Gioacchino da Fiore

The Corazzo Abbey: Timeless Inspiration in Calabria

Although a ruin, the remains are a beautiful reminder of the great abbey that once was, an institution that nurtured the likes of Gioacchino da Fiore, the famous Italian theologian. The Abbazia di Santa Maria di Corazzo or the Corazzo Abbey lies in Calabria’s Sila Piccola, an atmospheric mountainous plateau in the Province of Catanzaro. My visit was greatly enhanced …

Calanna, Reggio Calabria

Calanna: Iron Age Pots and Medieval Memorabilia in Calabria

In Italy, you can’t put a shovel to the ground or duck underwater off the coast without running into something old. And I’m not talking about the age of the objects paraded in front of the Antiques Roadshow camera. I mean ancient. Some discoveries, like the Riace Bronzes, are world-shaking. Others would be front-page news most anywhere but Italy. The …

Bernalda, Murder in Matera

Murder in Matera: Southern Italian Skeletons in the Family Wardrobe

How would you feel if you were the descendent of a murderer? Helene Stapinski grew up hearing stories about her great-great grandmother, the strong-willed matriarch and murderess who fled to America and gave life to the Vena family of Jersey City, New Jersey. The legend gnawed at Stapinski, so she decided to play history detective and embark on a journey …

Castle Roseto Capo Spulico

The Castle of Roseto Capo Spulico: Templars, Tuna and Truffles in Calabria

The castle of Roseto Capo Spulico turns heads. Fused to a rocky cliff right at shore’s edge, the striking monument along the Ionian Sea is situated on the Calabrian side of the border between the southern Italian regions of Calabria and Basilicata. I had admired the majestic structure from train and bus windows before recently having the opportunity of viewing …

Badolato, South Italy

Badolato, Calabria – Locals, Migrants, Emigrants and Vacationers

As we drove up the hill to Badolato, a fleet of bicycles was coming down. The riders looked serious and there seemed to be a lot of them for a weekday morning in spring. “They’re Danish. We have a large Scandinavian community here in Badolato.” Having heard of the town’s welcoming of migrants some twenty years previously, I had expected …

Kouros, MArRC

Archeological Museum in Reggio Calabria – Much More than the Famous Bronzes

When I begin to talk enthusiastically about the archeological museum in Reggio Calabria, I usually just get blank stares. If I show a photo or two of the famous Bronzes of Riace, interest piques. Once I have my listener’s attention, I introduce the rest of the museum’s collection. 

Pentedattilo Calabria

Pentedattilo: A Ghost Town in Calabria

Otherworldly screams? Laments from the afterlife? The bloody hand of the devil? The poor town of Pentedattilo on the edge of the Aspromonte Mountains in the southern tip of Calabria has seen it all. Earthquakes and precarious shifting of soil lent the final blow. But this cluster of edifices clinging to a strange rock formation, finally abandoned completely in the …