is not your idea of a holiday, but this type of adventure uncovers a traditional and authentic piece of Italy that is not readily available from extensive and well-traversed cities.

Calabria villages, southern Italy, Europe
Five secret Calabrese villages

1. Altilia

Visible from the highway when travelling between Cosenza and Lamezia International Airport, the village of Altilia is perched high on a rocky ridge hilltop.

Altilia, Calabria, Italy
A stroll through Altilia

The winding narrow road climbs higher and higher until finally reaching the small enchanting village of Altilia, which strangely enough is similar to a ghost town.

Altilia, Calabria, Italy
Another stunning panorama!

At over 590 metres above sea level, Altilia is much colder than Calabria’s coastal villages.

Located near the Savuto Valley this ancient tidy village boasts stunning views looking down and across the Savuto Valley.

Altilia, Calabria, Italy
Breathtaking views!

The village’s roots date back before the tenth century, which is evident in the gorgeous stone architecture.

Altilia, Calabria, Italy
Cover for an album?

Sharing this quick panorama video taken with my Lumix compact camera, so that you can enjoy the expansive vistas from Altilia – simply gorgeous!

Read the full post: Short drives around Calabria: Falerna, Altilia, Malito

2. Malito

Although Malito’s origins are unknown, some believe that this village dates back to 986 but some believe older, due to the discovered Pagan ruins and sepulchres.

Malito, Calabria, Italy
Yesteryear quaintness

And yet, there is also the fact that in 132 BC, the Romans started the road that took four years to complete, connecting Capua to Reggio Calabria, which crossed the Malito Fields.

Malito, Calabria, italy
Roof with a view

Exploring Malito on a crisp winter’s chilly afternoon, the icy winds at this altitude blow through the ancient alleyways relentlessly.

Malito, Calabria, Italy
Malito alleyways

Read about the village of Malito.

3. Roseto Capo Spulico

The village of Roseto Capo Spulicois famous for its impressive Castello Federiciano perched on a rocky outcrop and exposed to the seas of the Tarentine Gulf of the Ionian Sea. Dating back to the 11th Century, the Normans built the castle.

Roesto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Castle canvas

Thick medieval stone walls embrace an authentic village, which steps back through the door of time and into Roseto Capo Spulico’s Old Town.

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Timeless walls

Hidden timeworn arches enclose fragments of village life while revealing everyday occurrences.

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Medieval glimpse

The detailed post: Cosenza Day Trip: Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria

4. Castrolibero

Try and find information on the sleepy but charming village of Castrolibero…this is a village that is definitely a secret to tourists.

Surrounded by spectacular vistas from Castrolibero’s 580-plus-metre height, this is enough reason to take the short 8-kilometre drive from Cosenza to this village.

Panorama, Castrolibero, Calabria, Italy Europe
Panorama rest stop

Although Castelfranco (now Castrolibero) dates back to 1248, during the 15th-century, the village was known for its numerous brick furnaces. Due to its mulberry cultivation, Castelfranco was also valued for its excellent silk production.

Centro Storico, Castrolibero, Calabria, Italy Europe
Passeggiata (walk)

The most striking medieval stone fragment in Castrolibero belongs to the Santa Maria della Stella and dates back to 1546.

Chiesa Santa Maria della Stella, Castrolibero, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Past era

Castrolibero offers narrow cobbled alleyways to lose yourself in, although you won’t be lost for long in this tiny village. The modern monument to the fallen of past wars contrasts Castrolibero’s atmosphere while still blending in with this village.

More on this lovely village: Cosenza Day Trip: Castrolibero, Calabria

5. Rogliano

On the way to the spectacular Sila National Park and nestled amongst sweeping hills in the Savuto Valley, lies the quaint village of Rogliano – another village that is not frequented by many foreign tourists.

As my grandmother hailed from Rogliano, I spent a lot of time in this village with relatives and good friends living in Rogliano.

Following a powerful earthquake, the original village was re-built to its current position. Rogliano dates back to medieval times.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Aged lanes

Still intact and not having suffered the wraths of historical wars, a visit to Rogliano’s Old Town is a must. Not only to absorb its history but also to enjoy the open-air sculptures.

The sculptures were completed during six days and artists only had six hours to complete their piece as the work was ranked.

sculpture, Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Wooden female

Winding up the Corso, Niccolò Altomare’s bell tower confronts you in the square. Previously representing a medieval style to separate the bell tower from the church, this was remodelled following the earthquake of 1870 and is now a more Renaissance shape.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Centuries of time-keeping

You must try the sublime Pinsa when visiting Rogliano.

Detailed travel information here, although check out more Rogliano articles: Visiting Quaint Rogliano, Southern Italy

Where is Calabria?

If you haven’t heard of Calabria, this gorgeous region of Italy is sandwiched between the azure-blue crystal waters of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas.

Calabria, southern Italy, Europe
The region of Calabria (Map: Wikipedia)

Not frequented as other destinations in Italy, visit this region before it becomes a tourist mecca.

Feel free to check out my posts with free travel tips from 4 years of discovering this region’s wonderful activities, delicious food, and hospitable locals – secrets of Calabria.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on Italy at Image Earth Travel.

14 responses to “Calabria: 5 Secret Villages”

  1.  Avatar

    Hope to travel to Reggio Calabria next year on my way to SICILY. M y Grandfather is Cerasi, just cannot understand why I never see Cerasi ever mentioned? Is it a very small village?

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hope you get to spend some quality time there as it’s definitely worth staying! Not many foreigners so you’re assured of an authentic experience. Sicily is very busy! I wrote 3 posts on Sicily, if you want to read, this is Part 1.
      I looked up Cerasi as heard of the village but have never been – there are so many gorgeous undiscovered villages, especially in the south – this is Part 2 of my secret villages.
      Buona Giornata

  2. Keith Jewitt Avatar
    Keith Jewitt

    Calabria wants you back home Nilla 😢

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey Keith
      Yes, I know that Calabria wants me back, I’d love to be back also… 🙁
      Hope you guys are well and staying out of trouble.

  3. gillmorris Avatar

    Truly brilliant photos Nilla. Love the B&W ones. Southern Italy is defo on my buckey list 🙂 xx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Gill for the wonderful feedback!
      I love B&W photos and set my camera to monochrome before taking the photo. When are you planning on some travel? Hard to plan anything just now.
      Glad I can introduce to southern Italy. I have part 2 of secret villages coming out today, so stay tuned… 😉 x

  4. wetanddustyroads Avatar

    Ahh, I love your Italy posts! For us, it’s a joy to visit these old medieval villages (it’s so easy to get lost in the streets of the small villages … but, like you’ve said, only for a while, because it’s so small 😉). Loved your YouTube clip of the views of Altilia – breathtaking beautiful!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Berto & Corna
      Thank you for the great feedback and support as always.
      I too love writing about Italy and thought it was a while since I published an Italy post. Has it been a while since visiting Italy?
      Still working out the whole video thing, which I’m not great at but I do have more secret villages to share… 😉

  5. Debbie Myer Avatar
    Debbie Myer

    As always an amazing post Nila with beautiful photos. Thank you for making southern Italy come alive.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Debbie
      Thank you for the great feedback!
      Southern Italy is dear to my heart but it’s such a gorgeous region that it’s easy to make it come alive. 😉

  6. the eternal traveller Avatar

    Yay, I’m happy to be visiting Italy again with you. Any of these villages would suit us for a nice stay and the opportunity to explore on foot.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Carol
      Thought I’d write something on Italy again as my Indonesia posts are taking a while to sort out.
      Glad you enjoyed this post. I still have more villages to share yet…

  7. karenincalabria Avatar

    Great photos, as always! It’s amazing how many of these hidden villages there are in Calabria!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey Karen, thank you and yes it is, I have a few more to share yet… 😉

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