This is another pleasant town to visit and stop for a day or two. It is close to Riace on the Jasmine coast in Calabria, the town famous for the Bronze statues discovered by a local diver in 1972. Did you know you can find Roman-Greek ruins in Marina di Gioiosa?
If you come from Reggio Calabria, you need to follow the signs for Rosarno and then Marina di Gioiosa Ionica. The town is famous for its towers, Roman-Greek theatre and Roman Villa in Naniglio.
Marina di Gioiosa Ionica has two areas like in most Calabrian towns; the historic centre and the seaside resort. The seaside resorts are usually modern and built around the fifties, the historic centres have remained unchanged for centuries.
The ruins of a Roman villa
I recommend visiting both areas and an absolute must is the Roman villa in Naniglio which is only 15 minutes away by car. There you will find ruins of a Roman dwelling and part of a mosaic floor. This is definitely a hidden delight.
The town has a long sweeping beach with beautiful turquoise sea and many lidos, bars and restaurants for daily and evening entertainment in the summer.
It gets very busy in July and August as many Italian tourists come to spend their holidays here. You will find the attractive promenade full in the evening as people come to enjoy their evening stroll and ice cream. Many concerts and festivals take place here throughout the summer.
The Roman-Greek theatre
Not far from the train station in via Dante, you will come to the ruins of a Roman-Greek theatre. It is a perfect example of stone architecture dating back to the 1st Century BC. It is only a ruin as many of the stones were used to build the Saracen tower. Read more about it here.
The Saracen tower ruins
The Saracen tower named Torre del Cavallaro is close to it, one of the many defence towers along the coastline to protect the towns from the Saracens in the fifteenth century. If you want to go close up to it, you need to access it from the promenade.
The pretty square
Not far from the promenade as you come back onto the main road, you will find a very pretty square with some nice trendy ice cream bars and shops.
Most people sit here in the evenings to listen to music, eat and sip an aperitif. I had a wonderful ice cream in this square and the highlight of sitting here is the beautiful church in front of you.
The train station close to the ruins
There is also the main shopping street with the train station and bus stop across from the square. Most buses stop outside the station. You can reach this place directly on the train from Reggio or Lamezia. You will find plenty of accommodation, restaurants, bars and shops in this area.
The historic centre
The historic centre takes us back to old Italy as this place has remained unchanged for centuries. You cannot visit the marina without going to the old town.
Here you will find some old churches, fountains and a cluster of houses all sitting on top of each other as well as shops, restaurants and bars.
It is worth exploring the narrow streets and alleys as you can find some interesting and old fashioned shops. Many events take place in the square as well as the weekly Sunday market.
A modern theatre houses many shows throughout the year. This is the old Italy that we want to see and it is well worth it. You can see more ruins here.