beaches in Scilla, with its castle overlooking the Sicilian coas, Piero Morello
By now you know of our connection to the region of Calabria in southern Italy and our familiar, immigrant, story. You know, for example, that our parents immigrated to the U.S. from a tiny hilltop village in southwest Calabria called Pellegrina in the 1970′s and that we’ve been influenced greatly by the traditions found in the region. However, we’ve never told our loyal Scordo.com audience wha specifically we love about Calabria. In turn, here are five things we love about Calabria and the Italian life (and yes there are negative aspects about the Province but we’ll save those observations for another post):
- Weather: Calabria is famous for it’s scorching heat, so much so that the sun produces another famous Calabrian phenomenon, viz., the afternoon nap. Calabria has wonderful summer time weather from May – September and relatively mild fall and winter months (snow is rare). The nights are often cool (especially in the mountains) and the skys are a deep blue (I think the Italian national soccer team was named for the Calabrian sky; i.e., the Azzurri).
- Food: Much of of the region is still rural which means there are plenty of farms producing everything from Pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese to vegetables and fruits (so much that’s it’s often littered throughout the country side) to every known salumi on the planet. Calabria is a true food lover’s paradise and not for the restaurant scene but rather for the raw ingredients that produce a world class cuisine found only in the homes of the locals.
- Water: Calabria is surrounded by three unique bodies of water: the Tyrrhenian, Ionian, and Mediterranean seas (a recent comment on this post reads: “the Tyrrenian and Ionian Seas are subdivisions of the Mediterranian Sea. It therefore has two coastlines”). Not only does the water offer an abundance of seafood including sardines, swordfish, and tuna but it’s the backdrop from some of the best beaches in the world. You can lose yourself in the countless seaside towns tanning, eating, sleeping, drinking, dancing, and leading a truly wonderful existence (as long as you don’t have any bills to pay!).
- Micro-climate / culture: You can travel from the the Aspromonte mountains to the seaside town of Bagnara Calabra in 20-30 minutes and not only does the climate and physical environment change but so does the food and culture. This is what makes most of Italy so special and something that needs to be protected from outside influence (especially mass consumerism) and it’s exactly what we need, paradoxically, in the United States.
- Earthiness and Rawness: I wish I could find a better way to describe the people and “feel” of Calabria but there’s a certain essence of life and living in the southernmost province of Calabria that is difficult to document. Once you step foot on the ancient soil you immediately begin to feel alive and full of vigor and it’s all a byproduct of the items mentioned above. Travel to the region and find out for yourself what it means to live like a Calabrese, just make sure to leave your culture at home and embrace the one you’ve encountered.