May Your Cup Runnith Over into the Tyrrhenian Sea

Pizzo-TropeaMay2008 312, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

I shot this in late May 2008 from the balcony of our friends house, located just down from the Piazza overlooking the sea.

Eye Candy Window in a Pizzo, Italy

Pizzo-TropeaMay2008 330, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

Here’s one I shot on my walk back from a fun kindergarten recital in Pizzo, Calabria, southern Italy. On this day in late May 2008, Summer was about to make its stay.

This is the pastry shop reflecting the nearby and storied Murat Castle, which adjacent to the Piazza, overlooking the marina and Tyrrhenian Sea far below.

You can’t eat the castle, but you can certainly devour the life size prickly pears, mandarins, strawberries and other sugar-made fruits.  Like the tasties my lovely, talent wife recently made.

Calabria — Rich Mosaic of Italian Culture & Beauty

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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Reflection of an Artist Not at Work

KKreflect_terrace, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

My first week of sabbatical. I kicked jet lag, hit a 5-year-old’s birthday party and taught by boy how to fix his 6s and 9s. My wife made a pinata — pretty ugly and proved to be tougher than stick swings. My daughter is adorably tough and remarkably at peace for such a spicy Calabrese grrrl!

Here’s the reflection of coastline of Vibo Marina just south of Pizzo. Shot from the terrace looking inside the top floor kitchen where my wife is writing her dissertation about Roman mosiacs. Pepperincini, aqua buonissima Mangiatorella di Stilo and Kimbo green coffee in silver canister.

November Seaside Storm in Calabria

PizzoMarinaGloom, originally uploaded by KenEKaplan.

Rain hits hard then backs off. The waves keep pounding restlessly day and night.