People are constantly asking me to give them the highlights of Calabria, to sum it up in a sentence or two. Why should they read my book or scroll through my 100+ blogposts about the region? They want a soundbite, and amongst the myriad of enticements, I’ve found that the bergamot sparks interest. And now, the history of this remarkable citrus fruit from Reggio Calabria can be explored at the city’s Bergamot Museum.
These past few months have been difficult for everyone, and the travel industry has been hit particularly hard. What will the future of travel be? How will it line up with the “new normal”? I find myself thinking about the “old normal” as I consider common travel perceptions and misconceptions. Read More
What’s the next best thing to visiting a place? Reading about it. While I would have loved to have been able to follow through with my Calabria tours this past spring, the lockdown gave me the opportunity to catch up on a few books that had been waiting patiently on my shelf. Amongst them, La Brigantessa by Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli. Read More
These past months have been difficult for everyone and particularly challenging for Italy. First small towns, then larger areas, museums, organized events and the whole country shut down. It got me to thinking about how resilient Italy, its villages and its cities have been, how Italians have come back time and time again after catastrophes of varying natures and proportions. In the spirit of new beginnings, I would like to talk about a revitalization project in a town of northwestern Calabria, today often referred to as the Città dei Murales. On this post, you can visit the compelling murals of Diamante virtually, and hopefully soon in person with the requisite social distancing.Read More
With the “stay at home” order in place, I find myself flipping through old books and photos. And as news outlets report scenarios ever more ominous, I turn to images of better times and lovelier places. In this post, I would like to share a few beauties of Calabria through the words of visitors who passed through the region over a span of more than 200 years. Read More
I had another blogpost ready to go for this week, text written and edited, countless photos selected and uploaded, but as I was about to post it, something inside of me said: Is anyone going to read this? Does anything other than the coronavirus exist? And believe me, I have not taken the situation lightly, particularly as the focus turned towards the coronavirus in Italy. But through all of the political slants, the media’s twists, and “the world has come to an end” rhetoric, I came across a few flickers of light in the darkness. Read More
Calabria is particularly blessed with panoramas that take your breath away – mozzafiato, as they say in Italian. The Santuario di Santa Maria dell’Isola in Tropea is perhaps the most famous of them all. The particular combination of emerald-green water, white sand, blue sky and the little church on its rocky perch is irresistible. Read More
I have been following several Italy travel groups on Facebook recently. The would-be vacationers are both looking for and giving out advice. The top destinations are Rome, Florence and Venice with the Amalfi coast and the Cinque Terre right behind. Calabria pops up rarely, usually because someone has shared a stock photo of Tropea and is asking if anyone has been there or knows anything about it. Then, the self-prescribed experts begin to weigh in. They talk about it almost in the same way that they talk about their visit to Sorrento or Positano. What’s the best hotel? What’s the most romantic restaurant? I never understand how people come up with the “best” so easily. My tastes are apparently more complicated, and my priorities are different when I think about a vacation in Calabria, or anywhere for that matter. Read More
Last but not least, the village of Zungri occupies the final place in an alphabetic listing of Italian communities. The fascinating Grotte degli Sbariati di Zungri or Sbariati Grottos of Zungri lie just outside the historic center, seemingly so far yet just 16 kilometers from the bustle of Calabria’s famous Tropea. Here, carved out of the natural stone, the ancient settlement of cave houses exudes a graceful tranquility in balance with the surrounding natural environment.
Fresh off the tree, dried, stuffed or baked, the fig is a classic fruit, ancient, in fact. The fig has been present from the Garden of Eden to the banquet tables of the Romans through to Christmas puddings of Merry Olde England. The Greeks most likely introduced this noble fruit to Southern Italy, where it quickly became a staple. Down in the toe of the peninsula, Calabrian figs are a must for the Christmas holidays. What makes them so special? I visited a family fig shop to find out. Read More