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.
Visible from the highway when travelling between Cosenza and Lamezia International Airport, the village of Altilia is perched high on a rocky ridge hilltop.
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.
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.
The village’s roots date back before the tenth century, which is evident in the gorgeous stone architecture.
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
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.
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.
Exploring Malito on a crisp winter’s chilly afternoon, the icy winds at this altitude blow through the ancient alleyways relentlessly.
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.
Thick medieval stone walls embrace an authentic village, which steps back through the door of time and into Roseto Capo Spulico’s Old Town.
The detailed post: Cosenza Day Trip: Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria
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.
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.
The most striking medieval stone fragment in Castrolibero belongs to the Santa Maria della Stella and dates back to 1546.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.