The last Calabrian stage is quite long, but it’s all downhill; after an initial section on asphalt, we take a beautiful ridge path with a magnificent view of the Stretto di Messina and end in beauty on the splendid boardwalk of Reggio Calabria. Goodbye mainland!
In the first half there are several sections on asphalted roads; watch out for the cars.
We leave the centre of Gambarie on the provincial road and pass the entrance to Basilicò Park. After a few kilometres still on asphalt, in the shade of the trees, we cross a secondary road and tackle the long descent (about 1,300 m drop) towards Reggio Calabria; the gradient is moderate. The road turns into a forest track, partly asphalted, partly unpaved; the views become wider. We return to an unpaved path and shortly leave it for a stretch on a wide path that leads us in wide curves to the asphalt road below, which we take to the right, climbing slightly. This brings us to a group of houses that includes a bar. Opposite the bar, a small public balcony with a bench offers a beautiful view of the sea and invites you to take a break.
Back on the road, we leave the asphalt road a little to take the small road to the left; shortly afterwards we turn left again, still on asphalt, and walk along the ridge for a few kilometres, with a beautiful view of both the coast and the valley to the south, which is very atmospheric with its ravines and some abandoned settlements.
Continuing on, we pass on a path and come to the most beautiful part of the stage. We walk for several kilometres, always on the ridge, with some unforgettable views (we have to be careful not to lose sight of the waymarkers, some turnings can be confusing), until we reach an old fort; from there we turn left and go downhill for the last stretch, still on the path, and then we come out between the first houses of Reggio on a asphalt road that we take to the right downhill.
Soon we reach a roundabout and turn right into Viale Libertà, a busy road that we follow to the sea. We turn left onto the famous seafront promenade and enjoy the beautiful walk, perhaps sampling Cesare’s excellent ice cream.
Reggio Calabria, situated on the Strait of Messina, is the oldest city in the region. It was indeed a rich and important polis of the Magna Graecia. The modern history of the city is marked by violent earthquakes that have reshaped the urban profile; the last was that of 28 December 1908, when a large part of the built-up area was destroyed.
The area of Reggio Calabria is characterised by the Greek-Calabrian dialect, also called Grecanico.
This is a dialect derived from Greek (like the Griko dialect of Salento), spoken in this area until the 15th and 16th centuries, when it was replaced by the Romance dialect, and then disappeared almost definitively during the Fascist period - remaining only in the remote areas of the Aspromonte. The few remaining speakers were researched by the German philologist Gerhard Rohlfs, who successfully rescued the ancient language, which is not too dissimilar to modern Greek, in the 1970s.
Today, Grecanico is an important linguistic minority, listed as endangered in the Red Book of UNESCO. Numerous cultural associations are working to preserve this heritage, including through newspapers in this language.
The Arena dello Stretto, also known as the “Anassilaos Theatre”, is a modern amphitheatre built on the model of the ancient Greek theatres.
In addition to numerous performances, you can enjoy the wonderful panorama of the strait from the stands. It was built in 1932 on the site of the Porto Salvo and destroyed in an earthquake in 1908 and it is adorned with a huge statue of Athena the Fighter, created by the Palermo sculptor Camillo Autore in 1900. Until 2001, the statue faced out to sea to protect the city’s coastline. Then it was turned towards the city to protect it from dangers from the interior.
Among the city’s many attractions, do not miss the Bronzi di Riace.
The two bronze statues, located in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale della Calabria (National Archaeological Museum of Calabria), are one of the town’s landmarks and, thanks to their exceptional state of preservation, the most extraordinary example of classical Greek art.
The statues, representing a hoplite and a warrior king, were found by chance in 1972 near Riace Marina by an enthusiastic diver. They are believed to have fallen into the sea after a storm in the 5th century BC.
For more information on the museum’s opening hours and tickets, visit LINK.
On the seafront of Reggio Calabria, in a large green kiosk under a huge hundred-year-old magnolia tree, is the Gelateria Cesare (Cesare’s ice cream parlor).
Homemade ice cream has been made here, for a hundred years, with the best ingredients of the region. A nice way to enjoy the sunset on the beautiful seafront.
B&B Centrale, in Reggio Calabria. Tel. +390965 814515
There are numerous accommodation facilities in Reggio Calabria.
The starting point is accessible by car.
The starting point can be reached by bus, which leaves from the city of Reggio Calabria.
Here is the LINK, to check the timetable.
The starting point is NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.