Reggio is a big, bustling city that rises up from the coast along the Strait of Messina. Its waterfront, the lungamare, offers breathtaking views of Mount Etna and the northeast coast of Sicily and the city of Messina.
Reggio is a city with more than 2,000 years of history. Ancient ruins from the Roman Empire are preserved along the waterfront. The Corso Garibaldi, the main commercial boulevard, is lined with beautiful shops, restaurants and cafes.
There are several beautiful churches to visit, including the huge main cathedral, Il Duomo, and the smaller, stunningly beautiful St. Paul’s Cathedral with its gold mosaics. The modest church of St. Gaetano, in the Santo Spirito section of the city, is also a must-see. There is a museum to the saint’s life in the church’s ground floor, and his remains are encased in a glass tomb in the back of the sanctuary.
But the National Museum in the center of the city down near the waterfront is what draws visitors from around the world. That’s because it holds two of the most precious pieces of art in all the world; the Riace bronzes.
These larger-than-life Greek warriors were sculpted some 2,500 years ago by unknown artists. Yet they lay beneath the water off the coast of Riace until a diver found them both by accident, covered in mud and muck, in 1972. They were recovered, sent to Florence for restoration, and then put on display on earthquake-proof platforms in the museum basement in Reggio. These nude statues, perfect in every way, are astounding examples of artistic achievement, every bit as magnificent at Michelangelo’s David in Florence. The Riace bronzes alone make a visit to Reggio worthwhile.
This travel tip was submitted by Justin Catanoso. Justin is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated newspaper journalist and an instructor at Wake Forest University. He is the executive editor of the Business Journal in Greensboro, NC, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, BusinessWeek and on National Public Radio. He lives with his wife and three children in Greensboro, NC.
Please visit www.justincatanoso.com for additional information.