The site of Taureana covers three out of ten hectares, that is the estimated size of the Roman city. It occupies the central area of a flatland overlooking the Tyrrhenian Coast, between Capo Vaticano, the Messina Strait and the valley of the Petrace river, once called Métauros. The site stands a few kilometers far from Palmi built-up area. Archaeological excavations were funded by Calabria Department of Cultural Heritage and the Province Administration Office of Reggio Calabria. It was opened on September 17th, 2011. The site is scientifically relevant because it houses an Italic settlement and a Roman Empire one that has been documented as Tauriana. Excavations have been carried out since 1995 and uncovered the remains of Bronze-age huts dating back to 4000 years ago and urban settlements of the Bruttian and Roman cities (4th B.C. – 4th A.D.) with their public buildings, sacred and private structures including the House of the Mosaic, the Urban Sanctuary and the last important discovery of the Spectacle Building.
Palmi stretches along a natural terrace gently declining towards the sea. It is sheltered to the south by Mt. Sant’Elia where visitors can enjoy the fascinating view of the horizon and the sketched contour of the Aeolian Islands and Sicily. The landscape is characterized by the golden beaches of Tonnara, Pietrenera and Scinà and extended granite coastal areas with enchanting inlets and wonderful sea bottoms where divers feel at home. Moreover, pine forests in Palmi mountains offer a cool alternative to hot summer days. Palmi mountain, with terraces and panoramic viewpoints overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, is one of the most fascinating places in Calabria. The roccia del diavolo (rock of the devil) stands in Mt Sant’Elia. North of the Tower of Taureana, it overlooks the Plain of Gioia Tauro, while southwards, the infinite shadows of the Costa Viola (Violet Coast) and the bay of Tonnara near the emblematic “reef of the Olive” can be admired. The reef naturally divides the area characterized by the terraced hills called “Giardini di pietra” (stone gardens) from the “bosco degli ulivi” (olive tree forest). Palmi houses the Diving Center for all those who want to visit the splendid seabeds of the Violet Coast. Marinella beach is set in a wonderful reef, north of the Violet Coast, and it can be reached from Palmi through the local road. Mt. Sant’Elia overlooks the beach that is surrounded by high indented rocks. The pebbly beach is 2km long and 50 m wide. Sandy seabeds and clean sea are full of fish that crowd the rocky clefts. The top of Mt. Sant’Elia (585 m) can be easily reached by car in a 8 minute-long drive. Marinella di Palmi is the destination of the local tourism coming from the hinterland. Tonnara di Palmi is a small district north of Palmi town; its name derived from a tonnara (an ancient facility for tuna fishing and processing) that was once located there. Tonnara di Palmi is renowned for wide beaches that are crowded by a great number of summer tourists. The emblematic “rock of the Olive tree”, is worth to be mentioned. A “brave” olive tree stands and resists to bad weather and time on top of a long-eroded cliff.
Palmi is the cultural capital of the Plain. It is located in an enchanting position, near Mt Sant’Elia, on a natural terrace overlooking Punta Peloro and the Violet Coast. Many institutions have their offices housed in the Public Cultural Center “Leonida Repaci”: the Antiquarium that keeps remains mainly from Palmi and Taureana; a Library specialized in Calabria history and literature that includes more than one hundred thousand books; the Plaster Casts Gallery dedicated to the sculptor Michele Guerrisi; the Museum of Calabria Ethnography and Folklore, the most important one in Southern Italy, that keeps common traditional objects including distaffs, corset bones, traditional costumes, etc. Among architectural landmarks the following deserve to be mentioned. The Duomo that houses two 16th-century wooden statues and a 16th-century silver picture of Our Lady of the Sacred Letter. The Church of Monaci or Crocifisso keeps a 12th-century wooden Crucifix. The Church of Carmelitani preserves a fine wooden statue representing Our Lady of Mount Carmel, dating to the 18th century. “The fountain of the Palm”, built by the architect Jommi and the sculptor Sutera in a modern Baroque-Bernini style, is also worth a visit.
All the churches located in the Palmi area houses important artworks. The Duomo preserves two 16th-century wooden statues and a 16th-century silver picture of Our Lady of the Sacred Letter. The Church of Monaci or Crocifisso keeps a 12th-century wooden Crucifix. The Church of Carmelitani retains a fine wooden statue representing Our Lady of Mount Carmel, dating to the 18th century.
Taureana Port in Palmi is located in the Western town area. The inner stretch of water is about 40.000 square meters with different water depths: a 5 m draught at the entrance and along the docks of the outer pier, and a 3,5 m draught in the haulage and launch area (wet dock and ramp) and along the remaining docks. Depth gradually decreases to 0 near the shore. The port is suitable for boat and fishing boat harboring
The Public Cultural center Leonida Repaci deserves a visit. It houses a small Archaeological Museum, a Library specialized in Calabria history and literature that includes more than one hundred thousand books, a Picture Gallery and sculptures by Monteleone, Guerrisi, Jerace, Gullì, besides the manuscripts and relics by the musicians Francesco Cilea and N.A. Manfroce. Palmi Cultural Center keeps the Archaeological section "Nicola De Rosa", that was set up by Calabria Department of Archaeological Heritage some years ago. The section preserves artifacts found in present-day Taureana di Palmi and Scinà district, datable to Ellenistic-Roman and Roman Empire ages. The site is scientifically relevant because it houses an Italic settlement and a Roman Empire one that has been documented as Tauriana. Artifacts were recovered in the archaeological area of Taureana and during underwater campaigns in the sea stretch facing the site. Taureana was an ancient Greek-Roman, and, later, Byzantine city destroyed by the Moors in 951 A.D.. Findings include small marble statues, oil lamps, urns, coins, tomb inscriptions, anchors and amphoras. Of great historical importance are two marble inscriptions that certify that a Christian community was present in Taureana since Paul of Tarsus visited Reggio Calabria. The Section is named after Nicola De Rosa (Palmi 1902 - Roma 1989), who added new elements to the collection. Palmi Public Cultural center also houses works of the sculptor Michele Guerrisi, who was born in Cittanova. They are plaster casts of classical-style bronze works, owned by privates or monumental complexes in Italy and abroad. The works that the artist left to the town include a rich collection of watercolors donated by the artist’s wife Marta Rempte. Sculptures by the artists Nicola Gullì, Alessandro Monteleone, Vincenzo and Francesco Jerace and some canvas by Antonio Cannata, Attilio Zagari and Giuseppe Palumbo are displayed in the Museum. The Ethnographic Museum dedicated to Raffaele Corso collects evidences of the Calabrian folkloristic tradition. It keeps popular superstitious objects (apotropaic masks); Traditional costumes; wooden objects and pottery; a collection of about seven hundred and fifty spinning distaffs; a remarkable collection of cooking molds and small statues for “presepe”; ex-votos made of wax and precious metals; sacred images. It was founded in 1955 by Antonio Basile, Nicola De Rosa, Giuseppe Pignataro, Luigi Lacquaniti, Francesco Salerno, Francesco Cipri, Antonino Nasso, who studied popular traditions, and other enthusiasts of these matters. It was granted by UNESCO the title of Internationally Important Museum. Another museum is dedicated to two renowned musicians who were born in Palmi, Francesco Cilea (1866-1950) and Nicola Antonio Manfroce (1791-1813). The section dedicated to the musician and composer Francesco Cilea (Palmi 1886 - Varazze 1950) collects scores, stage sketches, manuscripts and documents concerning the activity of the Maestro, the author of operas known all over the world, including Gina (1889), Tilde (1892), Arlesiana (1897), Adriana Lecouvreur (1902), Gloria (1907). Of particular importance are his letters, about five thousand. Photographs from his theater activity are also displayed. The miniatures by Michele Cilea, brother of the Maestro, are remarkable. There is also a rich music library. The section is partially dedicated to Nicola Antonio Manfroce who died young after the positive outcome of Elzira ed Ecuba.