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
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!
While at rest, the exotic figures attract a bold curiosity from even the smallest children. On the move, however, the large, otherworldly puppets not only send the wee ones fleeing for safety, but the towering effigies along with their accompanying ruckus have actually been known to frighten a former king and his entire military entourage into retreat. Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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.
What would traveling to Italy post-Covid be like, I thought, as my departure date approached. I was going from stay-at-home to full-out international travel. In my mind, a big hurdle was the trip itself. Traveling to Europe from the west coast of the United States was a long haul without a mask, but with one? Read More