Calabria

Description

Description

Bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the east, the Calabria region boasts remarkable geographical features, including vast coastlines, highlands and lush mountains. Located at the extreme south of the peninsula and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina, Calabria is easily recognizable as the toe of the Italian boot. Although vines were cultivated here as early as the 7th century BC, Calabria is currently among the Italian regions that produce the least wine. Long satisfied with bulk wine production for export to the north, since the 1970s, Calabria has put greater emphasis on commercializing its own wines. Although it lags behind other regions of the Mezzogiorno with respect to capital investment, Calabria has recently begun upgrading its vineyards with encouraging results.

Even though the Calabrian economy relies heavily on agriculture, vineyards take a back seat to other crops such as olives and citrus fruits. The two grape varieties that dominate the region are of Greek origin—Gaglioppo for red wine and Greco for white. Moreover, reds account for the overwhelming majority of Calabrian wines at over 90% of total production.

Called Enotria (Land of wines) during antiquity, Calabria produces one of Italy’s oldest wines, Cirò DOC, which is made on the outskirts of the town of Cirò Marina near Crotone. By far the most famous regional appellation, the Cirò vineyards grow on the sunny hills of the Ionian coast, which are particularly conducive to viticulture.

Cirò derives from Kremissa wine, whose name comes from the Greek colony that initially occupied the Cirò Marina location at the time of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece). According to legend, this was the wine Calabrian athletes drank to celebrate their victories at the first Olympic Games.

Textured, powerful and tangy, the Cirò is a typical red wine of Italy’s hot southern climate and the epitome of Gaglioppo grape. Its strong personality expresses a rustic charm that is intimately associated with its terroir. Unlike other varieties from southern Italy known for their dense, opaque colour, Cirò wines have a lighter, slightly orange shade. Its Riserva version easily keeps for a decade. Recent upgrades to its vineyard and production methods have yielded rounder, less alcoholic wines that are less susceptible to oxidation. Experiments blending Magliocco grapes and other international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, with Gaglioppo grapes have yielded fairly good results that have advanced the region’s standing. However, the recent commercial booms experienced in Puglia and Sicily have been slow to reach Calabria, which most oenophiles still consider of marginal interest.

Cirò wine alone accounts for almost 85% of all Calabrian DOCs. On the Tyrrhenian coast, one finds a second significant wine producing area, which includes the Lamezia, Scavigna and Savuto DOCs. Melissa, Donnici, Pollino, and Bivongi constitute another cluster of DOCs, whose popularity and exports are increasingly diminishing. From the city of Bianco, south of Reggio Calabria, comes one of Italy’s best sweet wines, Greco di Bianco. Hard to find outside the region, one should really try tracking it down during any visit to the area.

Cosenza: A Treasure to Behold

The ancient city of Cosenza lies in Italy’s deep southern region of Calabria on a slender strip of land between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. It is flanked by two national parks, the equally renowned Pollino and Sila, where the air is said to be the purest in Europe. A treasure to behold nestled in a narrow valley at the confluence of the Crathis and Busento rivers, Cosenza is favoured by a micro-climate that distinguishes it from the rest of the region.

Over the centuries an assortment of nomads, raiders and invaders have overrun the territory: Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Jews, Byzantines, Lombards, Normans, Albanians, Spaniards, French – each leaving their imprint and creating an amalgam of cultures unique to the area.

Today, the territory of Cosenza counts over 150 towns and villages scattered on plains, mountainsides, hilltops and coastlines. It is one of the few places on earth where one can ski on spectacular snow-covered mountains in the morning and go for a swim on a breathtaking beach in the afternoon.


Land of Plenty
The great variety of local products and healthy food preparation make Cosenza one of Southern Italy’s obligatory gastronomic stops.

Liquorice from the Sibari Plain is known world wide for its unique taste and low sugar content. The area also produces exquisite lemons and clementines. The latter, a hybrid between tangerines and oranges, are recognized for their health benefits – a couple are enough to satisfy one’s daily requirement of vitamin C.

Sweet, red Tropea onions are actually grown in the area of Campora San Giovanni and Amantea near Cosenza. The nearby town of Diamante hosts the annual peperoncino (chili pepper) festival, one of the largest in Italy. It also lends its name to the Diamante Citron, the only certified source of citrus for the ancient Jewish celebration of Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.

Fresh fish or wild game combine with local produce – potatoes, peppers, eggplants, mushrooms, onions, olives, figs, chestnuts, almonds – to create distinctive recipes that will tease the palate of the novice as well as the well-healed connoisseur.

Cosenza is equally recognized for its remarkable extra virgin olive oil, and its robust wines made from Magliocco, Nerello and Gaglioppo grapes. The latter is the source of Cirò, Calabria’s most famous DOC wine export, ideal with spicy Calabrian cold cuts like ‘nduja and soppressata, and caciocavallo and provola cheeses. End your meal with mostaccioli for desert and espresso!

A rich cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, a wealth of activities, unique flavours and, of course, beautiful people – let Cosenza draw you to its charms.

 What to do?

Spared from mass tourism, Calabria remains rooted in its history and traditions, which makes it the perfect destination for an authentic Italian holiday. Known for its spicy cuisine and sandy beaches, this enchanting isthmus is one of the most famous regions of southern Italy. Amid land and sea, Calabria possesses many National Parks (Pollino, Sila and Aspromonte), dozens of nature reserves, and several crystal-clear beaches, which are among the most beautiful in the country. Its rich Greco-Latin heritage is apparent throughout its territory, which features ancient relics and ruins, including the famous Riace bronzes kept at the National Museum of Magna Graecia in Reggio Calabria. Mostly mountainous, Calabria is lined with picturesque villages surrounded by wild landscapes. The coastal towns of Cosenza, Catanzaro, Crotone, Tropea and Scilla recall the region’s ancient origins tied to Magna Graecia and the successive Norman, Arab and Spanish conquests.

Wines

Flagship Wine Grapes

  • Calabrese
  • Gaglioppo
  • Greco Nero
  • Greco bianco
  • Magliocco Canino
  • Malvasia
  • Nerello Cappuccio

Flagship Wine Appellations

  • Cirò DOC
  • IGT Calabria
  • Scavigna DOC
  • Terre di Cosenza DOC

Vitivinicoles activities in the region

Wine and food pairing

Discovery ride

Wine Tasting

Activities and events

Events

Activities around

Apennins calabrais

Lonienne Sea

Bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the east, the Calabria region boasts remarkable geographical features, including vast coastlines, highlands and lush mountains. Located at the extreme south of the peninsula and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina, Calabria is easily recognizable as the toe of the Italian boot. Although vines were cultivated here as early as the 7th century BC, Calabria is currently among the Italian regions that produce the least wine. Long satisfied with bulk wine production for export to the north, since the 1970s, Calabria has put greater emphasis on commercializing its own wines. Although it lags behind other regions of the Mezzogiorno with respect to capital investment, Calabria has recently begun upgrading its vineyards with encouraging results.

Even though the Calabrian economy relies heavily on agriculture, vineyards take a back seat to other crops such as olives and citrus fruits. The two grape varieties that dominate the region are of Greek origin—Gaglioppo for red wine and Greco for white. Moreover, reds account for the overwhelming majority of Calabrian wines at over 90% of total production.

Called Enotria (Land of wines) during antiquity, Calabria produces one of Italy’s oldest wines, Cirò DOC, which is made on the outskirts of the town of Cirò Marina near Crotone. By far the most famous regional appellation, the Cirò vineyards grow on the sunny hills of the Ionian coast, which are particularly conducive to viticulture.

Cirò derives from Kremissa wine, whose name comes from the Greek colony that initially occupied the Cirò Marina location at the time of Magna Graecia (Greater Greece). According to legend, this was the wine Calabrian athletes drank to celebrate their victories at the first Olympic Games.

Textured, powerful and tangy, the Cirò is a typical red wine of Italy’s hot southern climate and the epitome of Gaglioppo grape. Its strong personality expresses a rustic charm that is intimately associated with its terroir. Unlike other varieties from southern Italy known for their dense, opaque colour, Cirò wines have a lighter, slightly orange shade. Its Riserva version easily keeps for a decade. Recent upgrades to its vineyard and production methods have yielded rounder, less alcoholic wines that are less susceptible to oxidation. Experiments blending Magliocco grapes and other international varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, with Gaglioppo grapes have yielded fairly good results that have advanced the region’s standing. However, the recent commercial booms experienced in Puglia and Sicily have been slow to reach Calabria, which most oenophiles still consider of marginal interest.

Cirò wine alone accounts for almost 85% of all Calabrian DOCs. On the Tyrrhenian coast, one finds a second significant wine producing area, which includes the Lamezia, Scavigna and Savuto DOCs. Melissa, Donnici, Pollino, and Bivongi constitute another cluster of DOCs, whose popularity and exports are increasingly diminishing. From the city of Bianco, south of Reggio Calabria, comes one of Italy’s best sweet wines, Greco di Bianco. Hard to find outside the region, one should really try tracking it down during any visit to the area.

Cosenza: A Treasure to Behold

The ancient city of Cosenza lies in Italy’s deep southern region of Calabria on a slender strip of land between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas. It is flanked by two national parks, the equally renowned Pollino and Sila, where the air is said to be the purest in Europe. A treasure to behold nestled in a narrow valley at the confluence of the Crathis and Busento rivers, Cosenza is favoured by a micro-climate that distinguishes it from the rest of the region.

Over the centuries an assortment of nomads, raiders and invaders have overrun the territory: Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Jews, Byzantines, Lombards, Normans, Albanians, Spaniards, French – each leaving their imprint and creating an amalgam of cultures unique to the area.

Today, the territory of Cosenza counts over 150 towns and villages scattered on plains, mountainsides, hilltops and coastlines. It is one of the few places on earth where one can ski on spectacular snow-covered mountains in the morning and go for a swim on a breathtaking beach in the afternoon.


Land of Plenty
The great variety of local products and healthy food preparation make Cosenza one of Southern Italy’s obligatory gastronomic stops.

Liquorice from the Sibari Plain is known world wide for its unique taste and low sugar content. The area also produces exquisite lemons and clementines. The latter, a hybrid between tangerines and oranges, are recognized for their health benefits – a couple are enough to satisfy one’s daily requirement of vitamin C.

Sweet, red Tropea onions are actually grown in the area of Campora San Giovanni and Amantea near Cosenza. The nearby town of Diamante hosts the annual peperoncino (chili pepper) festival, one of the largest in Italy. It also lends its name to the Diamante Citron, the only certified source of citrus for the ancient Jewish celebration of Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.

Fresh fish or wild game combine with local produce – potatoes, peppers, eggplants, mushrooms, onions, olives, figs, chestnuts, almonds – to create distinctive recipes that will tease the palate of the novice as well as the well-healed connoisseur.

Cosenza is equally recognized for its remarkable extra virgin olive oil, and its robust wines made from Magliocco, Nerello and Gaglioppo grapes. The latter is the source of Cirò, Calabria’s most famous DOC wine export, ideal with spicy Calabrian cold cuts like ‘nduja and soppressata, and caciocavallo and provola cheeses. End your meal with mostaccioli for desert and espresso!

A rich cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, a wealth of activities, unique flavours and, of course, beautiful people – let Cosenza draw you to its charms.

 What to do?

Spared from mass tourism, Calabria remains rooted in its history and traditions, which makes it the perfect destination for an authentic Italian holiday. Known for its spicy cuisine and sandy beaches, this enchanting isthmus is one of the most famous regions of southern Italy. Amid land and sea, Calabria possesses many National Parks (Pollino, Sila and Aspromonte), dozens of nature reserves, and several crystal-clear beaches, which are among the most beautiful in the country. Its rich Greco-Latin heritage is apparent throughout its territory, which features ancient relics and ruins, including the famous Riace bronzes kept at the National Museum of Magna Graecia in Reggio Calabria. Mostly mountainous, Calabria is lined with picturesque villages surrounded by wild landscapes. The coastal towns of Cosenza, Catanzaro, Crotone, Tropea and Scilla recall the region’s ancient origins tied to Magna Graecia and the successive Norman, Arab and Spanish conquests.

Flagship Wine Grapes

  • Calabrese
  • Gaglioppo
  • Greco Nero
  • Greco bianco
  • Magliocco Canino
  • Malvasia
  • Nerello Cappuccio

Flagship Wine Appellations

  • Cirò DOC
  • IGT Calabria
  • Scavigna DOC
  • Terre di Cosenza DOC

Vitivinicoles activities in the region

Wine and food pairing

Discovery ride

Wine Tasting

Events

Activities around

Apennins calabrais

Lonienne Sea

Vineyards