It is not necessary to go abroad for visiting extraordinary maritime localities. Italy is full of, let’s discover them together!
In spite of the tendency of searching beach destinations outside the Italian borders, our homeland presents numerous localities of maritime interest, wild and uncontaminated beaches, breath taking panoramas seen by the edge of cliffs and seabed richly populated by a picturesque fauna and flora.
The origin of this article finds its basis on a need that perfectly stands on the spirit of our divulgation. For over one year we have been talking about culture and knowledge, we want to guide who follows us to the satisfaction of their own curiosities, to the compelling need of making oneself some questions, which is the basis of every civil person. However, culture is not only written on books, it is also intrinsic on territories, it is made by promenades, by listening to the others, by meeting the diverse.
We have already faced, in the course of our job, various aspects linked to local folklore, because it is the tradition, unique in its own genre, to make a place rich. It is nice to know that our land abounds of a deep cultural depth, and it is important to valorise it, not as chauvinism in contrast with other areas in the world, but just to remind us that we are not orphans, we are sons of our own history. It is in fact from the meeting of various stories that the complexity of our world is written.
It is important to study, to make culture, to have goals, but is also important to know how to enjoy life and taking care of oneself, that are rare capacities in the narrow space of our existences, often kidnapped by dynamic currents and daily torments. To enjoy life means to appreciate little things, to go to the restaurant with the people we love, to pet the cat, to observe the sunset from the seaside, to pet the cat, to walk down on the boulevards pervaded by the smell of lindens and…
to pet the cat to dive into the water of course!
Therefore, if you have avidly explored foreign territories’ waters, if you have wet your limbs in the Greek Sea and in the Spanish Islands, if you want to know new and enthusiastic treasures to rediscover a stone’s throw from your own home, just keep reading this article: today we are going back to motherland in order to see which are the beaches less known, absolutely not to lose for summer.
If you are daring lovers of rocks, you cannot lose Cassiodor Tank in Copanello, a village in the municipality of Stalettì, province of Catanzaro, which constitutes, together with other wonderful places, the amazing Coast of Orange Trees/ Aranci.
There is not a proper beach, but it is about a bunch of grey rocks facing the Ionian Sea, from which you can go down to swim. This wild place and almost completely uncontaminated, it owes its name to the Latin writer Cassiodor (about 485-580) who, at the end of the Gothic War, settled in Squillace his hometown, where he built Vivarium Monastery presumably in 544. The peculiarity of this monastery is not linked to the fulfilment of religious functions, as for the praiseworthy abnegation that monks reserved in the scriptorium, to the point of building up one of the most prestigious, rich and researched library of that time.
Properly said tanks are water basins framed by rocks, completely or partially isolated from the sea, that were used at the time of Cassiodor, as containers to breed fishes. Our advice is to swim in the sea and dive in the breath taking seabed, full of caves and crevices richly populated by molluscs, seaweed and maritime animals, and then re-emerge and swim in the tanks, that in comparison with the sea will seem extremely hot.
Little Church of Piedigrotta.
Staying in Calabria, in addition to the Ionian Sea, it is worth visiting the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are plenty of interesting localities, among them the well-known Tropea, of which we have already dedicated an article. Therefore, among the less know places it is surely worth to swim in the beach of Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, in Pizzo Calabro. It is a little bay facing a church that is carved into the rock, a few tens of meters from the sea.
According to a legend, in 1600 a sailboat with Neapolitan sailors came across a tormenting storm. In the boat’s cabin that was about to sink, a picture of the Madonna of Piedigrotta was guarded. Sailors made a vow to the Virgin: in exchange for the salvation, they would have built her a chapel. The boat was swallowed by the sea, but the crew manage to rescue (together with the picture) and to reach a beach in the province of Vibo Valentia. It was there that they started digging the rocks to build a chapel.
Between 800 and 900, the cave started being expanded and there were scalped statues in it. As reported on the official site of the Little Church of Piedigrotta, the rock is not of tufaceous nature indeed (that is, it is not of volcanic origins) on the contrary, it is about sandstones and rudimentary rocks.
The small dimension of the beach makes it a very intimate place. The water is crystal, even farther from the coast and it presents numerous rocks on which it is possible to see crabs and molluscs. It is about one of the hottest seas in Calabria, if not the hottest at all.
After a rejuvenating swim, it is possible to reach the town centre of Pizzo, at about 1km from the little church, walk on the seaside and appreciate Murat Castle. Primarily, however, you cannot miss the opportunity to eat the famous Pizzo truffle, an extraordinary dessert that was invented right there, an absolute delicacy which valour has been recognized at a European level.
Argentiera, the ghost town.
Let’s fly to the north of Sardinia, in the province of Sassari. We are now in Argentiera. We can’t help but expect marvellous coasts by looking at the Sardinian sea, and indeed, Argentiera beaches swarm of coarse sand (that doesn’t adhere to the skin), seabed full of wrecks and caves to explore.
The main feature of this place, in addition to a marvellous sea, it’s that of embodying a kind of ghost town. Indeed, this village of 70 people was once a town with a fervent industrial activity, focused on the mines and the production of silver, lead, zinc and iron. In 1963, mining activity stopped and the town started emptying.
Walking along the streets of the town it is possible to enjoy ruins still intact, plants and buildings made of wood. The dilapidated atmosphere that you can breathe has been particularly appreciated by some directors that chose to capture it in their films, among which we remind The Cliff of Desires (directed by Joseph Losey, 1968).
Recently, the town has been subjected to urban regeneration works, to the point that in 2019 MAR was inaugurated, the first open-air mining museum in enhanced reality. Besides, nearby the town’s square every year there is a literary festival.
We are in Sicily, precisely in the province of Syracuse, the third city of Roman Empire and historical place. Plemmiro beach, named after the homonymous mount, it’s developed on 14km on the coast and has one of the most charming seabed of Italy. Indeed, the depth of this sea, not only is crawling with a great quantity of maritime species, as starfish and structures similar to small coral reefs, but also extraordinary wrecks coming from various eras, from the ancient era (finds of amphorae and various artefacts) to the Second World War: in 2017 the wreck of an English bombardier shot down in 1943 was discovered.
In the rocks around this area, fossils of whales’ bones dating back millions of years are set and laminated, as extinct bivalves and other primordial creatures. The coast is paved with karstic caves presenting stalagmites and stalactites. This place is out of doubt Earthy Heaven for everyone who is a sea lover; it is also classified as Specially Protected Area of Mediterranean Interest since 2004. If you are lucky, you can see maritime turtles nearby the beach, laying their eggs.
Knocked in Caves.
The last place we talk about is the knocked in caves in Apulia, morphological masterpieces unique in their genres. It is about two caves reachable exclusively by the sea, that present, in addition to an ordinary frontal opening, also an open mouth upwards.
I am talking about the Great Knocked in Cave of Vieste and the Little Knocked in Cave of Otranto. As in every cave of this area, they come from karst phenomena and marine erosion. Yet their peculiarity stands on the erosion of the underneath soil, that in the course of the centuries created a scenario where the thick vegetation yearns for the sky, and open itself to let Sunbeams plunge on the sea, giving energetic colours to the emerald green waters of Adriatic coast.
According to mythological legends, these caves, together with others, were the abode of the sirens, creatures that in ancient times enchanted sailors with their chants dragging them to a ruinous death, or kidnapping the maidens they were jealous of.
We remind that Vieste seaside resort, housing the Great Knocked in Cave, has been repeatedly awarded with the blue flag from the FEE (Foundation of the Environmental Education), an award given to officially recognise bathing and waters quality.
The village of Otranto, instead, has been recognized in 2010 as UNESCO Cultural Heritage, specifically as Messenger Site of peace. This award, already widely hoped for in the 80s when the architect Renzo Piano laid his hand on the town, has been reached also thanks to the collective commitment of citizens aimed to protect the town and promote solidarity and hospitality. Indeed, every year the Dawn of the Peoples is called, a cultural review that enhances Otranto’s Mediterraneancy as binding force of civilizations and religions.
The town is full of extraordinary masterpieces, as the remains of the Monastery of Casole and the Hypogeum of Tower Pinta, definitely an uncommon place that could downright be dated back to the Neolithic. In addition to, of course, the Cathedral of Santa Maria Annunziata, that houses a marvellous mosaic created between 1163 and 1665, one of the most important of the Italian Middle Age. The central figure of the masterpiece is the Tree of Life.
Shortly, after bathing you cannot be bored!
If you liked this article and if you consider precious our work of spreading, I invite you to support our project by following our web site and our social channels Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Thank you and enjoy your holidays!
Dottoressa triennale in Lingue per il Commercio. Ciò che più mi appassiona è lo studio di culture diverse dalla mia, nella consapevolezza che ciò possa portare ad una crescita personale. Sono convinta che tutte le arti e le singole culture debbano essere esaltate e valorizzate nella giusta misura