Reggio Calabria is the southernmost city on the Italian mainland, and its location has meant it has a long history of trade and occupation which has left its mark in today's cultural heritage of ancient Greek ruins and surviving Roman mosaics.
Reggio is known as the City of the Bronzes, and the Museo della Magna Grecia in the centre of the town is home to the famous Riace Bronzes, two 5th century statues discovered at the bottom of the harbour in 1972, now restored and on display alongside other Greek treasures.
Also in Reggio is the Municipal Library, the oldest collection in Calabria, which notably holds a copy of the first printed Hebrew Bible dating from 15th century Venice.
Around 10 kilometres inland, the hilltop town of Gerace has numerous churches in various states of ruin, most notable among them the Norman cathedral which is still extremely well preserved, featuring a nave and two aisles each divided by thirteen columns taken from the ancient temples of Locri, plus a crypt and museum both open to the public. The nearby 13th century church of St Francis is dedicated to Francis of Assisi and boasts Arabic-Swabian geometric friezes and a magnificent Baroque altar inlaid with coloured marble.