Calabria Travel Guide

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Calabria is a place for two types of people: Calabrians (calabresi) and adventurers. It is bewildering, even frightening to all others, but richly rewarding for those who want to go beyond the Hollywood stereotype of Italy. You will find no Florences or Venices in Calabria. You won't even find a San Gimignano or a Positano (Although Tropea comes close!). Art treasures are often encountered in remote villages. There's a spectacular seacoast with a mix of resorts, seacoast villages (many seemingly "hanging" on the edge of cliffs), and expansive beaches.

Calabria , known as Brutium in Roman times, is a region in southern Italy which occupies the "toe" of the Italian peninsula south of Naples . It is bounded in to the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea , and to the east by the Ionian Sea . The island of Sicily is across the Strait of Messina and is not connected to the mainland.

What else you will find in Calabria? Unforgettable vistas across rugged mountains, vast golden wheat fields and crystal clear seas. Age-old olive trees that grow as tall as eucalyptus. Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Norman ruins, forgotten by time, which suddenly loom over the horizon, beckoning you to your own private rendezvous with history. Shy but hospitable villagers who still wear voluminous black skirts or colorful traditional costumes. Delicious fish, vegetables, cheese, sausage, salami, wild mushrooms and figs. 

If you venture inland, you'll step back into time... this is not the modern stylish Italy we all know and love. You are in the mezzogiorno and you will see a world that is both mediterranean and traditional. You'll drive past countless roadside fountains dispensing natural mineral water. Take your place in line to fill your plastic bottle, or ask a local woman to teach you how to balance a terra cotta jar of it on your head. Driving through the towns, you'll see old men playing cards at tables in the main squares. Grandmothers sit on their doorsteps knitting, weaving or embroidering. You could spot a group of villagers waiting outside the house of a local santina , a psychic who "sees" the souls of the dead, sweats blood, blesses the farm animals or performs miracles. You may see small children, but you won't see as many of their parents, who periodically emigrate north or abroad to support their parents and offspring. Whenever they can, they return home to add that second storey to the house they're gradually financing.

Come tour this strange, wonderful land, which has been conquered and forgotten by every major culture in the Western world. Should you decide to travel here, the residents will reward you with memories guaranteed to last a lifetime.

 

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