Are you familiar with Mattia Preti, the Italian Baroque artist known as the Cavaliere Calabrese or the Calabrian Knight? The paintings of this important exponent of the Neapolitan School grace churches and museums around the world. His hometown in Calabria also boasts numerous of the artist’s masterworks, and a visit to Taverna opens a window on his long and noteworthy career. Read More
The Sunday excursion is quite popular in Italy. A little fresh air, a little culture, and a lot to eat. Recently, I happened upon an outing from Reggio Calabria to Caulonia. The day was to feature Caterina Niutta, an area craftswoman who would demonstrate “eco-printing” and serve a locally prepared lunch.
Looking at the graceful image of the ancient bull, I wondered what the artist who carved it 12,000-14,000 years ago was like. His artistic ability must surely have been valued by his community. The fundamental human expression feels timeless and lends a greater intimacy to the prehistoric burials at the Grotta del Romito or Hermit’s Grotto in northwestern Calabria. The natural limestone cave, one of Italy’s most important fossil sites, is situated in the foothills of the Pollino Mountains in a district of the town Papasidero. Read More
Medma, Rosarno? For most travelers to Italy, these names will not ring any bells. The former was an ancient city-state of Greater Greece and the latter is its modern-day counterpart in Calabria. Medma’s terracotta is exceptionally beautiful. You can see a few pieces in the collection of the British Museum, or visit the archeological museums in Rosarno and Reggio, and have your fill.
Many people pass over Reggio in their rush to get from mainland Italy to the island of Sicily. Driving down the highway, they turn off at Villa San Giovanni for the car ferry to Messina, never giving a thought to what they might be missing just twenty minutes further along the road. What’s down there, anyway? Trust me, go the extra ten miles and visit Reggio Calabria —you’ll be glad you did. Read More
Immersed in a centuries-old olive grove overlooking the Ionian Sea, the Scolacium Archeological Park tells many stories. Time doesn’t stop, it overlaps, and the visitor is able to step back thousands of years to trace the development of this unique site and its people all in an afternoon. Read More
When I first decided to write about Calabria, I never imagined in what directions it would take me or what opportunities would open up. First, my book Calabria: The Other Italy, then My Italian Blog of which this is the 100th post, next the managing of various social media pages, even a YouTube channel, and now the start of tours to Calabria with my first Calabria Cultural Tour organized by my very own company Karen’s Travel LLC. Read More
Much ado is made over what is referred to as cucina povera, simply put, the cuisine of the poor. These dishes are rooted in tradition and authentically recreate recipes with locally sourced ingredients. Today, patrons of the world’s best restaurants clamor for this tasty, wholesome food of humble origins. In Catanzaro, one such rustic dish has become a symbol of the city, the Morzello di Catanzaro. Read More
Over the past few years, I have become more and more aware of an exotic fruit rather common in the Province of Reggio Calabria. In Italian, this unusual, light-green fruit that ripens in the fall is called annona from the Latin Annona cherimola. In English, it is known as the cherimoya (also chirimoya, chirimuya) or custard apple. Read More
Ironic, folkloristic, playful, engaging—the images of Nicola Tripodi’s terracotta sculptures jumped out of the computer screen as I scrolled through my Facebook timeline. “Like,” most definitely. I have pondered, reacted to and shared numerous of the artist’s works, and this past week decided it was high time to view them in person at his studio and shop, ARGHILLÀ l’arte delle terre in Reggio Calabria, located in the very south of Italy. Read More