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A holiday to live in colour

WHAT TO SEE IN ITALY: Guided tour of the Serre Calabresi



ph.Domenico Corigliano



A fascinating visit to the monastic area of Calabria .

The Calabrian greenhouses immersed in the green hills of the Vibonese area.

An itinerant journey through the history of nature and the 1783 earthquake that destroyed Calabria, changing its morphology.


Departure from your accommodation:

Arrival in Soriano Calabro.


Soriano calabro

The origins of the town are linked to the foundation of the convent of the Dominican fathers in 1510: destroyed by the earthquake of 1659, the convent complex was rebuilt in monumental forms by the Bolognese Dominican Father Bonaventura Presti.

In the Baroque period, this convent became one of the richest and most famous Dominican convents in Europe and one of the most frequented sanctuaries in southern Italy: in the mid-eighteenth century, the British traveller Henry Swinburne noted that around 1,500 supposedly possessed women made annual pilgrimages to Soriano.

The convent was razed to the ground by the earthquake of 1783, the devastating tremor of the eleventh degree on the Mercalli scale that had its epicentre in a vast area between Soriano, Polistena and Borgia: the convent could only be rebuilt, more modestly, in an area of the old building at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Today, the imposing ruins of the convent and the church of San Domenico are the most important monument in the municipality and one of the most terrible memories of the 1783 earthquake in Calabria.



Visit to the convent of San Domenico, one of the largest convents in Europe, destroyed by the 1783 earthquake.


Visit to the Calabrian library

The Calabrese Library, completely restored, frames the main square of Soriano. It is located in the elegant building, called "Palazzetto della Cultura", built at the beginning of the 20th century in Liberty style, the books are housed in large and bright rooms overlooking the green Mesima valley. Of course, it has been a few years since the first tomes began to line the empty shelves. Today, the book collection, restored and preserved, amounts to about 34,000 volumes.

Visiting craft workshops


Wicker baskets, called panari in dialect, are an ancient tradition of typical Calabrian craftsmanship. The wicker baskets are woven with reeds, the so-called panari or panierini, circular with an arched handle, are made with willow branches and reeds or chestnut.

Wicker weavers are unfortunately dying out, and master basket weavers are rare. However, it is still possible to see the old basket weavers at work weaving wicker in the villages of the Calabrian hinterland. It is fascinating to come across a rare spectacle and observe the harmonious movements of the quick hands that weave a of branches that slowly take the shape of a basket. The production of wicker baskets is remarkable in Soriano Calabro, where master basket-makers still make the typical Calabrian 'cannistri' containers for vegetables or fruit. Soriano Calabro, a town in the Serre Vibonesi area, is famous for its production of wicker baskets, baskets, panari, cannistri, ferlazze, chairs, tables and armchairs, all made from wicker, reeds, willow and chestnut.


The art gallery, the ceramics museum and the earthquake museum will soon be open in Soriano Calabro.

At 12:30 lunch break in Soriano.

14:00 departure to visit Serra San Bruno



Serra San Bruno is one of the most interesting tourist resorts in the mountains of Calabria; it is characterised by its orderly structure, with wide streets and beautiful buildings enriched by splendid stone portals and balconies and wrought-iron loggias, the work of local craftsmen with an ancient tradition that is still alive.

In a wood on the southern outskirts of the town stands the Charterhouse founded by Bruno of Cologne in the 11th century. Surrounded by centuries-old needle trees, gigantic beeches, oaks and chestnut trees, it was almost completely destroyed by the 1783 earthquake, only to be rebuilt in neo-Gothic style between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.



Visit the Charterhouse Museum, opened in 1994, where documents and works from the complex are on display.

A few hundred metres away is the church where San Bruno died in 1101. At the base of a wide flight of steps is the grotto where the founder of the Carthusian order retired to pray and sleep, and the small lake with the statue of the saint praying in the centre. Tradition has it that this was the site of the monk's remains and that, when they were brought to light to be moved, the spring that feeds the pond flowed there.

The town is also known for some gastronomic specialities, in particular, mushrooms, which are prepared in various ways, but also dairy products and desserts, such as the 'nullo', an almond biscuit, granita and woodland strawberry liqueur.