The town of Reggio Calabria, capital of the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria, offers many places to visit of great historical and cultural interest.
Things to see in Reggio Calabria and surroundings
Walk along the Lungomare Falcomatà seaside
The first destination in Reggio Calabria is its famous promenade, defined by Gabriele D’Annunzio the “most beautiful kilometer in Italy” (in fact it is 1.7 km). From the promenade, named after the late former mayor Italo Falcomatà, you can enjoy a unique view of the Strait of Messina, the Sicilian city and Mount Etna. During your walk along the so-called “via Marina”, you will be surrounded by palm trees and other tropical plants, stairways, monuments, statues and architectural works of art, and even excavations dating back to the Magna Graecia era. In summer, dozens of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are erected along the beach.
A small pyramidal structure, the work of the Sicilian art workshop Athena of Master Alfredo Scandurra. It is a sundial (meridiana) with indications of the time in different locations around the world, a compass rose, and decorations on the theme of the zodiac.
The most recent addition to the waterfront is a 2020 work by Edoardo Tresoldi. It is a true stylized Greek temple made up of 46 wire mesh columns, 8 meters high and illuminated every evening.
Arena dello stretto and Monument to Victor Emmanuel III
The arena of the strait is one of the symbolic images of the city of Reggio Calabria. It is a modern amphitheater inspired by the Magna Graecia which also takes the name of Anassilaos Amphitheater. In the center, a monument dedicated to Vittorio Emanuele III, with a statue depicting Athena Promathos, “the fighting Athena” wielding spear and shield. Originally, the statue was facing the sea, to protect the city from invaders; more recently, the former mayor Italo Falcomatà decided to turn it towards the city itself.
The arena is the main venue for cultural events, festivals and outdoor shows.
Monument to the Fallen
Another work dating back to the time of King Victor Emmanuel III, this monument consists of a large column topped by a statue of Winged Victory and at the base two other statues, an armed infantryman on the mouth of a cannon and a Bruzio warrior with shield. The monument was created by Francesco Jerace and entitled “to the fallen of every war”.
The area of the Tempietto Park is located at the southernmost end of the waterfront, and is an urban area characterized by the presence of an emblematic “temple” in Greek style. The area was originally an illegal dump, now cleaned up and made “green”, full of flower beds and particularly appreciated by joggers and cyclists. Occasionally, rides and markets are installed in this area, for example during the Feast of Our Lady of Consolation, which is held every year in September.
Villa Genoese Zerbi and Rabarama statues
Villa Genoese Zerbi
A villa in baroque style belonging to the family of Marquis Genoese stood halfway between the Via Marina and Corso Garibaldi, but was almost completely destroyed by the great earthquake of 1908. It was rebuilt a few years later by the brothers Zerbi engineers, whose surname was added to the name of the villa. Today it is simply called “Villa Zerbi”, and serves as an important exhibition center and cultural center where art exhibitions organized by the Biennale di Venezia take place.
Statue of Rabarama
Three sculptures created by the Roman artist Paola Epifani, a.k.a. Rabarama, have been installed in the vicinity of Villa Zerbi.
- Co-stell-action, a human figure, crouching, covered by a geometry of stars of amaranth color.
- Labirintite, a human figure lying down, covered by a green geometry that creates a labyrinth.
- Trans-letter, a human figure with the head between the legs, covered by black letters.
Discover the Aragonese Castle and the Church of the Ottimati
Aragonese Castle of Reggio Calabria
In an area of the city appropriately renamed “Castle Square”, stands one of the largest fortifications in the city and throughout Calabria, the Aragonese Castle. The Aragonese castle is home to the observatory of the National Institute of Geophysics, equipped with a seismic center and a meteorological center, and is open for visits during the day. In the evening, the towers are illuminated with spectacular colors.
Church of the Optimates
The church of the Ottimati (or church of Santa Maria Annunziata) is an ancient Byzantine-Norman church with a troubled history, located near Piazza Castello. Built in the tenth century, was damaged several times and renovated in different styles, in 1594 following a fire at the hands of the Saracens, in 1783 and 1908 due to earthquakes. It was then dismantled, moved and rebuilt in 1933, using material taken from other ruined churches and basilicas in the region.
Explore the new South Linear Park
If you haven’t had enough of walking on the strait (and why should you?) you can extend your walk thanks to the new Linear Park project, which will extend the most beautiful kilometer in Italy connecting the Falcomatà waterfront to the port of Reggio in the north and the airport in the south. The three areas are not yet connected, but it is already possible to visit the northernmost part of the Linear Park South, currently equipped with a bike lane and two pedestrian sidewalks.
Visit to the Riace Bronzes and National Museum of Magna Grecia
The symbol of Reggio Calabria and one of the symbols that make Calabria famous throughout the world – these are the two Warriors of Riace, the bronze statues found in the seas of Riace in 1972. These are two human-sized statues of ancient Greece, dating back to approximately 460-450 BC, which have survived for millennia to the wear and tear of time. You can admire the Bronzes of Riace – and many other historical artifacts and works of art – in the National Museum of Magna Graecia, the archaeological museum of Reggio Calabria in front of Piazza De Nava, at the foot of Corso Garibaldi.
Shopping on Corso Garibaldi among stores, churches and squares
From Piazza De Nava to the train station in Piazza Garibaldi extends “the course”, where every day thousands of Regginians meet to walk, go shopping or have a snack. Clothing stores, delicatessens, bars and ice cream parlors abound, as well as various meeting points between young people.
A very important landmark in the city of Reggio, Piazza de Nava houses trees, a monumental fountain in Art Nouveau style surmounted by the statue of Giuseppe De Nava. It overlooks the Archaeological Museum and is located on the north end of Corso Garibaldi.
Embellished on the sides by old Art Nouveau buildings, among which stands out Manganaro Palace, the square closes at the end with an elegant staircase with a double semicircular ramp that leads to the walk to the upper part of the city center. The square takes its name from Biagio Camagna, to whom a statue is dedicated. It often hosts shows and cultural initiatives.
Piazza Italia (Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II)
The most important square in the city is called Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, but is known by all as “Piazza Italia”. It is surrounded by various buildings dedicated to the administration of the city: Palazzo del Governo (seat of the Prefecture), Palazzo Corrado Alvaro (seat of the Metropolitan City), Palazzo San Giorgio (seat of the City Hall), the Palace of the Bank of Naples and the Teatro Francesco Cilea.
The square of the Cathedral of Reggio Calabria is located in the southern part of Corso Garibaldi, and houses the largest religious building in the region, the Basilica Metropolitan Cathedral of Maria Santissima Assunta in Cielo. The church is of Norman origin but, like most of the buildings in the city, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times as a result of strong earthquakes, being rebuilt each time with artistic and architectural elements of different styles, from Renaissance to Baroque. In 1928, two large statues by Francesco Jerace were erected on the central staircase of the cathedral, depicting St. Paul the Apostle and St. Stephen of Nicaea.
The public gardens of the Villa Comunale Umberto I
If you are looking for a park or a green space in Reggio Calabria, you can’t miss the Villa Comunale Umberto I, a city space at the southern end of Corso Garibaldi born in 1854 as a botanical garden. In the area you can find many species of rare plants, columns and arches in Roman architectural style and various marble busts. The park is a paradise for children, who can have fun on the rides or visit the pond inhabited by ducks and ducklings. In the past, the villa housed a small zoo with exotic animals such as tigers, lions and peacocks – which unfortunately were kept in poor conditions.
What to do in Reggio Calabria with kids
Park of the World
The Park of the World is undoubtedly one of the most unique places in Reggio Calabria. It was founded near a sanctuary in Gallico Superiore by the missionary Father Aurelio Cannizzaro using a variety of materials recovered from demolished areas, it houses various structures representing different cultures and religious buildings from around the world, including a Greek theater, an Arab house, an African tucul and an Asian-style pagoda. The vast green area is also filled with picnic areas, children’s rides, ponds with turtles and other small animals, and a small bar.
The Ecolandia Technological and Environmental Park is located in the district of Arghillà, in the north of the town of Reggio Calabria. Inside the park there are areas dedicated to cultural activities, shows and recreational/technological activities, as well as refreshments and spaces where you can freely practice outdoor activities.
AsproPark Adventure Park
A recently opened adventure park in the locality of Forge, near Gambarie d’Aspromonte. It offers five different acrobatic courses in the trees for adults and children, including tree climbing and jumps into the void, as well as picnic areas with barbeque rental, mountain bikes and educational farm with horse-drawn carriage rides. It is also accessible to people with visual impairments thanks to the provision of nature trails olfactory.
What to do in Reggio Calabria in the evening
The nightlife of Reggio Calabria is concentrated mainly on the premises of the Corso Garibaldi during the winter and in the beaches of the Via Marina (i.e. the waterfront Falcomatà) during the summer, but there are many local scattered away from the city center. Restaurants and pizzerias are appreciated every night, but it is on Saturday night that the places become particularly crowded, especially by young high school students (many schools remain open on Saturday, which is therefore the only day of the weekend).
Nightclubs and discos in Reggio Calabria
One of the few places to offer live music giving space to emerging bands of different genres.
The Kalura is a local well-known in Via Lungomare dello Stretto in Villa San Giovanni. It is an elegant restaurant on the sea that often hosts disco events and private parties.
Bar and pub in Reggio Calabria
A small and very crowded bar in the city center, next to the treadmill of Corso Garibaldi. It has a varied menu of long drinks and shots.
A cocktail bar on the north side of Corso Garibaldi, specializing, as the name suggests, in chupiti (shots).
Restaurants in Reggio Calabria
Fratelli La Bufala
World famous restaurant that will appeal to lovers of buffalo mozzarella, offers one of the best pizzas in town.
Iconical pizzeria in the center of Reggio that offers two types of pizzas: “Ciro”, Neapolitan style with a large frame, high and soft; and “Roma”, thinner and crispier. To visit several times to decide which one you like more!
What to do in Reggio Calabria when it rains
Reggio Calabria is often called the “city of the sun” and enjoys one of the best climates in Italy, with 2,470 hours of sunshine per year. For this reason, Regginians are particularly fond of walking and nightlife is concentrated in the open-air bars, especially in summer. In autumn and winter, however, sunny days alternate with rainy days that can be very heavy and sudden, so it will be necessary to find alternative ways to spend time. Fortunately, Reggio has no shortage of cinemas, theaters and other things to do indoors.
Cinema in Reggio Calabria
La Nuova Pergola
The cinema La Nuova Pergola is one of the oldest and most appreciated in the city, founded after the war, around 1948, initially with the name “Pergola”. It was later closed and renovated, becoming a modern structure that hosts theatrical performances as well as films.
A small historic cinema located in the neighborhood of Santa Caterina. Despite its size and vintage appearance, it offers quality movie experiences with below average prices.
This is the largest and newest cinema in Reggio, as well as the only “multiplex”. Unfortunately for a couple of years now enjoys bad reviews.
Theaters in Reggio Calabria
Municipal Theater Francesco Cilea
The main theater of the city as well as the largest in Calabria, located in the heart of Corso Garibaldi. It houses up to 1500 seats in a huge hall in nineteenth-century style. It also houses the Civic Art Gallery of Reggio Calabria.
Other indoor activities
The Planetarium Pythagoras of Reggio Calabria, commonly called Planetario Provinciale Pitagora, is a small city treasure that regularly hosts cultural and musical shows. Not to be missed for lovers of astronomy and anyone who wants to get excited under a starry sky.
For an evening of alternative indoor sports, you can visit this club in San Gregorio that offers twelve bowling lanes, a pizzeria, video games and pool tables.
Trap.to Escape Room
Intrappola.to is the only Escape Room in Reggio Calabria. The format is simple: you and your team are locked in a room and must search for clues and solve puzzles in order to get out. The game is available in two variations – “Classic Room” and “Fort Knox”.
Quick Routes in Reggio Calabria
What to see in Reggio Calabria in one day
- Archaeological Museum and Riace Bronzes
- Falcomatà promenade, Tresoldi Columns and Arena dello Stretto
- Villa Zerbi and Rabarama Statues
- Duomo of Reggio Calabria
- Aragonese Castle and Ottimati Church
What to see in Reggio Calabria in two days
- Archaeological Museum and Bronzes of Riace
- Lungomare Falcomatà, Tresoldi Columns and Arena of the Strait
- Villa Zerbi and Statues of Rabarama
- Duomo of Reggio Calabria
- Aragonese Castle and Church of the Ottimati
- Villa Comunale
- Beach of Catona and seafront of Gallico
- Borgo di Scilla and Chianalea di Scilla
- Parco Ecolandia