Le Castella, located on the Ionian coast in Calabria, is a village known among locals by the name of “The Casteddi”. The village overlooks the bay with its ancient Aragonese fortress. According to popular tradition, the name of “Le Castella”, used in the plural instead of the singular, is derived from the many other castles located on islands off the coast and sunk in the past centuries into the deep sea.
Once you arrive in Le Castella, the center will be one of the most striking views. With many shops, bars and restaurants overlooking the clear, blue sea while the sun shines over it. Le Castella comes alive during July and August as many tourists choose to spend their holidays at the sea. And what a sea! Since 1991, Le Castella became a protected area and its sea remains intact with crystal-clear waters just as in the Caribbean. For this reason, the village is a paradise for snorkelers. Another thing that attracts young parents is that the place is ideal for children, with shallow waters (in fact, you can walk several meters into the water and it might not reach further up than your knee!).
Another sight worth noting is a castle that stands solid on the small island in front of the village known as “Capo Rizzuto”. It is considered one of the most beautiful castles in Italy for its unique location that sees the triumph of a small island linked to the coast by only a thin strip of land. The fortress, built on the fifteenth century, served as a shelter for soldiers engaged against attacks by invaders from the sea (namely the Turks during the sixteenth century). The present castle rests on foundations dating back to the Romans age, and it was the refuge of Hannibal.
The fortress was constantly attached by the Turks and remained populated until the early 800’s. However, soon the population moved to the mainland and formed a small village of sailors that today is the main center.
The Aragonese Fortress, which has been almost entirely restored is characterized by the old quarter and the remains of a small church and a chapel. The tower, dating back to the thirteenth century, is the highest point of the fortress from where you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the bay and the coast.
If you choose this seaside paradise to spend your holidays in, then the activities you can engage in will be plenty: you can enjoy its fantastic sea, visit the Aragonese castle, go shopping, taste local dished such as rice, fennel, patati e pipi friuti (fried potatoes and peppers). At night, especially during the summer, the main street comes to life with thousands of colours and sounds.
From the North Italy: follow the motorway A3 Salerno-Reggio Calabria until the exit Sibari-Spezzano and continue along the SS 106 towards Reggio Calabria.
From the South Italy: follow the motorway A3 until the exit for Firmo and continue towards Sibari to reach and take the SS 106 towards Reggio Calabria.
The nearest international airport is Lamezia Terme, about 80 km from Le Castella. From there you can rent a car to reach Le Castella.