wine grottos

Pietragalla, Magical World of the “Palmenti” Wine Grottos in Basilicata

The wine grottos of Pietragalla capture the imagination. The little cave-like structures that emerge spontaneously from the earth evoke another world, perhaps that of an ancient people or even of hobbits. They are called palmenti, and you will find this atmospheric complex in South Italy, specifically in northern Basilicata, just twenty kilometers from Potenza, the region’s capital.

Pollino Mountains

Civita, Calabria – Albanian Village in the Pollino Mountains

Albanians in Calabria? Those of you who have read my books and follow my blog are already aware of the great mix of peoples who have landed in the toe of the boot and made it their home. They brought language and culture with them, both melding with locals and hanging on to traditions. Civita in Calabria’s Pollino Mountains is …

Historic Games and Pastimes for Children of Southern Italy

Surrounded as we are by all sorts of diversions for our leisure time, have you ever wondered what served as the source of entertainment for children of the distant past? Or for the young at heart? Imagination and fantasy are not limited to contemporary times, so read on if you’re curious as to how people amused themselves, even before electricity, …

calabresi

Bova, Calabria: People, Language and Land

How many words do you know to describe the land? Language reveals a lot about a people. In Bova, Calabria, the Museo della Lingua Greco-Calabra “Gerhard Rohlfs” takes a closer look at this connection between the calabresi and their land, specifically the community that speaks an ancient Calabrian Greek language in the Aspromonte Mountains, way down south in the toe of …

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 …

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 …

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. …