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By Orson Johnson
If you are visiting Calabria here are five things you must see and do while touring the region.
1. Visit Grotto Del Romito. Situated in the province of Cosenza, Grotto del Romito is a large imposing cavern that offers you a stunning display of stalactites and stalagmites. It is also the resting place of some of Calabria's earlier residents, with the skeletons found at the grotto estimated to be well over 10,000 years old. There is even evidence as to how they might have died, with one skeleton supposedly having met his death via a stone arrow. Even older than these skeletons, is the engraving of a bull, on the walls of the cave, which is thought to be well over 12,000 years old. The engraving is referred to as, 'Bos Promigenius,' and is a hugely popular tourist attraction in Cosenza.
2. Come face to face with a Grecian warrior or two, even if they are all bronze and no flesh and blood. Known as the Bronzi di Riace, or the Riace Bronzes, in translation, these two life sized bronze nudes which are currently housed at the National Museum in Reggio Calabria, are thought to have been lost at sea, for over two thousand years. The statues are truly a sight to behold with their eyes being inset with bone and glass and their teeth made of pure silver.
3. Have a glass of Ciro. A quaint town called Ciro is famous for being the site of Calabria's most famous vineyard, the producer of the famed Ciro wine. Ciro wine, legend has it, was the wine that athletes who won events in the early Olympic Games drank in celebration.
4. Visit Pizzo Calabro and enjoy a gelato. Located in the Vibo Valentia district of Calabria is Pizzo Calabro, a village that boasts medieval architecture in the form of a castle and a baroque church. The castle is rumoured to have housed the brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte at one point, when he was taken prisoner. You could also get a gelato or dig into the towns' famous hazelnut and chocolate cocoa-covered tartufo ice cream while you are sightseeing.
5. Visit the birthplace of the paparazzi. Calabria is the point of origin for the term paparazzi, after a local hotel owner called Coriolano Paparazzo, who overtly encouraged guests to dine at the hotel rather than go elsewhere. He was featured in a book by Gissing and used in the classic movie, Le Dolce Vita, spawning the current generation of Paparazzo's or Paparazzi. Paparazzo's hotel closed in the 70's, but stands to this day and is worth a visit.
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Calabria holiday rentals and Berlin accommodation travel.
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