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Seaside Yoga Retreat

Yoga under a bright sky

Swimming in the crystal blue sea, dining under the stars and laughing with new friends.  We nurtured our body, mind and soul, connected with nature and created memories that will last a lifetime.

A big thank you to our yoga teacher Mona Lisa for guiding our group of twenty with magical seaside yoga and meditation.

Here are some photos from our beautiful 5 day Discover Calabria Sun, Sea & Savasana retreat.

JOIN ONE OF OUR UPCOMING YOGA RETREATS IN CALABRIA!

Or, if you can’t join us but would still like to take part in some fabulous yoga classes you can sign up to Yoga International.

They offer online courses from beginner to advanced levels all from the comfort of your own home. We are happy to offer a 14 day free trial just by clicking the link below.

Enjoy!

By: Michelle Pedullà

TRAVEL JOURNAL

Michelle-Pedulla

A WEllness ESCAPE

IN CALABRIA

WE GO ON RETREAT TO ESCAPE OUR BUSY LIVES AND EXPERIENCE SOMETHING UNIQUE. IN AN UNFAMILIAR SETTING AND IN COMPANY OF LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE, WE HAVE TIME FOR SELF-REFLECTION.

THIS IS A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY AND TRANSFORMATION. IT IS A TIME THAT WE DEDICATE TO OURSELVES AND USE TO IMPROVE OUR BODY AND MIND. WITH EACH DAY THAT PASSES, WE LEARN SOMETHING NEW AND GROW INTO OUR TRUE SELF.

THE TOP 5 MEMORIES FROM THE SUN, SEA & SAVASANA

YOGA & WELLNESS RETREAT WITH DISCOVER CALABRIA

1.  The Seaside Sunrise & Sunset yoga

There is nothing more peaceful than watching the sun rise while listening to the sea waves crash on the shore. Practicing yoga in such serenity enhances our connection to nature and helps us go deeper within ourselves.

Being seaside feels relaxing, but is very energizing. Sea air contains negative ions which accelerates our ability to absorb oxygen.

With each breath, we nourish our body with fresh healthy molecules, providing us with more energy and stimulating our senses. 

2. enjoying life at a slower pace

When we are busy with our day to day lives, it is easy to forget to slow down. There is an Italian phrase called 'dolce far niente' which translates into 'sweetness of doing nothing'. This is the practice of mindfulness and living in the present moment.

If we slow down, we are able to relax and appreciate the beauty found in simplicity. Only when we allow this to happen are we able to see life from a different perspective. 

3.  The Delicious Italian Meals

There is no greater pleasure than sitting down to a delicious meal after a busy day. Eating is meant to be a convivial gathering enjoyed with others.

It's a time to relax, reflect and share stories with friends while nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods from natural ingredients.

The cuisine of Calabria is healthy, seasonal and primarily organic. It is based on traditional slow food preparation which focuses on the simplicity of bringing out the best of each ingredient.

From freshly made pasta to hand-churned gelato made with real vanilla beans, everything can be enjoyed in moderation.

4.  memories with new Friends  

When you decide to go away on a retreat you never know who you will end up meeting.

Whether you book your retreat alone or with a pal, the beauty of this experience is you end up meeting people who quickly become lifelong friends. Being away in a setting with fellow yogis who are on a similar journey can be a powerful experience.

When you are far from home in a relaxed setting you connect with others on a deeper level; it is through these human connections we learn the most about ourselves. 

5.  feeling inspired by nature

Albert Einstein described it perfectly: "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." 

When we escape the confines of our technologically advanced lives and retreat to the outdoors, we disconnect and begin to tune in to our inner world. 

Being surrounded in a natural setting calms the mind and restores the soul. Whether it's the soothing sounds of the surf lapping against the shore or the chirping of birds overhead in the wooded trails of the Aspromonte mountains, you become in harmony with your mind-body-soul. 

JOIN ONE OF OUR UPCOMING YOGA RETREATS IN CALABRIA!

Or, if you can’t join us but would still like to take part in some fabulous yoga classes you can sign up to Yoga International.

They offer online courses from beginner to advanced levels all from the comfort of your own home. We are happy to offer a 14 day free trial just by clicking the link below.

Enjoy!

By: Michelle Pedullà 

 

WATCH OUR VIDEO: SUNSET YOGA IN calabria

TRAVEL JOURNAL

Calabria’s Infinite Shades Of Blue

From the palest teal to the deepest cobalt, the most beautiful shades of blue... turquoise, azure, cerulean, sapphire, illuminated by the electrifying sun. Nurturing. Inspiring. Exhilarating. Inhale deeply. Saltiness tingles on your tongue. Stillness in the bright sky. The sweet scent of adventure in the air. Discover the enchantment of Calabria.  

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Top row left to bottom: coastal drive; the majestic santa maria dell' isola; poolside at an agriturismo; the beach at jolly mare siderno; street sign, view of the sea in capo vaticano, ionian sea beach; arena dello stretto reggio calabria; swimming in the tyrrhenian sea

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Explorations in Pizzo calabro

Upon first glance Pizzo Calabro resembles a tranquil fishing village with white sandy beaches and rocky coves, the perfect place for a sunny sojourn. A brief stroll into town pleasantly surprises you upon discovering unique culinary delights and charming ancient monuments.

Pizzo’s name translates to a bird’s beak or projecting point, which accurately describes the town as it is located on top of a bluff overlooking the sea. Each angle offers majestic views of the coastline perfectly named Costa degli Dei - the Coast of the Gods.

The main square in Pizzo is the Piazza della Repubblica. This is the heart of the community where you can catch glimpses of daily Calabrian life - families enjoying a pranzo (lunch) on the terrace, animated conversations at a café or watch the shuffle of people as they disappear into the narrow lanes surrounding the square. Food aficionados will enjoy tasting the local cuisine especially seafood dishes such as, spaghetti al nero di sepia or the traditionally prepared tuna cured in olive oil.

Do as the locals do, sit down, relax at a café and order the renowned dessert: tartufo di Pizzo. This gelato creation was invented in Pizzo and remains a culinary specialty with several cafés in the main piazza offering their own variation using ‘secret’ recipes. The original tartufo di Pizzo is a mix of chocolate and hazelnut gelato shaped into a ball, filled with a chocolate centre, covered in chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder. Today you can find a variety of gelato combinations and fillings to compliment each flavour. This sweet dessert was aptly named, tartufo because of its similarity in shape and colour to the highly coveted and precious tubers: truffles, known as tartufo in Italian. The popularity of tartufo has spread across the province and is often found on dessert menus around Calabria. With only the freshest ingredients used and made by hand, each bite leaves the taste buds wanting more, this is one delicacy you won’t be disappointed by.

Next to the piazza is the Castello Murat, a 15th century castle, built by Ferdinand I of Aragon, with two large cylinder towers looking out onto the sea. It is famous for the imprisonment of the deposed King of Naples, Joachim-Napoléon Murat (brother-in-law to Napolean Bonaparte) and his subsequent execution after attempting to regain control of the kingdom. Visitors can visit the castle to experience a reconstruction of Murat’s last days leading up to his execution by firing squad.

As you walk through the building, you sense the helpless feeling Murat's soldiers felt. Murat's final letter to his wife and children is a sad reminder of the loving family he left behind. The silence inside the castle matches the sombre mood, as you finish the tour in the exact place that Murat said his last words on October 13, 1815 "I have braved death too often to fear it...Soldiers! Do your duty! Straight to the heart but spare the face. Fire!"

Locals believe sometimes you can hear the faint echo of Murat's footsteps pacing in his prison cell. Dare to discover the ghost of Murat on your next visit?

A short walk along the coast leading out of town or a quick taxi ride will take you to Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, a large cavernous church carved into the rock. 

The Piedigrotta was built in the 17th century by a group of sailors who vowed to erect a church where their ship wrecked as a way to pay homage for sparing their lives. The church is elaborately carved out of soft rock in the side of a bank facing the sea. Natural arches and pillars separate the statues and biblical scenes into distinct sections. Miniscule holes above the cave allow a soft glow of light to filter in and illuminate the statues from different angles. The lighting constantly changes with the movement of the sun creating a unique visit each time from sunrise to sunset. 

Satisfy all the senses - sun, sand and sweets over a weekend exploring Pizzo. This little-known gem awaits your discovery.

Food fun:

Fill your sweet tooth sampling each flavour of tartufo at Gelateria Artigianale Bar Dante located in the main piazza. This is the original location of the creation of tartufo. 

Travel Info:

Pizzo is located 15 km south of Lamezia Terme airport approximately a 30 minute drive. Conveniently reached by a regional train running along the coast.

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By: Monique Malais 

TRAVEL JOURNAL

Discover Italy's Best Kept Secret…Calabria!

Head to the Southern most point of Italy and you'll discover Calabria. An enchanting and mysterious region with over 800 kilometres of the most pristine beaches in Europe. If you enjoy to travel off the beaten path and become immersed in local culture, Calabria should be your next destination. 

The moment you step off the plane, everything slows down and you are transported back to a simpler way of living, one where pleasure takes precedence over time. Sit back at an outdoor cafe and feel the warmth of the sun relax your entire body as you savour each sip of your cappuccino. Watch the world float by as waves of relaxation take over your body with each inhale of salty sea air.

Unlike other popular Italian vacation spots, Calabria remains free from overdevelopment, preserving thousands of years of history and culture. In fact, Calabria is one of the oldest regions of Italy brimming with stories of conquests, and crusades and was the first area to be called Italia. Byzantine and Greek influences are evident in the architecture of churches, medieval castles and monasteries. 

Part of Calabria's charm is due to a blending of cultural traditions, which has evolved into countless celebrations and unique festivals happening almost daily. From colourful religious processions to sunset beach parties, no matter the season become part of the local fabric and exhilarate the senses. 

A visit to Calabria would be incomplete without satiating the stomach and tasting the local cuisine. The food varies by town, each dish deeply rooted in ancient culinary traditions, with an emphasis on fresh local food. For dessert let your nose be your guide as you wander through the cobblestone streets and tantalize your taste buds with seasonal gelato made fresh daily like fico nero (black fig) or Bergamotto (Bergamot).

If the sun and sea is calling your name then what are you waiting for? With flights daily to Lamezia Terme and Reggio Calabria you can jump onboard and come Discover Calabria for yourself.

DISCOVER CALABRIA & SOUTHERN ITALY ON YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY!

LET US HELP YOU PLAN THE PERFECT EXPERIENCE WITH OUR CUSTOM TRAVEL PLANNING SERVICE OR JOIN ONE OF OUR UPCOMING RETREATS.

Article originally published on We Are Travel Girls.com

By: Michelle Pedullà 

TRAVEL JOURNAL

The Exquisite Scent of Bergamotto It's something in the air...

Photo courtesy of Geotag Aeroview

Photo courtesy of Geotag Aeroview

Scent is one of our five senses, it has an invisible force that has the power to evoke memories and even change our mood. Perfume has been a powerful mood enhancer used for centuries. 

When developing new scents, master perfumers seek out the best resources to create a balanced scent consisting of top, middle and base notes. Many of the finest perfumes are composed of the purest ingredients sourced from all over the world. Italy is no stranger to a perfumer’s extensive repertoire of ingredients in composing a scent. The bergamot (citrus bergamia) grown in Calabria is one of the most prized ingredients frequently used as a top note in many popular fragrances on the market. The essence of bergamot is said to have a powerful mood enhancing effect evoking a feeling of happiness.

Bergamot is a rare exotic fruit often described as a cross between a bitter orange and a lemon. It is zesty, floral and fruity creating a rich rounded scent and is considered one of the finest of the citrus notes. The essence is derived from the rind of the bergamot – the same essence giving Earl Grey tea its distinct but familiar scent.

Production of this rare fruit is limited to small coastal areas along the Ionian Sea in the province of Reggio di Calabria. Bergamot thrives in this area of Southern Calabria; a climate characterized by enduring, hot summers, rain in the spring and mild winters. The harvest runs from October to February; in the early months it evokes a softer, floral-woody scent, in the later months the fruit transforms into a fresher-citrus scent. The combined weather conditions and soil is the secret behind the success of bergamots making Calabria the largest global producer. 

Luxury brand Dior is world renowned for their exquisite fragrances and has an on-going love affair with Calabrian bergamot. Every year thousands of organically grown bergamot trees are harvested for the house of Dior as it is a key ingredient in all Dior perfumes. Dior's master perfumers believe capturing a scent is both an art and a science and spend years developing scents based on ancient perfumery traditions.

In every Dior perfume bottle there is an essence of Calabria inside - the air, sea, culture. It could be said that with each spray you are experiencing a beautiful scent tied to the magic of the Calabrian land.

François Demachy, Dior Perfumer describes his experience for capturing the essence of bergamot in Calabria.

"When you go to Calabria, you feel the reality of the environment brought to life, and draw inspiration from the beauty of the plantations."

Watch his journey on the quest for essences in the video below: 

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By: Monique Malais

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Calabria: Fall/Winter Photo Album

Golden Sunshine ~ Citrus Fruit ~ Salty Breeze

Take a walk through the streets of Calabria under the bright sunshine, while the sea breeze blows the scent of citrus fruit in the air. This is the fall and winter season in Calabria. This is when life becomes even slower and a great time to visit if you want to experience Calabria in its most relaxed state. 

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By: Michelle Pedullà 

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Dolce far niente...

The art of pleasant idleness

Dolce far niente is an Italian term literally translating into 'sweetness of doing nothing'. Italians effortlessly live by this concept because it's simply the way of life in Italy.  No one ever seems to be in a rush, appointment times are always flexible and the workday lunch hour seems to go on and on until the late afternoon. Many travellers to Italy will notice that the locals always seem very relaxed and happy. Older men sitting at cafe's playing cards with their grandchildren, stylishly dressed men and women enjoying a long lunch with wine in hand, family's strolling leisurely, eating gelato as if everyday was a Sunday.

The further south you go in Italy, the more vivid dolce far niente becomes. What many don't know is that dolce far niente is actually an art form that takes practice to perfect. And no one in Italy has mastered it as perfectly as the locals of Calabria. In Calabria they take dolce far niente to a whole new level. You will see it everywhere you go, people of all ages participating in the beautiful art of enjoying the simple pleasures of life. In Calabria it's understood that the true essence of dolce far niente is about spending time with family and friends and making it top priority. That is what dolce far niente is really about.

Press play and start practicing your dolce far niente!

Dolce-Far-Niente

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By: Michelle Pedullà 

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Welcome to Gerace...

the perfectly preserved medieval town

Gerace is located in the province of Reggio Calabria on top of a cliff, with stunning views of the Ionian sea and the mountains that surround it.  Because of its location it is only accessible by driving up a steep, winding mountain road.  The scenic drive is only the beginning of the journey. With each kilometer you ascend up the mountain, you will see the coastline shrink away as you drive past olive groves, palm trees, wild cactuses and jasmine flowers. Each twist and bend in the road will leave you feeling like you are being transported into a beautiful painting. Make sure the car windows are rolled down and notice how the scent of the air changes from salty sea to sweet flowers and then crisp mountain once you've reached the highest point and your destination, beautiful Gerace.

Gerace-Calabria

Park your car and spend the afternoon wandering the cobblestone alleyways. Many visitors express that Gerace is a place that has you feeling like you've stepped back in time. Most of the town and architecture has remained in tact so it's no wonder Gerace is regarded as one of the best preserved medieval villages in Italy.

Here you will find remnants of several centuries of history. A Norman castle, ancient churches, renaissance palaces and a tangle of streets formed by cobblestone lane ways all within the original fortress walls of this beautiful medieval town.

Gerace-Calabria

The name of the town originates from the Greek lerax (Ιέραξ) meaning Sparrowhawk. According to a legend, the inhabitants who once lived on the coast, were under attack by Saracen invaders in 915 CE, and needed a safe place to hide. They were led by the sparrowhawk all the way up to the top of the mountain and here they founded their new home Gerace. Over the centuries to come Gerace fell under the control of the Byzantines, the Saracens, the Normans and the Angevins and remnants of these civilizations is still visible today.

Gerace-Calabria-Piazza

The majestic cathedral of Gerace built in the Byzantine-Norman style is a great example of architecture that still stands today.

Gerace-Calabria-Cathedral

The cliff side view is breathtaking. You can see all the way down to the Jasmine Coast where the sky touches the sea and shades of blue become one.

Gerace-Calabria

Peaceful is a great word to describe Gerace. It's so easy to lose track of time wandering the narrow alleyways and then stopping at a cafe in the piazza to taste Gerace's famous granita, an Italian fruit flavoured ice slush.

Gerace-Calabria-Street

Remarkably Gerace has been able to preserve much of its ancient artistic and cultural heritage even after more than 2500 years. Here you will find many artisans working in original workshops, on handicrafts that were taught and passed down through the centuries. These talented artisans are happy to open up their workshops and introduce you to their traditional style of working with ceramics, iron, wood and hand weaving.

Gerace-Calabria-Artisans

EAT For the best granita you must visit Bar del Tocco located in the main piazza.

SHOP Gerace is filled with artisan workshops. Visit Laboratorio Creazioni Artistiche (as pictured above) where you can find beautiful hand crafted souvenirs.

Interesting facts

1.  Gerace was once home to 128 churches.

2.  Walking tours are a breeze! The entire town is only 24 sq km.

3.  Gerace sits atop a 500m vertical cliff formed of conglomerate sea fossils from 60 million years ago.

4.  Archaeological findings have proven that the area was in fact inhabited since the Neolithic Age.

5.  Gerace has been home to many philosophers, artists, poets and writers over the centuries. Plaques have been placed at the entrances of their original homes to commemorate them.

Gerace-Calabria-Coast

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By: Michelle Pedullà 

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Scilla...the village of the mythical sea goddess

Scilla is a beautiful seaside village located in the province of Reggio Calabria. Scilla's coastline lies at the end of the Straight of Messina, a narrow sea passage between Calabria and Sicily linking the Tyrrhenian to the Ionian Sea. The waters that caress the shores of Scilla have a mystical past. According to stories in Greek mythology, Scylla was a beautiful sea goddess whom the sea god Glaucus fell in love with. Glaucus desperately wanted Scylla to return his love so he went to visit a witch name Circe to ask her to cast a love spell on Scylla. Circe became jealous of the love Glaucus had for Scylla and instead cursed the beautiful sea goddess turning her into a six headed monster and casting her to live under the sea where out of anger she would destroy all ships that came near her.

scilla-calabria-beach

Today visitors to Scilla can't deny its enchantment. This beautiful village has a mystical history and a peaceful tranquility that no longer exists in the larger mainstream Italian cities.  But what makes Scilla truly special is the way the coastline divides the town into two uniquely beautiful neighbourhoods. On one side you will find Marina Grande, with its beautiful 800 metre golden sand beach. While the other side Chianalea is a charming fisherman's district and where you will find some of the best seafood restaurants in Calabria. 

Scilla-MarinaGrande-CastelloRuffo

From Marina Grande walk the boardwalk to the end of the beach and notice that the coastline jags outward and heightens into a cliff. Right at the top is the ancient castle 'Castello Ruffo'. From here you can catch a great view of the coast of Sicily. On the other side of the castle lays Chianalea, the fisherman's district which is also known as 'Little Venice of the Tyrrhenian Sea'.

Photo courtesy of BLOM

Photo courtesy of BLOM

Quaint and charming, Chianalea looks like a neighbourhood out of an old Italian film, complete with little alleyways that descent directly into the sea. It is also home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Calabria. Enjoy picturesque views of ancient fisherman's homes built right up against the sea as you dine on local seafood caught that morning. .

scilla_rt.jpg
Scilla-Chianalea-Town

Interesting Facts

Scilla is only a 30 minute drive from Reggio Calabria. 

The town castle Castello Ruffo is open to the public from 8:30 to 19:30 and costs 1.50 Euro per person and is free for children under 9 and seniors over 70. From the castle grounds catch the marvellous view of the Eolian Islands and the Sicilian Coast.  You can see a virtual tour here at Castello Ruffo Virtual Tour. 

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By: Michelle Pedullà 

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Tropea...A postcard perfect beach town

Tropea is a picturesque beach town located in the province of Vibo Valentia along the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This stretch of coastline is also referred to as the 'Coast of the Gods' as legend say's that it was Hercules, the famous son of Zeus, who founded Tropea after discovering it on a trip back from Spain.

Tropea-Beach

The town sits majestically high above the coastline, its cobblestone streets and piazza's overlooking the sparkling turquoise blue sea and glistening white sand below.

Tropea-Beach

Tropea is famous amongst Italian tourists who spend their summers relaxing under the sultry sun. Candy coloured umbrellas line the seashore adding splashes of colour to the sunfilled backdrop.

Tropea-Beach
Tropea-Beach
Tropea-Beach

Santa Maria dell'Isola is a beautiful church that stands on its own at the top of a rock hill hanging out over the water. Walk up the stone steps to the highest point for a great view of the beautiful coastline.

Tropea-SantaMaria-Church
Tropeae-Beach

Interesting Facts

The most famous onion in all of Italy comes from Tropea and is fittingly named 'cipolla rosa di Tropea' or 'red onion of Tropea'. It's a sweet onion variety and used in many local recipes. The onion even has its own festival which takes place every year on July 27th.

By: Michelle Pedullà

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Catanzaro...the city of two seas

Catanzaro is the capital of Calabria.  Its nickname is 'the city of two seas' because the town overlooks the Ionian on the east and the Tyrrhenian on the west. Catanzaro's most famous beach Soverato is known as the pearl of the Ionian. In the summer months the town fills with tourists and locals enjoying its beautiful beach and vibrant nightlife. Enjoy this video of the beautiful beaches of Soverato! 

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gelato amore...

calabria's favourite pastime

If there is one phrase you will hear a lot in Calabria and should definitely learn it's "andiamo a prendere un gelato!" which translates to "let's go for an ice cream!" For those with a sweet tooth, there is nothing more enjoyable on a sun filled day than heading to the nearest gelateria, aka ice cream parlour, to choose your perfect flavour.

Gelato and sunshine go hand in hand not only because Calabria has more sunshine days than the rest of Italy, but also because "andiamo a prendere un gelato" is deeply rooted in the social traditions of the region, bringing people together to enjoy one of life's simple pleasures.

Italian-Gelato

Although the literal translation of gelato is ice cream, gelato should not be confused with ice cream because they are actually very different. Ice cream is a frozen dairy dessert made with cream, milk, sugar, egg yolks and artificial flavouring. Who hasn't eaten an entire pint of ice cream all by themselves and afterward felt full and unsatisfied? During the processing of ice cream, the ingredients are churned at a high speed in order to whip air into the mixture. This is a sneaky way to increase the ice cream volume making it up to eighty percent air. So the next time you finish a pint all by yourself, it's not because of your uncontrollable sweet tooth it's because of the quality of the ice cream you are eating.  

Italian-Gelato

Gelato on the other hand is made in small batches every morning  by artisan gelato makers using only natural ingredients like fresh milk, sugar, fruit, nuts and pure chocolate to create delicious flavours like pistachio, bacio, amarena and limone. Gelato is churned at a delicate slow speed, in order to prevent a lot of air incorporating into the mixture and generally the volume is made up of only twenty percent air that is drawn in naturally by the churning process. This is why gelato is much more satisfying than ice cream and one scoop is all you need. But if you do want to eat more remember that you don't have to feel guilty since gelato contains about half the fat of ice cream, is made with natural ingredients and contains no preservatives. Not to mention gelato contains high levels of protein, vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus. But who are we kidding, we don't eat gelato because it's good for us, we love it because it tastes amazing.

Italian-Gelato

So next time you're in Calabria or anywhere in Italy indulge in the national pastime and "andiamo a prendere un gelato!" 

DISCOVER CALABRIA & SOUTHERN ITALY ON YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY. LET US HELP YOU PLAN THE PERFECT EXPERIENCE WITH OUR CUSTOM TRAVEL PLANNING SERVICE OR JOIN ONE OF OUR UPCOMING RETREATS.

By: Michelle Pedullà