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The Ionian - an ancient, rural landscape


North Adriatic Southern Adriatic Liguria Ionian
Sardinia Southern Tyrrhenian Northern Tyrrhenian Other Small Islands

The Ionian sea is not only a geographical entity, but a place in the soul. The course you follow, to explore it, is steered by inspiration and passions, and on your journey, which takes you through thousand-year-old towns, along coasts, to headlands and gulfs, beaches and villages, there are no limits or pre-established goals. For those who want to discover this unique world, there is the SUD to guide you high and strong in the sky - and the history of the people. There is an ancient echo of sounds and faces -Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Normans, Arabs and Spanish - and a succession of smells, intense flavours and bright colours. It is like a huge strong box of memories, beauty, and dreams, and discovering it is an amazing experience, that is definitely not to be missed.


The Calabria Coast

In Calabria, the furthest southern point of the Italian peninsula, what strikes one most is the blending together of strong contrasting elements. Harshness and sweetness co-exist and unfailingly enhance the charm of the places.

With high peaks and deep waters, intense greens and cobalt blue, the eye receives the most disparate impulses in a very short space of time and distance. With hundreds of kilometres of coast, there is bound to be a great variety of landscape. But that"s not all: tourists here are also offered leisure events, far fun-filled holidays, and the opportunity to pamper themselves. The many thermal springs are a valuable heritage that add to the enjoyment and give holidaymakers the chance to keep their bodies in good shape.

The lonian coast, from its border with Basilicata to the point looking towards Sicily, is a continuous succession of linear white beaches, and rocky arches, cliffs and caves. The southern part, with places such as Cir Marina, Crotone, Isola di Capo Rizzuto (a resort "created" far tourism) and Le Castella offer hotels and accommodation to satisfy the demands of European tourism. The shoreline to the south, with its backdrop of dunes covered with Mediterranean maquis, has broad sandy beaches bordered by the deep blue of the sea. The better-known seaside resorts are Catanzaro Marina, Squillate Lido, Copanello, Soverato, Marina di Davoli, and Sant"Andrea Ionio Marina. And then there"s Marina di Gioiosa lonica, Locri, Bovalino, and Melito di Porto Salvo.

A virtual tour around this magic world might begin from the Apulian coast, stretching out into the sea almost like a bridge towards the East. The whole Apulian shoreline is rich in landscapes and corners of great beauty, and so is the stretch that goes northwards from Leuca, the point where the waters of the Adriatic and the lonian mingle.

Gulf of Taranto

One of the loveliest places in the area is Gallipoli (its name means "beautiful town") - a fortress rising up from the sea like an island, surrounded by walls, with glittering domes on its churches. Every town near it has artistic and architectural treasures, from Medieval Byzantine to Baroque. We are in the Taranto area, and a little further on, with a large bend in the coastline, we come out of Apulia and into Basilicata and Calabria. Continuing along parallel to the horizon and following the varied contour of the lonian shore, we find ourselves plunged into a piece of Ancient Greece that has been preserved right down to the present day.
This is the merging of history and nature that gives the Basilicata and Calabrian coasts a touch of the extraordinary. Basilicata has only a few dozen kilometres of shoreline, but it faces both sides of the Italian "boot". Along the lonian there are low-Iying sandy coasts with very good links to the main historic and archaeological centres inland, and resorts that are not very large but are well-equipped to accommodate tourists: Lido di Metaponto, near the ruins of the great Greek city of Metapontion (where Pythagoras lived in the 6th century B.c.), Marina di Pisticci, Lido di Scanzano, and Lido di Policoro.




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