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 …

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 …

Strait of Messina

Swimming the Strait of Messina: Elio Musco and His Psychology of Youth

“Non mollare.” — Don’t give up. As we ring in the New Year with resolutions full of challenge and optimism, the advice of an octogenarian who has swum the Strait of Messina 23 times is as good as it gets. Add to that, he was 49 years old when he attempted it for the first time. Reggio Calabria native Elio …