Brigand path in the Pollino Mountains

What is a Brigand?

The word “brigand” – brigante in Italian – is heard quite a bit with reference to Southern Italy, and I have noticed a certain confusion, particularly amongst English speakers, as to its significance. It’s an important term in understanding the Italian South and the history of Italy, so I thought I’d contribute my two cents to the question, “What is a brigand?” in an Italian context. Read More

Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour

Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour, A New Adventure!

Eyebrows raised when I wrote my book about Calabria, then again when I organized my first tour of the region, and once more when I branched out with a second itinerary. Somehow, it’s considered more logical to write about, read about and return to a tiny, crowded beach on the Amalfi Coast or to shop for pricey designer labels in packed tourist centers than to explore a beautiful and fascinating lesser-known region. Luckily, not everyone is the same, and as with my Calabria Cultural Tour, my Traditions and Food of Calabria Tour was a great success!

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wine grottos

Pietragalla, Magical World of the “Palmenti” Wine Grottos in Basilicata

The wine grottos of Pietragalla capture the imagination. The little cave-like structures that emerge spontaneously from the earth evoke another world, perhaps that of an ancient people or even of hobbits. They are called palmenti, and you will find this atmospheric complex in South Italy, specifically in northern Basilicata, just twenty kilometers from Potenza, the region’s capital. Read More

Matera

The Transformation of Matera

Personal integrity, cultural strength and a collective resilience—these are just a few of the characteristics that helped Matera survive its difficult past and come out the other side to be distinguished as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a European Capital of Culture. This fascinating city in the southern region of Basilicata, wedged between Calabria, Campania and Puglia, is known the world over for its “Sassi,” ancient “stone” neighborhoods carved out of the rocky landscape, made famous as the set for such films as Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to St. Matthew, 1964) by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2003), and the latest James Bond movie No Time to Die (2021). Read More

Calabrian village

Is There Anything to See in Calabria?

Many of my readers and followers have roots in Calabria – Calabrian-Americans, Calabrian-Canadians, Calabrian-Australians, Calabrian-South Americans, Calabrians living in other regions of Italy and throughout Europe, and then there are just plain Calabrians. In Italian, that would be calabresi-americani, calabresi-canadesi, calabresi-australiani, etc. Many have visited the more famous spots of Italy and a few have visited Calabria, often just one village. So, what would motivate a Calabrese, or anyone, to explore further and travel around the toe of the boot? What’s there to see in Calabria? Read More

Pollino Mountains

Civita, Calabria – Albanian Village in the Pollino Mountains

Albanians in Calabria? Those of you who have read my books and follow my blog are already aware of the great mix of peoples who have landed in the toe of the boot and made it their home. They brought language and culture with them, both melding with locals and hanging on to traditions. Civita in Calabria’s Pollino Mountains is one of numerous communities with roots that reach across ancient seas, all the way to Albania. Read More

Historic Games and Pastimes for Children of Southern Italy

Surrounded as we are by all sorts of diversions for our leisure time, have you ever wondered what served as the source of entertainment for children of the distant past? Or for the young at heart? Imagination and fantasy are not limited to contemporary times, so read on if you’re curious as to how people amused themselves, even before electricity, and check out several historic games and pastimes for children of Southern Italy. Read More

Karen Haid

My Fall Cultural Tour, A Few Highlights of Calabria

How did my recent Calabria Cultural tour go? Many have asked this question as sometimes I forget to mention the obvious. I put so much work into the preparation and execution of a project, then move on to the next without fanfare. So I apologize if I’ve left you wondering, and I’m proud to say that the fall tour was a great success! On this post, I’ll share a few photo highlights of Calabria and a glimpse of an experience with Karen’s Travel LLC.

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