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.

Mattia Preti, The Cavaliere Calabrese

Are you familiar with Mattia Preti, the Italian Baroque artist known as the Cavaliere Calabrese or the Calabrian Knight? The paintings of this important exponent of the Neapolitan School grace churches and museums around the world. His hometown in Calabria also boasts numerous of the artist’s masterworks, and a visit to Taverna opens a window on his long and noteworthy …

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 …

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 …

visit Reggio Calabria

Visit Reggio Calabria: What to See and Do in Calabria’s Largest City

Many people pass over Reggio in their rush to get from mainland Italy to the island of Sicily. Driving down the highway, they turn off at Villa San Giovanni for the car ferry to Messina, never giving a thought to what they might be missing just twenty minutes further along the road. What’s down there, anyway? Trust me, go the …

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 …