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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 

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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.

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Article originally published on We Are Travel Girls.com

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. 

DISCOVER CALABRIA & SOUTHERN ITALY ON YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY!

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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

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 & TOURS.

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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!