During the Roman period Cariati was a flourishing city of Magna Graecia and was called Carina for the graceful appearance it presented to ships sailing on the high seas. Some think that the current Cariati name comes from Carina, as above mentioned, but most of the inhabitants claim that the name comes from the dialect voice “carried”. It is reported that, when the coastal towns were victims of bloody raids by the Saracens who infested the Ionian sea, Carina’s inhabitants, in order to escape Turkish piracy, took the necessary things and carried them to the hill where now Cariati Superiore stands, and here they built their houses surrounded by solid walls.
Puglia, Calabria & Sicily sailing cruise
As we sail further along the Italian coast line to the west, you’ll be amazed by the pretty villages, like Crotone, which has a pleasant, unspoiled old centre and a great museum, and makes a good base for the beaches that spread to the south and for the Greek ruins at Capo Colonna.
On Calabria’s extreme eastern point, 11km south of Crotone, the famed column at Capo Colonna is a solitary remnant of a vast structure that served as the temple for all the Greeks in Calabria. Dedicated to Hera Lacinia, the temple originally possessed 48 of these Doric columns and was the repository of immense wealth before being repeatedly sacked as Magna Graecia and Hellenism itself declined.
Next on the horizon: Le Castella, a village crowded with history, legends, and trivia like few other places in the world. Some experts believe it used to face the island of Ogygia, where the nymph Calypso is exiled in Homer’s “Odyssey”, and the small archipelago it belonged to, now gone. Hannibal, the great Carthaginian commander of the Second Punic War (218–202 BC), is said to have sought refuge between the cliffs of Le Castella to hide from his Roman pursuers. The fortress protected the village from Ottoman raids between the 16th and 18th centuries. Legends, stories and trivia here intertwine in the embrace of a wonderful sea.
Much of Italy’s Region of Calabria is coastal, a peninsula in itself surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. Its southernmost riviera, running along the Ionian Sea between the cities of Riace and Locri, is known as the Costa dei Gelsomini, or Jasmine Coast. One of the wildest coastlines and steeped in history, the magnificent Costa dei Gelsomini winds through 90 km or 56 miles of the Province of Reggio Calabria. As you might have guessed, the Coast takes its name from the cultivation of the fragrant climber plant, rather diffuse throughout the territory.
Bays with low, sandy beaches alternate with high and jagged cliffs; meanwhile, all of it is surrounded by green, citrus- and olive-covered hills, all the way to the Parco Nazionale dell’Aspromonte. The Jasmine Coast is an ideal spot for simple and peaceful vacation days in a pristine environment imbued with beauty, history and traditions.
Palizzi is the Southermost town in the Italian mainland. It is a picturesque village, lying on the Southern slopes of the Aspromonte massif. The Medieval hamlet is fascinating with its winding narrow streets, stairways, passageways and the castle overlooking the village from a majestic cliff. Palazzi is the ideal place where the traditional food specialties and genuine dishes can be tasted. From Palizzi we cross over to Sicily.