Tourism, the ‘Strada Regia delle Calabrie’ is reborn: Open Source the 8-year study

The author Luca Esposito to Adnkronos: “With Archeoclub we aim for a tourist itinerary and a network between the ancient villages of Campania, Calabria, Basilicata. Agreements already with over 40 Municipalities”

Eight years of research, dozens of southern Apennine villages of great social, historical and cultural value emerged from the past. Thus is reborn the story of ‘The Royal Road of Calabria‘ thanks to the 8-year long research carried out by the architect Luca Esposito. Passionate about the history of architecture, Esposito has rediscovered the ancient connection from the Roman era that links Campania, Basilicata and Calabria and remained as if hidden since the inauguration of the A3 opened in 1962. The studio of Luca Esposito, member of the‘Archaeoclub of Italyis now a‘Open Source work accessible to all on which tells in over 200 pages a journey that from Naples to Reggio Calabria crosses 430 kilometers of territory.

“With this publication we have launched a project that wants to transform itself into a network of dozens of villages in the South” anticipates the architect Luca Esposito to Adnkronos who plans to present the project in Rome next March. The study, entirely digitized, has translated the 8 long years of research into pages full of ancient photos and maps, bringing to light a great unknown cultural heritage.

“The Strada Regia delle Calabrie is very old, already existing in Roman times. And – explains Esposito – the first part of my research focused on the first stretch of the road, the first half of the journey that goes from Naples to Castrovillari”. The A3, he recalls, “in fact ‘hid’ the ancient road which has disappeared behind the motorway which has also hidden the ancient villages it used to travel through”.

In 8 years of studies, the architect Luca Esposito, Project Coordinator, has found the entire Via Regia delle Calabrie hundreds of villages to tell. And today, thanks to this research, it has been possible to georeference the Via Regia delle Calabrie, also bringing out archaeological sites of great value, from the Roman, Greek and Etruscan periods, but also cultural sites, noble palaces from the 18th and 19th centuries. The study has made it possible to rediscover ancient nineteenth-century taverns, the ancient road of the post offices. Not only ancient taverns and inns have emerged from the past, “basically what were once the ‘service areas’ where ordinary citizens but also great figures of culture and history stayed in their passage.” Esposito says.

Next to the taverns, the horse posts were found, with places designed to quench their thirst. But the postal stations of the past have also been found and along the way, in several points, there are crossroads with ancient Roman roads such as the Via Popilia, there are unknown museums, never-visited noble palaces, river routes. “All this heritage can be an integral part of walks and above all of a great tourist itinerary” continues Esposito. The Via Regia delle Calabrie project has already seen dozens of memoranda of understanding closed in recent weeks with the municipalities of the area. “To date,” reports the architect, “we have signed memoranda of understanding with 34 Municipalities and this week we will close another 5. We aim to obtain a ‘network’ among all the Municipalities – a bit like the Tuscan Via Fracigena – to promote a forgotten story but rich in culture and suggestions”.

“With the Open Source publication you can already travel the long journey and our goal is to give a trail to those who want to travel the ancient road. Furthermore, with Archeoclub, which has adopted the program, we have decided – explains Esposito – to make a strong information action on the long journey and on the villages that are crossed thanks to the collaboration of all the Municipalities: and between Naples and Castrovillari there are as many as 44, including metropolises Naples and Salerno”. “It was nice to receive the letters of support from the presidents of the Regions involved, it was a great encouragement” finally observes the architect.