Driving up the coast of Calabria we went off the guide book to walk around an ancient deserted town on a rocky outcrop.
Thankfully there were some battered information signs: its name is Ruderi di Cirella Vecchia. Built in 649 in the reign of Pope Martin 1, it was an early outpost of Magna Grecia but since the town’s hayday, it’s been the centre of a number of attacks; by the Turks in 1576, the French in 1806 and finally the British in 1808, which caused the inhabitants to pack up and move to an easier life on the coast.
In the UK these ruins would be a prime tourist attraction with a steep entry fee. In Italy they are just another neglected gem.