Gerace: The Florence of the South

February 23, 2016 / Places
Gerace, Calabria

Gerace, located in the Aspromonte Mountains, is considered to be the best-preserved medieval village in Italy. Its beauty and architecture are the reasons why it is referred to as “The Florence of the South”.


 There was a time when visiting Gerace would have been difficult, with its well-fortified outer walls and twelve gates (four of which still stand today) that protected this beautiful village from invaders.

Today, Gerace is divided into five areas—the castle, the main town, the Borghetto, the “large hamlet,” and the plain—but it is “Il Baglio,” the area above the historical center, just in front of the castle, that will take your breath away with its unbelievable views and panoramic landscape.


Walking from the castle toward the Duomo, you will pass many of the villages important monuments, such as the “Prison of the five martyrs from Gerace,” Lucifer’s portal and the marble municipal building. However, the star of Gerace is its Duomo, an 11th Century Norman Cathedral—the largest religious structure in Calabria.


You will be taken back in time as you walk the narrows streets of Gerace and admire the architecture that has been virtually untouched by modern construction.

Image Credits:  Franco Muia, Olivier DuquesneGuerrisi’79

Cherrye Moore

by Cherrye Moore

Cherrye Moore is owner of My Bella Vita Travel, a boutique tour operator specializing in custom vacations and heritage tours in southern Italy. Join her in June or September for the Small Group Heritage Tour of Calabria – a unique small group tour that combines group travel with a private heritage tour, or in September for the Undiscovered Southern Calabria and Eastern Sicily Tour.


6 Responses to “Gerace: The Florence of the South”

  1. Mark A. Bauman

    I thought that Lecce, in Puglia, where I have visited, was considered the “Florence of the South”, with its architecture and beauty. (And great food!)

  2. Anne Robichaud

    …and once again, the only comment can be ” ah, Italy, land of the endless discoveries”! Thanks, Cherrye, for your note – and Pino and I hope to stop there enroute to Sicily this summer. Mille grazie for pointing out this gem

  3. Lynn Michaels

    Thank you for wetting my whistle, but I am left with a thirst for much more of Gerace. More photos available?

  4. Gerace is a delightful town, sitting on a hill fortified by the picturesque ruins of its Norman castle and looking out onto the beautiful Ionian Sea. As an important religious center for over a thousand years, the town boasts numerous churches with very historical beginnings. Interestingly, the Greek rite was the predominant religion up until the end of the 15th century, so many of the churches have Byzantine architectural roots.
    For more information, there’s a chapter on Gerace in my book CALABRIA: THE OTHER ITALY.


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