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 …

women travelers in south Italy, Emily Lowe

Early Women Travelers in South Italy

UNPROTECTED FEMALES IN SICILY, CALABRIA, AND ON THE TOP OF MOUNT AETNA Intrepid is the word that comes to mind when characterizing women travelers in remote regions. Take Mrs. and Miss Lowe, two proper British ladies, a mother and daughter team that tramped all over the “continent” in the middle of the 19th-century to both the horror and delight of …

Bergamot

The Bergamot: Calabria’s Incredible Citrus

WHAT IS THE BERGAMOT? The bergamot is a wonderfully unique citrus that makes its home in Calabria. It’s quite puzzling, this strange fruit with a bitter, almost musty-smelling pulp and incredibly light, fragrant zest. Equally intriguing, the bergamot’s complex properties lend themselves to a wide variety of uses and products – from perfume to cuisine to pharmaceuticals – positively jaw …

An Artist in Amantea

I was looking at the rusty sign banning motorbikes from entering the narrow street that led up through the old quarter of Amantea and wondering whether or not anyone actually heeded its message. The little stylized rider sat comfortably on his motorcycle inside the faded red circle that blended with the equally washed out, dilapidated wall on which it hung. …

Nativity Scene by Gerardo Sacco

Away in the Manger … in Italy

FRIENDS OF THE NATIVITY I grew up with a beautiful hand-carved Italian manger scene that was as prominent in our living room as the live fir tree standing across from it. The wooden pieces were quite large and I particularly liked the animals, but I understood they weren’t toys. My sisters and I had a smaller nativity we could set …

Murat in Calabria

Joachim Murat in Calabria

THE FALL OF MURAT IN PIZZO “Straight to the heart, but spare the face!” These were the final instructions Joachim Murat gave to his firing squad on October 13th, 1815, according to his wife’s memoirs, although Caroline Bonaparte wasn’t actually in attendance that fateful day in Pizzo as her husband and former King of Naples looked down the barrels of …