Medma sculptures

Beautiful Women of Ancient Medma in Rosarno, Calabria

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 …

terracotta sculpture, Italy

A Dream in Terracotta, ARGHILLÀ l’arte delle terre of Nicola Tripodi

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 …

Art Museum of Reggio Calabria

Pinacoteca Civica, Art Museum of Reggio Calabria

As beautiful a city as Reggio Calabria is, many visitors come just for the famous Riace Bronzes on display at the town’s world-class archeological museum. In and out. However, those who dally a bit longer discover not only the stunning waterfront, but Corso Garibaldi, the lovely pedestrian shopping street. And right at its center is the Pinacoteca Civica or the …

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 …

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. 

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 …

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 …

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 …