The southern Italian region of Calabria is framed by 800 km of coast line, touching two seas — the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. In between, a dramatic, lush landscape is dotted with cities celebrating rich historic heritages worth preserving and exploring. So, that’s what we’re doing during my sabbatical…weather and family needs permitting.

When Latin was the mother tongue — it can still be detected in some Calabrese dialects — the region was called Brutium. From my dozen or so years of visiting Italy, there is no comparison to Calabria. It has an abundance of rich culture introduced by ancient Greece, Roman and Baroque periods. The dynamic, helpful and sometimes mysterious people are keeping alive or reclaiming family traditions of art, food, music that makes each seaside, cliff hanging, valley wide and mountain nestled city special and different from one another.

Upon first glance, each town has a familiar look and feel. The more you see, hear and eat you see that each city boasts distinct characteristics: architectural design and colors of homes; town squares or piazzas where locals meet; specialty foods like sweets, fish, cheese or cured meats; and treasured remains…some dating back centuries, even back to Greek
and Roman eras.

Here are a few:

Pizzo Calabro has tuna and Tartuffo, the gelato made with black cherry smothered in chocolate syrup wrapped in dark chocolate and hazelnut ice cream blackened with cocoa powder. Learn how the Pizzitani created Tartufo, “the king of gelati” about Bar Gelateria Ercole, the best place in Pizzo to get one.

Serra San Bruno’s mushrooms — and almost everything else you can put in your mouth
Close by the famous monastery called the Certosa of Saint Bruno of Cologne. This is where my mother-in-law is from, and where we escape Pizzo to spend time visiting family and taking in medicinal air and water.

Bagnara Calabro and Taurianova make great torrone.

Reggio Calabria makes amazing sweets of all kinds.

Ciro — my maternal great grandmother is from Ciro Marina — makes great wines. My favorites are simple, strong vino biano o rosso.

Seminara is known for its hand crafted ceramics and olive oil — in a separate post, I’ll share more about our trip to Seminara.

Locri has a seaside Roman villa rich with floor mosaics.  It dates from the first century BC to late antiquity (around 400AD).

I’ll keep adding photos from Calabria here.

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3 thoughts on “Calabria — Rich Mosaic of Italian Culture & Beauty

  1. Steffanaccio,

    I don’t think there’s an official Website for the Palazzo di Casignana. The first official and most complete publication on the villa was just released this year and much more info is coming to light. Happy New Year! Auguri!!

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