Introducing Reggio di Calabria
Reggio is the main launching point for ferries to Sicily, which sparkles temptingly across the Strait of Messina. It is also home to the spectacular Bronzi di Riace and has a long, impressive seafront promenade – packed during the passeggiata. Otherwise, the city's grid system of dusty streets has the slightly dissolute feel shared by most ports.
Beyond the seafront, the centre gives way to urban sprawl. Ravaged by earthquakes, the most recent in 1908, this once-proud ancient Greek city has plenty of other woes. As a port and the largest town close to the 'ndrangheta strongholds of Aspromonte, organised crime is a major problem, with the associated corrosive social effect.
On a lighter note, there are plenty of festivals in Reggio – early August sees the Festival dello Stretto, featuring the traditional music of the south.