Soverato (CZ)

Seahorse heaven

Soverato, situated in the province of Catanzaro, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Calabria thanks to its white beaches and deep, crystal clear sea.
The city of Soverato, also known as the Pearl of the Ionian Sea, has many sites of historical and artistic interest, especially in the old area of the village, which is home to many attractions including an archaeological site that was unearthed from the ruins of the 1783 earthquake.

 
The city’s origins are shrouded in legend but one thing we know for sure is that the area was inhabited by prehistoric Italic populations followed, in later periods, by the Greeks and Romans who were attracted by the city’s stunning location.
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The continuous presence of numerous species of seahorse in the stretch of sea known as Baia dell’Ippocampo (Seahorse Bay) is a clear indicator of the purity of the environment.
 

The discovery of Greek silver coins dating back to the Roman period and the remains of port structures, tombs and walls are all evidence of the Greeks’ and Romans’ passage through the city.
The city is divided into three different zones: the first urban area stretches along the coast, the second extends into the hills and the third, the highest part of the city, is known as Soverato Antica (Old Soverato).
In the old, atmospheric part of the city you will find the ancient medieval village which contains ruins of the old town that was destroyed in 1783. Another particularly fascinating monument is the remarkably well preserved monastery of Santa Maria della Pietà. This imposing building was constructed outside the town in the 16th century.
The medieval village is also home to the ruins of the oldest churches of Soverato, including the Mother Church built in Norman times which is 17 metres long and 12 metres wide, and the small church of San Nicola.
 In terms of the city’s natural sites of interest, the Municipal Botanical Garden, located on a hill overlooking the picturesque Gulf of Squillace, is well worth a visit. The botanical garden covers an area of over 56,000 square metres and contains plants typical of the Ionian Mediterranean scrubland as well as other tropical plants, some of which are endangered.

 
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Along the coast you can admire the legendary Tower of Charles V which was built between the 16th and 17th centuries. Also known as Turrazzo, the tower once served as a lookout to defend the coast against attacks by Turkish pirates. It has a spacious terrace and several small balconies and its unique square shape distinguishes it from all the other oval-shaped towers that can be found in the Kingdom of Naples.
However, Soverato's jewel in the crown has to be its stunning coastline made up of white sandy beaches of granite origin which have been deposited over the millennia by the Ancinale torrent. Thanks to the presence of a large number of Seahorses, a very rare species of fish considered an important indicator of environmental quality, a stretch of Soverato’s coastline known as Baia dell'Ippocampo (Seahorse Bay) has been named a protected area and forms part of the Baia di Soverato Regional Marine Park.
In summer, Soverato is a popular destination for overseas tourists. Soverato's fishing port is one of the most active in the whole of Ionic Calabria.

 
The beach

One of Soverato's main attractions is, of course, its white, sandy beach lapped by crystal clear waters. The seabed is clearly visible, even in particularly deep areas, and visitors will be able to marvel at the variety of marine fauna and flora.
The beach of Soverato also extends into neighbouring territories and offers a breath-taking backdrop featuring a varied composition of rocks and fine sand. The beauty of the promenade rivals that of the beaches along the coast and is the perfect place to take long walks or bike rides whilst surrounded by plants and palm trees. The panorama is even more spectacular at sunset when the view over the gulf of Squillace becomes simply mesmerising.
Soverato offers some of the liveliest nightlife in the whole of Calabria which is concentrated around areas that are well-known for their bar scenes. One such area is Scogliera di Pietragrande which has the added bonus of beautiful natural scenery. The area offers various bars that transform into lively beach clubs after dark which, as early as the 60s, were a top destination for many VIPs on their summer holidays.

 
Soverato
 
La Pietà

The Mother Church of Maria Santissima Addolorata in Soverato Antica houses the famous Pietà by Antonello Gagini. This classic example of Renaissance art, sculpted from white Carrara marble, is a work of art of rare beauty and depicts the pain of the Virgin Mary as she holds Christ after being taken down from the cross.
On the front side of the base you can admire images of Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint John the Baptist.

 
Soverato
 
Soverato Antica

The archaeological site of Soverato Antica is nestled in a peaceful and picturesque environment amidst rolling hills that slope down towards the sea.
It is thought that Suberatum (the former name of Soverato) was founded during the 10th century when the inhabitants of Soverato Marina left the coast in search of an area less exposed to pirate raids.
After the Greeks and the Byzantines came to the area, the Normans soon arrived and founded Soverato Universitas di Squillace. Later, the Swabian period saw the arrival of many feudal lords. Unfortunately, Soverato Antica’s existence was cut short when, on 28 March 1783, an earthquake devastated Calabria and destroyed entire villages, including Suberatum.
The remaining inhabitants decided to rebuild the village in another area which forms the present day village of Soverato Superiore.
The remains of the medieval village are still visible to this day and tell the story of a fascinating ancient world.
Within the typically medieval urban layout you will find small buildings, old houses and towers. But perhaps the most remarkable of these ruins are those of the ancient Palazzo Baronale which was once home to many feudal lords. With an area of more than 100 square metres, it was built across two floors: the lower floor was inhabited by the servants and the upper one by the nobility.
In the ancient square facing the sea, you will find the remains of the Mother Church which epitomised the city’s civil and religious life. The church was unusually large for a city of this size. The remains of many farmhouses are still visible. These small spaces were sometimes shared with animals and usually consisted of a single floor.
The ruins of the ancient city walls, which circled the entire town and ended with a watchtower which warded off attacks from the sea, can also still be seen today.

 
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Soverato Bay Regional Marine Park

The Park is located in the bay of Soverato near two small streams and aims to protect the area’s animal and plant species, biodiversity and natural balance whilst promoting scientific knowledge and boosting tourism.
Usually two species of seahorse can be found in the bay, namely Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus guttulatus. Both species are endangered and are listed in the CITES - "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” register. If you look closely enough, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the Needlefish and Giant Tun, both of which are on the Bern Convention's list of protected species.

 
Gastronomy

The typical cuisine of Soverato has rustic origins, with many dishes strongly linked to religious celebrations.
The area’s traditional dishes make great use of vegetables, which grow particularly well in the region, including aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, red onions and broad beans.
Bread also plays a central role in the cuisine and is meticulously prepared with specially selected ingredients and traditionally homemade dough..
Typical dishes of Soverato Antica include Maccarruni i'casaPasta a lu fùrnu, Pasta e fagioli alla paisanaSuppizzata, Calabrian swordfish, Polpette di melanzane and Pìpi e patate, accompanied by a wide variety of traditional local cheeses.

 

 



 


Address Piazza Maria Ausiliatrice
  88068 Soverato (CZ)
Phone number 0967 538201
Fax 0967 538242
Website www.comune.soverato.cz.it
 

 

Climate in Soverato is mild and pleasant all year long, and it depends on unique environmental and climatic elements: the clean sea, sun always shining and wonderful beaches. The natural Bay of Soverato, at the center of the Gulf of Squillace, is enchanting and it is protected from 2nd and 3rd quadrant breakers. Moreover, a few meters from the water edge, the sea is quite deep and, in some points, it is very deep. The sandy sea floor is covered with Posidonia meadows. The sea area is the ideal habitat of a great number of colonies of seahorses, the symbol of devotion in Greek mythology, and pipefish, increasingly rare in the Mediterranean Sea. According to sea experts, the presence of Hyppocampuses is an important indicator of clean waters, because they are resident organisms that can only survive in well-balanced natural habitats.

The Regional Marine Park "Soverato Bay" is located on the Ionian coast, right on the bay of Soverato, where two small streams flow. The park aims at protecting animal and plant species, biodiversity and the balance of the area, it also focusses on promoting scientific knowledge and tourism. In the bay there are usually two species of seahorses, Hippocampus hippocampus and Hippocampus guttulatus, both endangered, and included in the CITES list - "Convention on International Trade in Endagered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora". The pipefish and the clam Tonna Galea, which are both present in the protection list of the Berne Convention can be easily seen.

Cultural itineraries in the Pearl of the Ionian Sea include a visit to the Archpriest Church of Maria SS. Addolorata (Duomo) in Soverato Superiore, that keeps the sculpted group of the Pietà, a Renaissance white marble sculpture with the Virgin cradling the dead body of Jesus. The sculpture was commissioned in 1521 by Giovanni Martino d'Aquino, Counselor of the Kingdom of Naples, to the Sicilian artist Antonello Gagini. In the ancient town, the Medieval hamlet that houses the ruined village destroyed by the earthquake in 1783, is very evocative. Palanzo Marincola, built in the 19th century with lesenes in the façade, is located in Corso Umberto I. The windows and balconies, with wrought-iron railings, has stile-liberty decorations. Palazzo Romiti was built in the early 20th century and it is a three-story stile-liberty building. The small balconies of the top floor have a corbel supported by big apotropaic masks.

A crenellated watch tower stands on a high hillock in the Turrati area. It is a quadrangular building with stone cladded scarp walls surrounded by a stone belt course. There is a three-light window in one of the walls.

The Santicelli botanical garden in Soverato offers ecological itineraries far away from the noisy town. The garden is located on a hill overlooking the wonderful view of the Gulf of Squillace, and its aim is to protect and preserve biodiversity. Typical Mediterranean scrub species alternate with exotic plants from distant lands, some of which on the verge of extinction. Along the path that crosses the garden, visitors can find one of the four anti-aircraft and anti-ship bunkers connected one to the other through an underground tunnel.



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