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What to see in Italy: the coast of Palmi

2021-02-27 22:36

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What to see in Italy: the coast of Palmi

the coast of Palmi is a seaside and coastal hamlet of the city of Palmi, corresponding to the districts called Tonnara di Palmi, Pietrenere, Scinà and Ciambra.

What to see in Italy: the coast of Palmi

Lido di Palmi is a seaside and coastal hamlet of the city of Palmi, corresponding to the districts called Tonnara di Palmi, Pietrenere, Scinà and Ciambra. The locality is renowned for its tourism, due to its fine sandy beaches and the growing development of its seaside resorts. The beauty of the beaches has contributed, in 2014, to the awarding by Legambiente of 3 blue sails to the town of Palmi, placing the city in third place throughout Calabria.

Physical geography

Lido di Palmi, which overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea on a stretch of the Costa Viola, is bordered to the north by the Petrace River, to the south by some cliffs that slope rapidly down to the sea and to the east by the terrace above which Taureana rises. The hamlet, located in the northern part of Palmi, occupies almost the entire flat municipal territory.

The coastline consists of three beaches: the small beach of Trachini (inaccessible except by sea), the beach of the Bay of Tonnara, and the beach of Pietrenere-Scinà. All three beaches are pebbly and sandy and are enriched by some rocks. The main ones are the Trachini rock, the Isola rock and the Agliastro rocks. The beaches of the Lido are about 2 km long, with an average depth of 50 metres, and the type of sand changes with each sea storm, being sometimes pebbly and sometimes fine, but always white.

Part of the territory of Lido di Palmi is included in the list of Sites of Community Interest of the Calabria Region.


In the 10th century, in the area of coast of Palmi, there was a port that served the city of Tauriana and from it, having survived the destruction of the city, Count Ruggiero I of Calabria landed in the 11th century, coming from Normandy to land in the region.

As early as 1466, there was a tuna fishery for swordfish in the sea off the coast of Palmi. At the beginning of the 16th century, at the Pietrenere Marina, Palmi attracted all the traffic that was carried out along the southern Calabrian coast, which increased considerably in the 17th century.

Also in Pietrenere, at the end of the 18th century, there was a 'scaricatoio' (unloading station) from which oil was traded, and its port was one of the most flourishing in southern Italy in the 18th century, so much so that in 1826 King Ferdinand II included the 'Customs House of Palmi and Pietrenere' among those of the second class. In 1834, however, the customs office was downgraded from class II to class III because of declining exports.

During the Second World War, on the night between 25 and 26 July 1943, the motor vessel Viminale was sunk off the coast of the coast of Palmi by an allied unit.

After the Second World War, the Lido di Palmi was urbanised, creating entire new residential districts in the Scinà, Tonnara and Pietrenere areas.

Between 2002 and 2008, the current port of Palmi was built.

Monuments and places of interest

  • Church of San Marco
    The Church of San Marco is a Catholic place of worship in Palmi. Built in 1959 and consecrated on 28 December of the same year, it is located in Tonnara and overlooks the Costa Viola promenade. The church falls within the territory of the parish of San Fantino.

    The church was built in 1959 in Tonnara, a district mainly inhabited by fishermen, and for this reason it was dedicated to St Mark the Evangelist, patron saint of this category of workers. The building, built by local workers at private expense, was inaugurated and consecrated on 28 December 1959 by the bishop of the diocese of Mileto, Monsignor Vincenzo De Chiara.

    Following the liturgical reform, the liturgical adaptation was carried out with the removal of the old altar and the addition of a marble mensa in the centre of the presbytery.

    On 10 June 1979, the church passed, like the whole town of Palmi, from the jurisdiction of the diocese of Mileto to the new diocese of Oppido Mamertina-Palmi.

    In 2019, the building underwent a complete external and internal restoration.

    The building, with a gabled façade, has a single entrance surmounted by a small circular window, which in turn is topped by a triangular pediment with a metal cross at the top. The contours of the façade, including the pediment, are highlighted by pilasters.

    The outer side walls of the church are plastered and have only two rectangular windows on each side.

    Inside, the church has a single nave, which serves as a hall and a presbytery, raised by one step. The presbytery ends with a curvilinear back wall, which a door leads to the sacristy.

    On the counter-façade is a painting of St Francis of Paola crossing the Straits of Messina (2019).

    Along the vertical side walls, in addition to the two openings on each side, there is a polychrome wooden statue of St Mark the Evangelist (20th century), on the right side, and a polychrome wooden statue of the Immaculate Conception.

    Monumental fountain

    In 2013, to complete the improvement works of the Tonnara's Costa Viola promenade, a square with a fountain was built, behind which there is a stele with a stylised representation of a Madonna and Child.

  • Fort of Pietrenere

L'unica architettura militare della frazione è il fortino di Pietrenere.La struttura fu progettata ad inizio del XIX secolo dai francesi, per ordine del re di Napoli e di Spagna Giuseppe Bonaparte, durante il periodo di Gioacchino Murat e delle truppe del generale Jean Reynier. Nel progetto il fortino, avente mura grigie di pietra levigata, doveva essere collegato ad una batteria di cannoni, collocati vicino ad una torre. Nella mura, a distanza calcolata, le lastre di pietra rivelano una serie di feritoie che corrono lungo il perimetro e che sono realizzate a cornici di pietra più chiara, senza spigoli. La struttura, che serviva in quanto la zona fu un teatro di lotte tra inglesi, francesi e filoborbonici, non venne completata poiché i Borbone ripresero il comando del Regno di Napoli.

Il panorama ammirabile dalla via del Mare.

  • Monumento al pescatore

Il 5 luglio 2015 è stato inaugurato sul lungomare Costa Viola il Monumento al pescatore. L'opera, realizzata dall'artista Achille Cofano su committenza dell'associazione cittadina "Prometeus", raffigura un uomo intento a riparare le reti della pesca e una donna gravida con lo sguardo rivolto all'orizzonte, verso il mar Tirreno, a «simboleggiare il punto d'incontro tra passato e futuro, la speranza del nuovo e la conservazione dell'antica identità». Le due statue, in bronzo e a grandezza naturale, sono un omaggio voluto dall'associazione verso la storia e le tradizioni dei pescatori della Tonnara di Palmi e della Costa Viola. L'opera è il più grande monumento d'Italia dedicato al pescatore.

  • Necropoli di Scinà

In the Scinà area, archaeological studies and discoveries have led to the discovery of some residential facilities and a necropolis, dating back to the Imperial Age. 1969 excavations, carried out by the Archaeological Superintendence of Calabria, uncovered a necropolis consisting of 64 tombs with grave goods. The necropolis is partly dated to the 2nd-3rd century and partly to the late antique or early medieval period. In the necropolis, ceramic objects such as ollae, ollette, jugs, pitchers, oil lamps and an olpe were found. The chronological span between the 2nd and 4th centuries is attested by eleven bronze coins. From the necropolis of Scinà one can get a more precise definition of the context of the town of Tauriana in that period.








The ancient military architecture of the district is the Pietrenere blockhouse. The structure was designed at the beginning of the 19th century by the French, by order of the King of Naples and Spain Joseph Bonaparte, during the period of Joachim Murat and the troops of General Jean Reynier. In the project, the blockhouse, with grey walls of polished stone, was to be connected to a battery of cannons, placed near a tower. In the walls, at a calculated distance, the stone slabs reveal a series of loopholes running around the perimeter, made of lighter-coloured stone, without edges. The structure, which was needed as the area was a theatre of struggle between the English, French and pro-Bourbon forces, was not completed as the Bourbons regained command of the Kingdom of Naples."


Traditions and folklore

Among the ancient traditions that are preserved and handed down over the centuries in Palmi, the one that involves the hamlet is the sea procession of the Madonna dell'Alto Mare, on the last Sunday of July from the Scoglio dell'Isola to the Scoglio dell'Ulivo. The event is celebrated in memory of a miracle that occurred in the 7th century, when a fleet of Saracens besieging the ancient Tauriana was destroyed.

The procession of St Mark, held at Tonnara on 25 April, is also celebrated at sea. By the way, by tradition, the fishermen of the Tonnara also start the swordfish-hunting season on 25 April, with the boats moving in the waves in front of the Stromboli, shouting the cry handed down from the ancestors that reads 'Viva San Marcu binidittu' ('Long live blessed San Marco') the instant the fish is caught.

Anthropogenic geography

The urbanised area of Lido di Palmi, parallel to the coast, runs from the Scoglio dell'Ulivo to the municipal boundary, delimited by the Petrace river. The inhabited centre is formed by the following districts: Tonnara, Pietrenere and Scinà.

Tonnara of Palmi
The Tonnara di Palmi district is located in the part of the plain below the Taureana terracing. The toponym, already used in the XVIII century, derives from an ancient tuna-fishing factory that stood there until the 1900s, of which today there is no longer any trace.the inhabited centre is formed by the fishermen's houses, which overlook the Costa Viola(purple coast) promenade, in the stretch between the Scoglio dell'Ulivo (Olive Rock) and the city marina. As a matter of fact, the main economic activity carried out by the inhabitants of the Tonnara district is fishing. The tonnara of Palmi, active as mentioned until the 20th century, had many sailors working in the fishing industry, who also used the "lontri", boats used for hunting swordfish.

From the month of May until the first days of August, the remaining fishermen renew this tradition of swordfish hunting, which has been part of the local culture for centuries. This fish species is known and called 'u pisci' by the local fishermen.

View of the fishing village of Pietrenere.

The village of Pietrenere, the oldest of the three districts, lies between the port of Palmi and the area known as La Scala. The inhabited centre is made up, for the most part, of holiday homes.

The Scinà district rises in the stretch between the area called La Scala and the river Petrace. It has been heavily urbanised in recent decades and there are a number of campsites and tourist villages, as well as numerous holiday homes. In the past there were numerous vineyards in the district, which are of very limited importance today. From this area came the famous wine that was bottled in Palmi.




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