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Promoting ancestry tourism to revive the town of Cleto in Calabria

By Tuesday, 16 April 2024 09:55

The municipality of Cleto, in the southern region of Calabria, has kicked off an innovative project to revive the town by promoting ancestry tourism, also known as heritage tourism. 

A new destination for Italian-descendantvisitors

With the support of tour operators, local companies, and with great commitment on the part of the citizens of the little township, the project is already achieving tangible results. “We are transforming Cleto into a new destination for Italian descendants,- said Cleto’s mayor, Armando Bossio, - and this March we welcomed the first 25 visitors from Latin America.” Mayor Bossio added that Latin American arrivals are also confirmed through the summer months and that, from September to November, there will also be sizable groups from Canada and Australia. 

“Cleto is only 29 kilometres from Lamezia Terme airport”

Cleto, known as the town of the two castles - one medieval and one Angevin - is a hidden gem in the southern region of Calabria, and strategically located between the sea and the hills. "We are 29 kilometres from Lamezia Terme airport and 25 minutes from the Salerno highway junction,- said Mayor Bossio. -Regular Frecciarossa and Frecciargento trains stop in Amantea, which is just half an hour away and is a popular seaside resort town with beautiful beaches.”  

mayor of cleto

 Authentic and engaging experiences lasting a month or more

The project, which was successfully inaugurated in early March with the arrival of twenty-four visitors from Argentina, Chile, and Peru, is based on offering an authentic and engaging experience, lasting a month or more. It aims to help those arriving from countries with a strong history of immigration from Italy to rediscover the traditions and lifestyle of their ancestors.  "Many of these visitors choose to extend their stay for several months, completely immersing themselves in the unique atmosphere of Cleto thanks to the stories handed down by their families, and it also contributes to countering school depopulation as visiting children attend the local school, some for extended periods of time.”

Cleto Castelli

80 Canadians and Australians per month from September to November

With guided visits to symbolic places in Calabria and the discovery of typical local products, the project offers guests the opportunity to take Italian courses with local teachers (volunteers, as are all the inhabitants of Cleto) as well as lessons in music, cooking and traditional arts. “We expect increasing visitor flows and have 38 confirmed arrivals in May, 40 in June and 80 Canadians and Australians per month from September to November.” The project, which is attracting great interest both locally and nationally is a major breakthrough for a community of just 1,300 inhabitants, and was given the name “Cleto Model” when it was presented at the Mediterranean Tourism Exchange in Naples earlier this year.

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