PRAIA A MARE - CALABRIA- SOUTH ITALY
Praia a Mare stands by a long sandy beach and is the first resort
that you meet along the Tyrrhenian coast coming from North.
It stands opposite the mythical Island of Dino where legend
says "Ulysses" once landed. This Island has 4km of
coastline and steep slopes that end in wonderful, most enchanting natural grottos
such as "The Grotto of the Lion" that entering in the mysterious
darkness, you can spot a rock that takes the shape of a sitting Lion; the "Azure" Grotto
that you'll never want to leave for it's gentle and most amusing
Azure colour reflection of the sea; the "Grotta del Frontone" a huge, deep and almost unexplored grotto rich in stalactites and stalagmite or even the "Grotta delle Cascate" housing little hollows and whitish formations deposited by the water dripping from the grotto's ceiling. Opposite the Island, on the edge of
the upland plain called "Pianoro della Foresta"
sits a medieval castle very well-preserved, commanding a view of all the
surrounding area. Praia a Mare as well as many other towns with a great deal of
history of the South of Italy, had it's own sentinel tower built in the 16th
century proving the inhabitants efforts to fight back to the Turkish raiding.
The historic evolution of this sea town is closely bound with the existence of a magnificent sea-cave named "Grotta della Serra Vingiolo". This
grotto consists of three interconnected caves each with an independent
access from sea it was a living environment for a Mediterranean race of Homo Sapiens who
lived there for thousands of years. This Grotto has given light to many historic
remains of Homo Sapiens such as stone objects, painted pebbles featuring
anthropomorphic patterns, light yellow pottery decorated with winding patterns
with handles featuring of animal heads, and fragments of late Roman sealed
ceramic objects, oil lamps, bowls. In the 10th century this cave became
the area where Greek monks staged their dwellings, later it became a monastery
consecrated to St. Elias.
On Praia's hilltops lays another natural grotto that can be reached by
a long flight of steps housing the sanctuary of
"Santa Maria della Grotta".
This sanctuary hosts a wooden statue of the Madonna and Child
that dates back to 14th century and a marble statue of the Madonna
della Neve of the 17th century. Much of Praia's history is contained in this
grotto where many Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Roman articles have