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Book your ticket. It has mountains, three national parks AspromontePollinoand Silamiles of coastline, turquoise waters, and rolling, green hills lined with olive, orange, and lemon trees. Find your famiglia. Millions of Italian-Americans trace their ancestry to the Mezzogiorno southern Italyincluding Calabria. Pick a base. There are plenty of sleepy villages to stay in if you want the simple life.
For a livelier experience, look to the cities Reggio Calabria, Cosenza, and the regional capital, Catanzaro, which is centrally located and therefore ideal as a base for traveling around. Soverato on the east coast or Tropea on the west coast are solid choices if you want to stay in a smaller but still travel-friendly town.
Pizzo Calabro is ideal if you want to be close to Tropea, but not right in the thick of things. My village, Badolato on the Ionian Coast, has a well-developed network of places to stay. Stay away in August. Italians and other Europeans come in droves in August to use up their generous vacation time, which means elbow-to-elbow crowds at the beach and frustrating traffic.
ATMs frequently run out of money.
April-June and September-November are optimal. These times have more manageable weather and crowds, but also, many restaurants and attractions are closed outside of these shoulder seasons. Taste the peperoncino. Not only does it add a spicy kick to any dish, it also wards off malocchio the evil eye. Cheap, delicious, and easy to transport. Hit the markets. Most towns have weekly markets, the wares generally determined by the size of the town.
Get up and out early on market days—they start closing up around noon. Learn some Italian. You can usually find someone who speaks at least enough English to get important information, but locals will appreciate any effort you make and enjoy the challenge of using their English as well. Save pizza for dinner.
Your best bet during those times is a rosticceria or tavola caldawhich serve fried goodies such as arancini rice ballsroast chicken, cutlets, and panini. Some of these places do serve pizza al taglio by the slicewhich is square and served in wax paper. Rent a car. The best way to get around Calabria is on your own time, with your own means. Come for the beaches… Calabria is best known for its sprawling beaches along the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west coast and the Ionian Sea on the east coast, and their dramatic cliffs, coves, and surreal rock formations.
On most beaches, you can either rent umbrellas and chairs or bring your own. The stretches of sand with rows of bright umbrellas charge a fee which ranges from 5 to 20 euros and often have amenities such as showers. The heart of the region is comprised of thick forests, dotted with canyons, streams, and waterfalls. Serra San Bruno, deep in the Serre Regional Park, is well worth the long, winding, pine-scented drive for the grounds of the Certosa, an 11th-century Carthusian monastery founded by Saint Bruno of Cologne.
La Cascina del Monastero is a great restaurant within the complex try the fresh ricotta and anything with porcini!
In the winter, there is skiing in the Sila and Aspromonte Mountains. Get medieval.
Medieval villages are scattered throughout the region, but each is unique and worth its own half-day. Gerace, on the Ionian Coast, is the probably the best-preserved medieval village. If ghost towns are your thing, Calabria has those, too: in Amendolea, Brancaleone, Pentedattilo, Roghudi, and more. See how the sausage is made.
The type made from the suino nero black pig of Calabria is especially delicious. Anchovies alicituna tonnoswordfish pesce spadaand sweet red onions cipolle rossetaste incredible here. The area around Reggio Calabria—especially the municipalities of Bagnara and Scilla a little further north up the coast—is noted for its swordfish, Tuna and anchovies are great all over Calabria even cannedbut the closer to the sea the better. Another highlight: cherry peppers stuffed with capers and either tuna or anchovies and packed in olive oil.
Embrace the digestivo. The after-dinner drink to aid digestion is common throughout Italy, but the Vecchio Amaro del Capo is unique to Calabria. Produced in Capo Vaticano on the Tyrrhenian coast, this amber-colored liqueur is infused with local aniseed, liquorice, peppermint, and other herbs. A sweeter option is limoncello.
For another post-dinner treat, order the tartufo di Pizzoa chocolate powder-coated, melted chocolate-filled ball of hazelnut gelato. Most places to eat in in Calabria are on the casual side. But it might be one of the best meals of your life. Free Wi-Fi is occasionally available in public places and accommodations in Calabria, and 3G and 4G reception can even be spotty depending on your location. Slow down.
Southern Italy has a reputation for moving just a bit more slowly. Once on a bus ride down the two-lane, winding road to the coast, our driver stopped to ask a man who had pulled his car off the road what he was doing. Sure enough, three dolphins arched and dove repeatedly into the crystalline waters of the Ionian. Whether we wanted to or not, all the bus passengers bus watched the spectacle for a few minutes before the driver restarted it. Expect delays. And sometimes dolphins. Carry cash. If you keep to the cities, this might not be an issue, but many village mom-and-pop places, including bars for your morning cappuccino, still only take cash.
Dress for the season. The waters may resemble the Caribbean, but Calabria does not have a tropical climate. In the winter, even on the coast, temperatures can drop to freezing, and snow is common in the mountains. Like air conditioning, central heat is not the norm, so factor that into your packing and planning. Rest in the afternoon. In Calabria, just about everything is closed from around p. The Italian way. our newsletter to get exclusives on where our correspondents travel, what they eat, where they stay.
Free to up. After meeting him on a rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea, a photographer reconnects with a young migrant from Gambia to document his new life in Italy. Apr 02 Author: Michelle Fabio. Red peppers and red onions hanging up in Tropea, Calabria. Photo by: Katarzyna Uroda. A wine store in Tropea. Photo by: Martin Charles Hatch. View of the main square of Pizzo Calabro, Calabria. Photo by: Giovanni Boscherino. Photo by: Vera Kalyuzhnaya. Nduja, the traditional Calabrian spreadable spicy sausage. Photo by: Luigi Bertello. Photo by: Chicco Dodi FC.
Photo by: Maud Anros. Tropea peninsula. Photo by: Natalia Macheda. Banjul to Biella After meeting him on a rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea, a photographer reconnects with a young migrant from Gambia to document his new life in Italy. Featured City Guides. More Guides. Space is limited, but the waiting list for more information.Beautiful woman looking for Reggio di calabria handsome man
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