'nduja di Spilinga

What is ‘Nduja?

Not so long ago, ‘nduja was largely unknown outside Calabria. This delectable salami was local, in the Italian sense of the word, in a world where the other side of a mountain or the other end of a region would have its own specialties. But distances have become shorter and connections faster, so that this once obscure pork product from a village in Southern Italy has even made it to my computer’s dictionary… Read More

ancient Greek gold

A Goddess’ Treasure in Crotone

Buried treasure brings to mind fanciful maps from childhood. X marks the spot of a chest overflowing with gold coins and precious jewels. It’s hard to imagine that riches await a simple turn of the shovel. But where’s the map? In 1987, the Tesoro di Hera, treasure of the Greek goddess, lay just where it should have, within the remains of an ancient temple in Crotone, a province of Calabria in Southern Italy. Read More

Murals in Calabria, Italy

“Detti Calabresi,” Calabrian Sayings from Borgo Croce

How often do we hear about Italy’s abandoned villages? Inhabitants moved away for work, to larger cities, to the north or abroad. In a frazione of Fiumara, a group of townsfolk decided that they didn’t want to move away from their “neighborhood” in the foothills of the Aspromonte Mountains overlooking the Strait of Messina in the Province of Reggio Calabria. And they founded the project Borgo Croce to beautify their village, which now is alive with color as well as colorful detti calabresi, Calabrian sayings. Read More

Renaissance bagpiper

Renaissance Nativity in Matera

Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year. (I think that’s from a song…) Commercial enterprises have certainly made the most of it, perhaps one could say, even exploited that “feeling.” But that’s because there really is a specialness to the season, and when I laid eyes on the beautiful Renaissance nativity in Matera, I knew that it had always been the case.Read More

contemporary sculpture

Contemporary Sculptures of Edoardo Tresoldi in Calabria

Calabria is synonymous with spectacular landscapes and outstanding cuisine. Visitors flock to the region in the toe of the Italian boot for its beautiful beaches and even to visit the Riace Bronzes, expecting to soak up a bit of ancient culture along with a few rays and a lot of great food. But contemporary art? Yes, you can catch that, too, including sculptures by the up-and-coming Edoardo Tresoldi. Read More

Gerace cathedral

Gerace, Medieval Village in Calabria

Beautiful inside and out, Gerace charms with its maze of medieval streets clustered on a promontory at the edge of the Aspromonte Mountains in Southern Calabria. The town can’t be missed for miles around and views over the surrounding territory out to the Ionian Sea are stunning. No wonder Gerace is one of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages (Borghi più belli d’Italia)! Read More

sustainable travel

Sustainable Travel in Italy

A few short years ago, we thought we might never travel again. Now, “over-tourism” is the catch phrase of the day. And while media outlets continue to promote the same popular destinations, they line up to voice passionate concerns over the resulting difficulties of said “must-see” locations. The alternative to mass tourism comes with its own buzzwords, such as “sustainable travel,” an approach that minimizes the impact of today’s visitors on environments and their inhabitants for the benefit of the local area as well as for future generations. Read More

Imma Tataranni, Crime Drama in Matera, Southern Italy

A combination of mystery, comedy and travel, the Italian television series Imma Tataranni takes viewers on an armchair trip to Matera, the evocative Città dei Sassi (Stone City) in the Basilicata region, located in the instep of the Italian boot. The beautifully filmed drama follows the career and family life of its protagonist and intrepid investigator Imma Tataranni. Read More

wine tasting brochures

Wine Tasting at a Hospitality School in Calabria

Who doesn’t like a wine tasting? A friend recently invited me to a degustazione di vini at a school in Villa San Giovanni, Calabria, and I jumped at the opportunity to sample wines from twenty different Calabrian producers. Attempting to taste even a percentage of the wines on offer that evening would be a challenge, but I was certainly more than willing to give it a go! Read More