Tuesday Treasures (6) from Rome!

What changes more rapidly, season or human!

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A tale of 5 cities: Part 2 – Belmonte Calabro

The second (small) town,  we visited was picturesque  “Belmonte Calabro”, also in Calabria (Southern Italy).  It is perched on a hilltop on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.  It was founded in 1270.  Belmonte was besieged several times but not being a history person with proper historical facts, I would not make any statements on it.

Belmonte can be reached by road through the SS18 State Road (Tirrena Inferiore). The town has a station on the main line from Naples to Reggio Calabria. It’s a wonderful place for a short visit. If you are travel with a hire car you will be able to explore some of the green hilly countryside inland  and  discover traditional Calabrese villages and landscape.

The first place we visited in our trip was Amantea.

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belmonte_Calabro

A tale of 5 cities: Part 1 – Amantea

The first city  town is Amantea. It’s in Calabria region of southern part of Italy.  “Lamezia Terme” international airport is the closest international airport. Many resorts/hotels provide pick and drop shuttle services for their customers. For those who prefer train, the main Naples-Reggio di Calabria railway line passes through town, train station is well-connected to “Rome Termini” train station (several trains per day).

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Going up to the Castle (Byzantine fortress):

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Lovely cobbled streets:

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Collegiata di San Biagio:

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The Castle campus:amantea_03amantea_05amantea_06amantea_07

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Back in the town:

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We had a well organised 7/9 course Italian sea food dinner at restaurant “Le Clarisse”. We reached the place little after sunset but had spectacular view of Tyrrhenian sea and the food was outstanding, and so the wine selection. It’s a perfect place for special dinner.

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The picture of Hotel Le Clarisse from their web site:

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A place worth to taste gelato is bar Sicoli. I tasted their Pistache flavour. It was amazing.

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The town lies on the Tyrrhenian coast between Paola and Lamezia Terme. It has a very attractive old centre on a hill above the modern town and a long stretch of beach. Off the main tourist trail, Amantea is a nice town to visit for a brief exploration, a short stay on the route south, or a quiet and relaxing holiday.

Main sights

  • The Rocca (Castle). First built by the Byzantines, it was strengthened by the Arabs. The current cylindrical tower is however to the Norman-Hohenstaufen age. It was long besieged by Charles of Anjou’s troops in 1269. It was nearly destroyed during the French siege in 1806-1807. It is now a public structure, but is abandoned.
  • Church of San Bernardino.
  • Palazzo delle Clarisse (17th century). The palace was built in the early seventeenth century as the Convent of the Poor Claires (Clarisse) and has remained a convent until 1806 when the French, as a result of the siege of Amantea, confiscated it along with other church properties and then sold it to the Marquis de Luca di Lizzano who made it his noble residence. The Marquis De Luca lived in the palace until 1977. Following a period of severe neglect and decay, the building was then purchased and restored by the current owner, Prof. Fausto Perri. The Palazzo delle Clarisse now hosts cultural and commercial activities such as concerts, exhibitions and paintings by the masters of the Atelier of Copyists, a highly specialized Italian laboratory with great tradition as well as a restaurant with a beautiful view of the sea.

References: