A part of Italy’s Mezzogiorno, the flat coast of Calabria is lively in the summer with campsites, hotels and pizzerias to choose from.

Very popular with Italian vacationers, around here the term Mezzogiorno can also refer to baking in the midday sunshine.

It’s the “toe” of Italy’s boot, kicking Sicily into the Mediterranean Sea. Calabria possesses remarkable beauty and a long history.

Sandy beaches, rocky coves, spectacular headlands are a specialty of Calabria, and the town of Praia a Mare has plenty of them – plus a unique nod to history.

In Ulysses, our hero lands on the Island of Dino, just off the coast.

Another legend involves a grotto containing a widely venerated Madonna. As the story goes, the people of nearby Aieta attempted repeatedly to remove this image to their own church, but each time it disappeared and was found back here, where they were eventually forced to let it be.

More recently, however, the image disappeared for good, though a replacement was quickly and pragmatically installed. In fact, there is evidence of an early building on the site, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Grotta.

The grotto has been altered over time and has now been restored, unearthing frescoes including that of the Madonna’s face.

Farther south, the town of Scalea is quite developed and the ruins of the Norman/Aragonese castle and a frescoed 11th-century Byzantine chapel, bombed by both sides during World War II, remain.

The citrus fruit that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor grows in Calabria – and almost nowhere else in the world. Bergamot has been in Calabria since the 15th century, and has been grown for its essence since the very beginning.

For Calabria's bergamot growers, its popularity in everything from teas and herbal remedies to cosmetics and cleaning products gives hope for a stronger economic future.

Please use the Google map to zoom and pan the entire map to get a better perspective of this destination.