On the Ionian coast of Calabria, the largest protected marine area in Italy extends for kilometers: the Capo Rizzuto Marine Protected Area, a place where nature and history embrace each other.
The Calabria region, summer destination for Italians and not only, hosts a large number of protected natural areas: from the Sila National Park, which involves three of the five Calabrian provinces and extends from north to south, to Aspromonte National Park, integrated in the metropolitan city of the capital Reggio Calabria. Mainly mountainous and hilly, the regions offers to residents and visitors an ample presence of reserves, important from the fauna and flora they contain, as well as a huge choice of seaside places, for the conformation and extent of the territory that allows to the Tyrrhenian Sea on one side and to the Ionian Sea on the other side to wet their coasts. The latter completely immerses the Protected Marine Area “Capo Rizzuto”, located south of the city of Crotone.
Established on December 27, 1991, it’s the largest in Italy in terms of side, covering an area of 14,721 hectares, 42.15 km of coastline and involving the municipality of Crotone and Isola Capo Rizzuto. The Protected Marine Area “Capo Rizzuto” offers to visitors an exclusive itinerary through an heritage of considerable value, in which nature converges with history and archeology: a journey between the legend and the myth, with scent of a crystalline sea that bathes the fine amber sand and the steep cliffs. With its eight promontories, the area includes two places of interest with very ancient origins: it’s bordered to the north by the Lacinio promontory, on which stands the archeological site of Capo Colonna and in which you can find, along with many remains of buildings, the last surviving column of the temple dedicated to Hera (or Era), the Greek patron deity of marriage; in the meantime it’s bordered to the south by Punta delle Castella or more commonly le Castella, a fishing village and fraction of Isola Capo Rizzuto, rich of Greek-Roman archaeological remains and are still visible, as well as by the famous Aragonese Castle, a probable Magna Graecia fortification erected on a small peninsula on the sea. The establishment of the Protected Marine Area derives from a dual objective: environmental preservation, unique for the entire costal area, and archaeological preservation, given the rich heritage that holds it. Stretches of rocky coasts alternate with expanses of very fine sands, wet by a sea rich of flora and fauna that has the peculiar characteristic of being very low compared to all the other depths of the Calabria coast.
There are numerous activities and excursions offered by the province of Crotone, with the aim of raising awareness and spreading the environmental and naturalistic heritage of Marine Protected Area of Capo Rizzuto. You will have the opportunity to take part in guided tours through the millenary history of archaeological sites and places of interest in the area, both from land and sea by boat; to visit the seabed thanks to scuba diving; to organize sailing excursions with the support of teachers belonging to F.I.V. (Italian Sailing Federation) and boat trips with a transparent background with field biology lessons. Lastly, you can also have the opportunity to embark on short half-day cruises.
Despite the beauty of unspoiled nature, the splendid preservation of legendary places of interest, and clean fairytale beaches, the whole area is still unknown to mass tourism. This makes it an ideal destination for an immersive natural experience in the heart of Calabria.
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