The history of Sellia intertwines in many ways with those of Taverna and Catanzaro.
The quaint, historic centre is of great architectural and historic interest and retains the ancient charm of a typical medieval village. Picturesque views seem to emerge from every corner of its winding, narrow streets. Some particularly impressive sites include the Church of San Nicola di Bari, the Church of Santissimo Rosario and the church of the Madonna della Neve, as well as the remains of the medieval castle, and Porta Bella, a unique and enchanting staircase of 130 steps, which connects the old town to the lower part of the town.
In the past, the production of olive oil was very important for Sellia, as demonstrated by the numerous oil mills that existed in the town.
Among these, a 19th-century oil mill of considerable historical value has been fully recovered and is located in the San Angelo district of the historic centre.
The oil mill serves as a reminder of the area’s rural culture which has been transformed into a museum within the same territory where it emerged. At the museum, visitors can discover the various pieces of traditional equipment used in olive oil production.
Interestingly, over the years Sellia has become the village containing the highest number of museums per capita in Europe, as there is one for every 60 inhabitants. Thanks to SMOSS, the System of Museums and Historical Works of Sellia, four museums are currently open in the village. These are the Children's Museum, the Comics Museum, the Open Air Eco Museum and the Science Museum. The village is also home to five historical factories including two ancient 17th-century oil mills, one 18th-century oil mill and two 19th-century ovens.
Sellia also holds another record: it is the site of the first Adventure Village in Europe. The medieval historic centre is overlooked by a 500-metre long suspended zipwire, a 15-metre high launch tower with Quick Jump technology, a 130-metre long suspended panoramic bridge and various high ropes adventure courses with 24 different platforms. The village Adventure Park was built entirely in the area above the old part and is framed by the Sila Piccola plateau to one side and a wonderful stretch of the Ionian coastline, extending from Soverato to Le Castella, to the other.
The historic centre is also characterised by the noble palazzo of the Placida family, a historic building dating back to the 18th century, and the unique layout of the old village where visitors can marvel at the houses that appear to be perched on top of one another giving the village the characteristic appearance of a crib.
Another peculiarity of Sellia is its large number of museums compared to the number of inhabitants. In fact, in Sellia there is one museum for every 60 inhabitants, which are integrated and organised by SMOSS, the System of Museums and Historical Works of Sellia.
MUSEBA, the Museum for Children, Agriculture & the Environment, is a space dedicated to children and the themes of agriculture and the environment.
A completely unique museum in the region, it allows children to learn by playing games related to the production of olive oil.
The museum is housed inside Palazzo Lostumbo, a charming, ancient noble residence.
Inside the museum, visitors can marvel at an olive tree contained within it whose roots can be seen on the ground floor, which also features a 17th-century oil mill. The tree extends up to the upper floor where it can be seen in all its real and symbolic glory.
Founded in 2011, the Comics Museum of Sellia exhibits around ten thousand works and over three hundred titles. This space of immense historical and cultural value has a wide variety of exhibits, ranging from the history of Italy told in comics to the stories of great historical figures. It also features 73 paintings that tell the story of the birth and evolution of comics in Italy, with pieces dating back to the early twentieth century.
The Museo della Scienza Terra & Cosmo (Science Museum of the Earth and Cosmos) was founded in 2018 and is dedicated to the environment, from the earth to the cosmos. The museum displays a large collection of fossils, rocks, minerals and meteorites from space and is equipped with an educational pathway that helps visitors better understand the environment in which we live from an interdisciplinary perspective ranging from astronomy to geology and paleontology.
The E-Muse open-air EcoMuseo is located on a balcony dating back to the 1930s and showcases 8 large reproductions of Macchiaioli's works that portray moments of rural life. The artistic, historical and environmental heritage of Sellia is reproduced in the various cases.
The Village Adventure Park was established in Sellia in 2017 and is the perfect place for visitors to try their hand at adventure activities such as zipwiring. The zipwire itself is 500 metres long and starts from the park before whizzing over the village and ending in the historic centre. The park also contains a 15-metre tall launch tower, a huge, panoramic, 130-metre long Tibetan bridge, and five high ropes adventure courses spread over 24 stations that overlook the Gulf of Squillace. The park also features various games on the ground for less daring visitors.
The park is located throughout the ancient village surrounded by the streets that tell stories of a bygone age. During the summer season, numerous activities are organised which allow participants to fully immerse themselves in Calabria’s unspoilt nature and experience the museums and the village hotel of Europe’s first Adventure Village.