Religious itineraries

ASPROMONTE GRECO : DISCOVERING THE GREEK ITALO SAINTS: a religious, cultural and naturalistic journey

Greek Calabria is littered with the ruins of Greek Orthodox monasteries and churches. Suffice it to say that in Bova (the cultural capital, one of the 'Most Beautiful Villages in Italy' and since 2016 an 'Orange Flag' for the TCI) the Orthodox rite was officiated until 1573. Today in Bova, the Byzantine Rite is celebrated during the High Periods in the Church of the Holy Spirit, consecrated to the same, and also in Bova in the Sanctuary of San Leo are preserved the remains of the Saint, a Basilian monk who turned pitch into bread. During the Byzantine domination, Calabria was a pilgrimage destination for ascetics from Greece and the East: it was in fact the favourite region to receive these monks as Greek was already spoken and it was a mountainous region and therefore rich in places and ravines for meditating and building monasteries and numerous water sources used for ascetic practices.

Greek monasticism had its period of greatest diffusion between the 9th and 11th centuries and only from the 12th century was it defined by the Pope as Basilian monasticism to be distinguished from Benedictine monasticism. In reality, the Calabrian monks were inspired more by the hermits of the desert, in particular they followed the life of Saint Anthony Abbot and only later that of Saint Basil. The whole of Calabria was involved in this spirituality, but in particular Aspromonte, the slopes of the Sila Greca, and Mount Mercurion in northern Calabria, compared to Mount Athos in Greece.
There were numerous Calabrian monks, among them San Nilo of Rossano, San Giovanni Teristi of Bivongi and San Leo of Bova. The 22 icons that portray them and tell their story are preserved in the beautiful Museum of Italo-Greek Saints in Staiti, a small village where you can admire the Basilian basilica of Santa Maria de' Tridetti. The artistic and literary activity of these monks has left masterpieces of art (icons, frescoes) scattered in the small churches of the ancient villages and in the museums and a literary work unique in the world: the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis. The recognition that Greek Calabria is steeped in Byzantine spirituality was witnessed in 2001 by His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I who visited the small village of Gallicianò and its Panaghìa .

Kalòs Experience takes care of organising the experience with personalised information / suggestions on how to spend the stay, and makes use of B&B , restaurants and local guides, car hire who will invoice or issue receipts directly to tourists for the services provided

Day 1 (Friday): meeting point Airport or RC station in the afternoon at 16.00.
Followed by a visit to the Marc (Riace Bronzes) . Transfer to Bova (dinner in a typical restaurant and overnight stay in B&B in Bova for the entire stay).
2nd day (Saturday): Breakfast in B&B. Afterwards visit of Bova and the Gerhard Rholfs Museum and the Path of Rural Civilisation. Lunch in a typical restaurant in Bova. In the afternoon the Italo-Greek Saints: Sanctuary of San Leo (Basilian monk) visit to the sanctuary, Church of the Holy Spirit (consecrated to the Byzantine rite) . Dinner in a typical restaurant in Bova.
3rd day (Sunday): Breakfast in B&B. Day dedicated to the Italo-Greek Saints: visit to Staiti Santa Maria dei Tridetti and Museum of Italo-Greek Saints. Lunch in a typical restaurant in Staiti. Afternoon visit to Gallicianò to the Orthodox Church (Panaghìa) . Dinner in a typical restaurant in Gallicianò. Return to Bova.
4th day (Monday): Breakfast in B&B. Departure from Bova in the morning (packed lunch based on Lestopitta, an ancient dish typical of Bova) walk along the RC seafront, transfer to departure points (airport/station).

Proposal 4 days/ 3 nights: the approximate cost with independent travel to Reggio Calabria for:

2 persons Euro 650/person

4 persons Euro 580/person

8 persons Euro 440/person

is inclusive of:

Accommodation in B&B Double or triple room with en-suite bathroom (single with supplement) with room availability from 19.00 on day of arrival to 11.00 on day of departure.

Overnight stays: 3 nights with self-service breakfast

Dinners: n° 3 c/o typical restaurants (drinks and service included)

Lunches: 2 at typical restaurants (drinks and service included) + 1 packed lunch with typical products (La Lestopitta)

Transfers: to/from airport/station - Bova and destinations, and for all excursions as per programme

1 Official Aspromonte National Park Guide to accompany guests throughout their stay

1 Guide from Bova to visit the village and cultural attractions

Transfers are by car/bus with driver. Travel costs to/from Reggio Calabria and entrance fees to Museums are not included.

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