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Crotone Cruises

About Crotone

Situated on the Ionian Sea at the bottom of Italy’s “boot,” Crotone was founded as a Greek colony in 710 BC and changed hands many times during its long history. Once part of the Byzantine Empire, it was taken over by the Saracens in 870 AD. Later, it was conquered by the Normans and again by the Kingdom of Naples. Today it is home to a vast array of archaeological relics with Neanderthal, Paleolithic and Neolithic roots. At its height, it was one of the most thriving cities of Magna Graecia, the ancient Greek colonies of southern Italy. Some of the Hellenic Empire’s most celebrated figures hailed from here, including the strongest men who proved victorious in the Olympic Games and the finest physicians, including Democedes, doctor to kings and emperors. The most famous resident was Pythagoras, whose mathematical theories altered Western thought. At the school that he founded here, men were educated in matters of science, philosophy and religion.

In 1992 Crotone became the capital of the newly established province of Crotone, in the region of Calabria. Today, it is home to Italy’s largest protected marine area, founded to preserve the rich archaeological heritage on the sea bed.

Modern Crotone is an agricultural center and boasts the most important industrial establishment in Calabria, but it hasn’t lost sight of its past and its long, rich traditions. The protection of the city’s archaeological treasures is paramount to keeping its legacies alive.

Crotone Lifestyle and Culture

Crotone’s many occupiers throughout its history had a dramatic impact on its rich and diverse culture—from the city’s food to its artistic expression and architecture. The people of Crotone have a fairly high standard of living and are proud of their heritage. The city has an atmospheric and unspoiled historic center and makes a good base for exploring the region’s long sand beaches and fascinating Greek ruins. Stroll the charming narrow alleys and cobbled streets of the old Pescheria District for a glimpse of architecture that is typical of the region.

While the locals treasure their protected coastline, the Neto River also draws water lovers. Small coves and beaches have been shaped by that waterway’s current, creating inviting alcoves for sun bathing and swimming.

The village of Palumbo, about 90 miles from Crotone, is one of the richest places for arts and folklore in the region of Calabria. It is also home to the stunning and tranquil landscapes of Lake Ampollino.

Crotone Sights and Landmarks

The Castle of St. Charles V is among the most renowned sites in Crotone. Situated in the ancient part of the city, its thick walls and massive watchtowers are characteristic of its 16th-century construction. Archaeological relics from the days of Magna Graecia can be found at the museum inside. Right nearby is the Cathedral, originally built from the 9th to the 11th century but rebuilt and restored several times. The exterior is neoclassical and the baroque interior is adorned with the precious work of artisans. The fairy-tale fortress of Le Castella lies offshore on an island connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway.

The National Archaeological Museum is well worth a visit for anyone interested in the region’s past. Its rich collection of objects and remains reveals captivating details about the times of Magna Graecia. For more ancient treasures, head to the Capo Colonna Archaeological Park to see the remains of a 5th-century BC temple.

More archaeological treasures can be found throughout Crotone and Calabria, and some of the most impressive are located about 60 miles up the coast at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale delle Sibaritide (the National Archaeological Museum of Sybaris). Founded around 730 BC and destroyed by the Krotons in 510 BC, Sybaris was rebuilt by the Greeks in 444 BC and again by the Romans in 194 BC. The museum houses the remains of the city, whose excavation site is just a few miles away.

Crotone Entertainment and Activities

Famous for its beaches, Isola di Capo Rizzuto is one of the most-visited bathing resorts in Calabria and home to plentiful flora and fauna. Despite the name Isola (meaning island), it rests entirely on the mainland. Beaches and beauty aren’t the only things for which it is known: The DOC of Sant’Anna di Isola di Capo Rizzuto is a designated wine region, producing dry red and rosé wines.

Cirò, however, is the most famous wine region in the province of Crotone. Visit Cantina Francesco Malena in Cirò Marina for tours of the vineyards and cellar and to sample its fruity and full-bodied reds.

Northwest of Crotone, take in more natural splendors. Sila National Park is home to several rural villages and has a rich artistic heritage. The summit of Monte Santa Barbara is the site of an Astronomic Observatory. You can also head south to Lake Ampollino for canoeing, paddle-boating and cycling along well-established bike paths.

Crotone Restaurants and Shopping

Typical Calabrian fare includes dried and marinated vegetables, nduja (spicy, spreadable salami), pecorino cotronese (sheep’s milk cheese), sardella (fish processed with hot pepper and spices), soppressata (local salami) and all types of Mediterranean seafood. The food is simple and wholesome.

Most restaurants in Crotone are small and cozy. They offer various types of cuisine. The excellent Da Ercole serves fresh catches from the Ionian Sea. Ruris also delights, with a rustic dining room and a large garden where hens and rabbits wander freely; seafood takes center stage as here well. Also notable are La Pignata and Pizzeria Romana. For a quick snack on the go, arancini (fried rice balls with cheese) and pizza by the slice are great options.

Crotone’s main shopping area is concentrated along Via Vittorio Veneto, which begins at the city's main square. Myriad local shops sell locally made crafts (including terra-cotta products), clothes, leather goods, jewelry and more. There are even artisan goldsmiths who sell pieces inspired by the Magna Graecian and Byzantine traditions. Many shops close for a few hours midday during siesta, so plan your shopping accordingly.