Palazzo della Cultura, Fata Morgana

The Fata Morgana, Elusive Phenomenon in the Strait of Messina

“I have never beheld the enchantment of the Straits of Messina, that Fata Morgana, when, under certain conditions of weather, phantasmagoric palaces of wondrous shape are cast upon the waters – not mirrored, but standing upright; tangible, as it were; yet diaphanous as a veil of gauze.” Thus spake Norman Douglas in his Old Calabria. The extraordinary vision, looking across the Strait of Messina from Reggio Calabria to Sicily has eluded me, as well, in all my time spent in the Città della Fata MorganaRead More

acrolith sculpture

Apollo of Krimisa, Acrolith Sculpture in Italy

Modern man has the tendency to think of himself as more evolved and cleverer than his predecessors, but things aren’t always what they seem. Perusing the pages of history books and visiting museums can lend a bit of perspective with regard to ingenuity over the ages. Take ancient acrolith sculpture, of which several noteworthy examples still exist, amongst them, the Apollo of Krimisa, one of many ancient Greek and Roman sculptures at the archeological museum of Reggio Calabria. Read More

From the Vine film

From the Vine: A Return to Roots Film featuring Basilicata and Aglianico Wine, with Director’s Insights

Having just published my book about Basilicata, Italy, I was naturally drawn to the film From the Vine, made available in the United States this past week. The drama tells the story of a burnt-out corporate executive who quits his job with a Canadian car manufacturer to return to his roots in Acerenza, South Italy. Read More

armchair travel

Armchair Travel on my 6th Blogiversary

These past six months have both dragged and flown. And I realize that my sixth blogiversary is upon me. Reflecting on whether or not the time actually adds up to a year, I remind myself that we must surely be thankful for our ability to imagine, to ponder past our own backyards or as they say #DreamNowTravelLater – I’m learning that there’s a hashtag for everything. We used to call it armchair travel. Read More

Museo del Bergamotto

The Bergamot Museum in Reggio Calabria

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.

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La Brigantessa Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli

La Brigantessa by Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli

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

Italian fisherman

The Murals of Diamante, An Engaging Stroll by the Sea

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

beauties of Calabria

Beauties of Calabria

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