Praia a Mare is among the most frequented bathing resorts in the Northern Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, and the first one to be provided with tourist facilities. Seashore is characterized by fine dark sand and pebble beaches, jagged coastlines, sea bottoms where soft corals, sea stars and fish species live. All these natural beauties have made Praia a Mare one of the most renowned tourist resorts in Calabria.
The Municipal Museum in Praia a Mare consists of two areas: the first one includes contemporary artworks by Achille Pace, Romano Notari, Ernesto Treccani, Pietro Perrone and Umberto Raponi. The second area houses artefacts dating from the Middle and Upper Paleolithic to Neolithic ages, found in the Praia area. The female grave goods dating back to the 4th century B.C., include bronze and silver ornaments and a black painted vase. Several Hellenistic potteries and oil lamps were found in burials discovered in the Dorcara area. The permanent exhibition “Il Cammino dell’Uomo” (The evolution of man) has been established since 1997. Workshops for pottery engraving and printing, video archive and library were equipped. For the Jubilee, the Museum promoted an Artistic and Religious Itinerary, a symbolic route that led to the Cave of the Sanctuary where a copy of the wooden statue of our Lady is kept. During a 9-year period, the Museum has increased its collection with more than 200 works by Italian and foreign artists. The archaeological room keeps pre-historic and historic artefacts found in the cave of the Sanctuary of Our Lady, Cardini cave and the sites of Dorcara and Torre Nave. The first display stand keeps Middle-Paleolithic stone tools, fragments of red-banded potteries and obsidian points. A baked mixture perforated globe and gross ceramic tankards typical of the Bronze-age Apennine populations are exhibited in the second display stand. The third one houses fibulas, ornaments, small bronze and silver jewels. The grave goods dated from the 4th century B.C. found in a Lucanian necropolis and fragments of Imperial Roman vases are also displayed. Around the room walls a set of learning panels illustrate the evolution of man from the Lower Paleolithic to Roma Age, mainly in the areas of Calabria and the Northern Tyrrhenian Coast. The Contemporary art room houses a collection of important works that renowned artist from Calabria, Italy and abroad donated to the Museum. They illustrate very well the today’s art expressions in different artistic fields. In the room dedicated to the Calabrian artists, the works by regional exponents involved in experimental production in every field of contemporary arts are exhibited. This room houses the works of Post-Meridionalism artists who were the protagonists of recent art history. On the occasion of the first centennial of the Incoronazione della Madonna della Grotta, the museum established the Permanent Exhibition of Contemporary Sacred Art. The exhibition collects the works of significant artists coming from all over Italy. They include the peculiar Annunciation by Aurelio Caruso, Nativity set in the Vingiolo Cave by Italo Gafà; different interpretations of Our Lady with Child by Giuseppe Ascari, Patrizia Boschi, Raffaele Famà, Carmine Iannone and Nico Valerio; the clay rough cast of Beata Vergine del Soccorso by Alfiero Nena, the renowned sculptor whose works are kept in the Vatican; Our Lady with Child with the Praia landscape in the background by Giuliano Presutti; Madonna della Grotta looking at the sea by Emanuele Pandolfini; personal interpretations of Madonna della Grotta by Emiliano Paolini and Rossella Petronelli; the engraved The Crucifixion by Aldo Riso and the delicate Resurrection watercolor by Giovanni Di Puglia. The in-progress room keeps color photos of the sea bottoms of the Dino Island, Cave of the Sanctuary and other caves in Mt Vingiolo, and a series of old photos reproducing Praia views. The Library has a collection of 5000 books concerning many issues, particularly in the field of historiography of Calabria and Southern Italy, and art. The workshops established in 1996 are geared towards young people, and they have a social intent. The aim of the courses is to bring young people closer to art, improve their social relationships and teach skills on both manual and creative forms of expression.