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Bagnara Calabra


 
Bagnara with the Sicilian coast in the background




With its beautiful, well equipped sandy beach, the city, located at a short distance from the strait of Messina (just across from Sicily) has now become a popular beach resort.

Bagnara Calabra (or simply Bagnara, Greek: Keramida) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Reggio Calabria , about 100 km southwest of Catanzaro and about 25 km northeast of Reggio Calabria.

The charming city was founded in the Middle Ages around  the Norman abbey of Santa Maria degli Apostoli a few ruins of which still remains and was heavily damaged by the earthquakes of 1783, 1893 and 1908. 

 

 
To date, we only have very vague and fragmented information about the origins of Bagnara, surely we do know that Roger  the  Norman, the Great Count of Sicily and Calabria, issues, in 1085 a document (diploma) related to the  foundation of the Abbey of Santa Maria and the XII Apostles which was  entrusted to certain men of faith also from Sicily.
 
 
Above and below, the palazzo De Leo, once referred to as a 'glowing pearl in the Mediterranean'.
 

 
Below is the church of la Madonna del Carmine , built in the 17th century and then reconstructed, it is the only building that survived the last earthquake.
 

 
The  16th century watchtower overlooks the sea along the cliff of the same name, offering a breathtaking view of the Messina Stretto.
 

 
 
The castle was square in shape and contained two luxury apartments. It seems there were twelve cannons protecting the walls, called  the "twelve apostles". 

 
The beaches: A key feature of Bagnara is the beauty of its beaches. Here you often find natural caves, among which the most famous: the "Grotta del Monaco"  and the  "Cave of Swallows", which in summer become popular destinations for boating, and a paradise for underwater fishing. 
 
 



 
The reflection of the sun in the sea at certain times of the season, gave the coast its name; "Violet Coast", or Costa Viola.
 


Local Products.
Bagnara is known worldwide for its own Torroni. A tradition that goes back centuries.
 
 
The start of the confectionery industry dates back to the first 800 and is of Spanish origin, nougat production reaches its peak around Christmas time and is exported mainly in north America, Australia and Europe. 
(inquires about this product can be sent to us at Made in South Italy Today). Contact...
 


The ancient ritual of fishing the sword fish.



The typical boat known as 'l'Untri'.

 
A Tradition deeply rooted in the culture of Bagnara is definitely the seasonal fishing of the swordfish. 
The hunt begins in spring during the fish mating period. This is a crucial time, it is when the male reaches its sexual maturity , seeking a female to court. 
Winning her over wont' be easy, for she is usually a bit bashful. To enter into her good graces, the male must woo her, let her lead the way, surround her with care...once conquered, it will for ever be faithful. 
 

Of the two, the male is the smaller one.
Always preceding the female, never leaving her side. From these small details fishermen know at a glance, the sex of the two swordfish.
They try to always hit the female first, once hit by the harpoon, she sinks trying to escape, while the male tries to help for the whole duration of the fight which might take hours.
When the body is finally pulled over, the male still tries to follow her , exposing itself and getting hit in turn.
When however, it is the male to be hit first, the female leaves, without regrets...e "nculu a ccu' mora".


 
Practiced only in a few areas of the coast, the ritual has remained firmly anchored to old customs and beliefs. 
 


 
Nearby towns .
The seaside resort of Palmi is just a few km north. Excursions to Monte Sant' Elia and neighboring Aspromonte National Park. Many churches worth visiting.
 

 
In the south is Scilla, a charming fishing town full of evocative fascination.
 





 
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