It is a small, ancient mountain town located between the Upper Ionian Cosentino and the Pollino massif just by the border of Basilicata. It extends towards the sea with a short stretch of pine forest and a small beach.
Albidona has a unique location which stretches from the sea, near the Saracen Tower, up to the village.
In the historic centre, which is divided into districts (or vicinanz in Albanian), you can admire the 17th century Mother Church of Saint Michael the Archangel and the precious paintings adoring its interior. The town's historic palazzos; the Church of Saint Anthony of Padua, with the remains of the ancient Convent; and the district of San Rocco, which is home to the first war memorial erected in Calabria, are also well worth a visit.
Until the 1970s, some sections of the walls and the central water cistern of the old castle of the Castrocucco family were visible. In 2006, several segments of the walls of the ancient manor were rebuilt in addition to the lookout point on the rocky hill.
Outside the inhabited centre, the ruins of the old water mills can still be seen today, whereas the districts were once home to kilns for clay bricks.
Just a stone's throw from the sea you will find the historic Tower of the Marina of Albidona, also known as the Monks' Tower, which was used as a guard post against the assaults of Muslim pirates and later as a customs station.
To fully immerse yourself in the nature of Albidona’s vast and varied landscape, go on a hike or mountain bike along the various trekking routes that lead from the mountains to the sea and vice versa. During your journey you will encounter natural oases and farms where you can stop and sample some of the local produce.
As you journey through woods amidst fountains and farms you will arrive at the Cervo Canal where you will be able to admire a rare spectacle that few have the chance to see. This is known as the Armo di Mastro Romano (The weapon of Master Romano) and consists of a rock formation perched on a cliff edge. It is still intact after many centuries and is said to be held in place by the hand of the devil.
The territory of Albidona is also crossed by a geological phenomenon of great scientific interest known as the flysch of Albidona. This rocky stratification is partly underground and partly overground and starts at the Tyrrhenian Sea before passing through Albidona and finally arriving at Lucania.
The Tower of Albidona, located on a small hill facing the sea, was built to defend the town from the Saracens in the 16th century. It was used as a lookout to ward off potential attacks from the sea and has the added bonus of breath-taking views.
It was built with local stones and has walls about 2 metres thick. The top of the tower is cylindrical in shape whereas the base has a truncated cone shape with a diameter of about 9 metres and a height of about 12 metres.
A spiral staircase and charming trapdoor allowed the tower’s inhabitants to communicate between floors. In 1981, it was renovated by local craftsmen who restored the staircase and the drawbridge which have since been destroyed.
Although it belongs to private individuals, the Tower of Albidona has become one of the main symbols of the city thanks to its great historical, cultural and touristic importance.
The church is located at the highest point of the village at an altitude of 800 metres, adjacent to Piazza Castello (Castle Square) which is named after the Castle of the Castrocucco family which stood on the timpa of the same name. From its viewing point, visitors can admire a breath-taking panorama which includes the town of Plataci and its hillock, Alessandria del Carretto and the Sparviere mountains, the Serra del Manganile mountain, Timpone della Foresta, the Avena Torrent and, in the distance, the Gulf of Corigliano and the Sila mountains.
The church most likely dates back to the 17th century and has a Latin cross plan with a single nave and a transept. The ceiling is trussed and the apse features a decorated dome.
Adorning the walls are striking paintings such as the Annunciation, which dates back to the 18th century. The church also contains a wooden pulpit and wooden and paper statues depicting Our Lady of the Rosary, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Saint Joseph, Saint Francis of Paola, Saint Dominic and Saint Peter as well as a number of beautiful marble thrones which showcase the statues of the Patron Saint and Our Lady of the Rosary.
The church’s prism-shaped bell tower features a clock, and inside it contains the imposing bronze bells of the church which are thought to date back to the 17th century.
In recent years, the church has undergone several restorations with the addition of artistic embellishments that have brought great changes to its original appearance, particularly internally.
In geology, a Flysch refers to a sedimentary formation consisting of repeated layers of limestone and sandstone deposited in a geosyncline by water coming from a hill as it is being dismantled.
Since 1962, more than thirty scientists, professors and university students have discussed the Flysch in Albidona, however they do not all agree.
During the Cenozoic period, a long and deep rocky formation was created that extends from Calabria and passes by the Satanasso Torrent of Villapiana, Plataci, the Saracen River, the Frangiardi Canal, Serra del Manganile, San Costantino Albanese, Latronico, Castelsaraceno and the Alpine Mountain of the neighbouring Basilicata, before arriving at Lucania.
The most evident signs of this flysch that passes through Albidona, which is sometimes hidden underground and sometimes protruding above the surface, are the mixtures of black clay, sandstones, limestone and marlstone in the surrounding rivers and canals, as well as the cliffs and timpas that extend from Recolla to Serra di Manganile, leading up to Lucania, by the beautiful mountain alps near Latronico.
Mount Mostarico is one of the most picturesque areas of Albidona, particularly thanks to the significant value it adds to the surrounding landscape and panorama. Although not remarkably tall, from its summit you can marvel at the stunning views as you sweep your gaze across the entire Gulf of Corigliano and the plain of Sibari. On particularly clear days, you will even be able to catch a glimpse of the Sila mountains and the Pollino Massif including Mount Sparviere, Mount Sellaro and Serra Dolcedorme.
The slopes are very steep and clayey and have little cultivated land but have an abundance of woodland.
Albidona is famous for its fresh sausage which is included in the list of typical Calabrian products alongside a number of cooked meats such as ham, soppressata, capicollo, pork jelly, lard and bacon, all of which are made from locally reared pigs.
Typical dishes vary according to the time of year and for festive occasions.
During the Easter period, you will be able to try the typical braided pastry dessert known as cullure, as well as nghiusi made with spinach, chard or homemade ricotta, or the typical Easter soup made with asparagus, eggs, sausage, a traditional cheese called pallaccio and pork chops.
During the Christmas period, on the other hand, crespelle, cannaricoli and frascelle are must-try dishes.
The town’s soups change with the seasons and can be enjoyed with rind, turnips and sausage, yellow pumpkin with crumb and peperoni cruschi or with eggs, lard, black olives and peppers.