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    San Nicola Archella - Archway to Heaven

    San Nicola Arcella, a small fishing village in the province of Cosenza, is situated on the edge of a steep, 100 metre cliff by the sea that offers a superb view over the Gulf of Policastro. At the foot of the village, a small bay is bathed by crystalline waters with wonderful tones.

    This stretch of coastline is steeped in charm with its cliffs and caves, including the famous Arco Magno cave which, every year, is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world. The beach is a true natural paradise surrounded by dense vegetation. It was formed by an opening in the rock that led to the creation of a small sandy bay. The shore is mainly stony but has a number of beaches nestled between the rocks. San Nicola Arcella marks the beginning of the stretch of coastline known as Riviera dei Cedri (Cedar Coast), which is named after the characteristic fruit that grows in the area. The expanse of sea that hugs the coastline is brimming with life underneath the surface.


    Crawford Tower

    The famous American writer, Lord Francis Marion Crawford, fell in love with this fortress and during the 19th century he lived in the ancient Saracen tower that was named after him. The tower, which was built during the Spanish period as a defense against pirate attacks, is split over two floors with a terrace on top. From the terrace it was easy to sound the alarm in case of an attack.

    Crawford’s work was greatly inspired by this centuries-old tower, and some of his stories are actually set in the village of San Nicola Arcella.

    “The tower stands alone on this hooked spur of the rock, and there is not a house to be seen within three miles of it. When I go there I take a couple of sailors, one of whom is a fair cook, and when I am away it is in charge of a gnome-like little being who was once a miner and who attached himself to me long ago.”

    This is how Crawford describes the tower in his novel, “For the Blood is the Life”, whose protagonist is a woman turned vampire.

    Crawford Tower


    Arco Magno

    The Riviera dei Cedri has always attracted discerning tourists who seek beautiful natural scenery, uncontaminated landscapes, and wild beaches. The beach of Arco Magno is certainly among the most popular destinations along the high Tyrrhenian coastline and is also one of the most beautiful beaches in Calabria. A spur of rock about 100 metres above sea level offers breath-taking views over the enchanting Calabrian coastline, which embraces the nearby island of Dino, and the surrounding area, including the entire Gulf of Policastro.

    The path leading to the small beach of Arco Magno is carved into the rock and, although short, is somewhat steep. The small beach of Arco Magno, also known as Enea beach, is a small piece of heaven on earth, with a natural half-moon shaped lagoon that extends for about 25 metres. It is named after the large rock arch that protects it from the sea and makes it completely unique. This small corner of Calabria was once a docking point for Saracens heading for Italy and is also known as Grotta del Saraceno (Cave of the Saracens). The Cave is very damp because of a fresh water source inside.

    Beyond the great arch, you can admire the Scoglio dello Scorzone, a natural rock that, seen from above, contrasts with the famous island of Dino. This enormous limestone rock is about 12 metres wide and consists mainly of rock and vegetation in its most central part. According to popular tradition, the rock is named after the whip snake, a harmless viper that preys on chickens.

    Arco Magno

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