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 …

Museo del Bergamotto

The Bergamot Museum in Reggio Calabria

People are constantly asking me to give them the highlights of Calabria, to sum it up in a sentence or two. Why should they read my book or scroll through my 100+ blogposts about the region? They want a soundbite, and amongst the myriad of enticements, I’ve found that the bergamot sparks interest. And now, the history of this remarkable …

Italian cave house

The Grottos of Zungri, Atmospheric Cave Houses in Calabria

Last but not least, the village of Zungri occupies the final place in an alphabetic listing of Italian communities. The fascinating Grotte degli Sbariati di Zungri or Sbariati Grottos of Zungri lie just outside the historic center, seemingly so far yet just 16 kilometers from the bustle of Calabria’s famous Tropea. Here, carved out of the natural stone, the ancient settlement …

Visit San Giovanni in Fiore

San Giovanni in Fiore: Gioacchino’s Outpost in the Sila Mountains

An anchor in the midst of Calabria’s Sila Mountains, San Giovanni in Fiore gained its foothold with the establishment of an abbey and remains forever tied to its founder Gioacchino da Fiore. A visit to this mountain town, the Sila’s largest population center, blends the story of an extraordinary monk together with innumerable generations of hardworking inhabitants who followed.

Grotta del Romito

Grotta del Romito: Prehistoric Art and Grave Sites in the Pollino Mountains

Looking at the graceful image of the ancient bull, I wondered what the artist who carved it 12,000-14,000 years ago was like. His artistic ability must surely have been valued by his community. The fundamental human expression feels timeless and lends a greater intimacy to the prehistoric burials at the Grotta del Romito or Hermit’s Grotto in northwestern Calabria. The …

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 …

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 …

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 …