Catanzaro Cathedral

Curiosities and Legends: Wooden Ecclesiastics of the Catanzaro Cathedral

Every town has its legends, some from recent history and others reach back several historical periods to a time when the stories were passed down verbally. These accounts become part of the collective history of a place, a narrative that today’s generation often seeks to record and archive for the future. The story of the wooden ecclesiastics of the Catanzaro cathedral embodies a timeless furbizia or shrewdness. Read More

Adriana Lecouvreur

Who is Francesco Cilea?

I have an American friend who, at the mention of Calabria, breaks into song. No, not the popular “Calabria Mia,” written and sung by Mino Reitano, as you might expect, but an opera aria! He croons the work of a Calabrian from a different era and genre, perhaps just as well known in certain circles for his Adriana Lecouvreur as is Reitano for his nostalgic ballad. This Italian opera composer is Francesco Cilea. Read More

Castle Sant'Aniceto

The Castle of Sant’Aniceto (aka Santo Niceto) in Motta San Giovanni

On a clear day, the Castle of Sant’Aniceto appears to float above the Strait of Messina as it basks in the glory of Mt. Etna. Breathtaking panoramas from the medieval fortress extend for miles in every direction. Many liken the castle’s irregular shape to a ship with the bow pointing inland to Calabria’s Aspromonte Mountains. Read More

Dino Island, Crawford Tower, Francis Marion Crawford

Francis Marion Crawford and the Italian Novel

What 19th-century American writer set 20 novels, a short story, 5 non-fiction works and a play in Italy? Prolific, imaginative, romantic, entertaining and fantastical, the born storyteller possessed a firm grasp of Italian culture, a sensitivity to character and a penchant for the bizarre. But alas, he is nearly forgotten. Francis Marion Crawford, who traveled the world over and made his home in Italy, immersing himself in the way of life, put his stories to paper for his generation, and dear reader, perhaps even for those to come. Read More

Italian bar

The Italian Bar — Dolci Capricci in Reggio Calabria

Fantasioso … creative, imaginative … Italian bars are like the people. “Prendiamo un caffè.” Let’s get a coffee. An Italian bar is always, and I mean always, a stone’s throw away. Italians love their coffee, that thimbleful of dark liquid they throw back with such style. It’s about the coffee, but it’s also about the ritual, the culture, maybe even in the DNA. Read More

Head of Basilea, art restoration

The Head of Basilea: Discovery, Theft and Restoration in Calabria

Provenance. In the end, it all comes down to that record of ownership, sometimes elusive and often just plain false. The Testa di Basilea or the Head of Basilea is a beautiful bronze sculpture, dating from the period of Greater Greece. It was lost, found and “lost” again. Recently, this notable head from antiquity was given a facelift in a restoration project open to the public at the Archeological Museum in Reggio Calabria. Read More

Amendolea ghost town

The Castle of Amendolea, A Ghost Town in Calabria

A 360-degree panorama of untamed, natural beauty surrounds the Castle of Amendolea, whose ruins cling precariously to a narrow, rocky cliff on the southern tip of the Italian peninsula. The high ridge dominates the entire valley and is crowned by the abandoned fortification and village, a ghost town with an incredible view. A visit to Amendolea is a leap back in time, to a Calabria of long ago. Read More