Calabria - your opinion

Dec 19th, 2005, 01:22 PM
  #1  
JJ5
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Calabria - your opinion

I have a golden opportunity to go to Calabria, Italia in May (14-21)and this stay is near the seaside and includes 5 days of cooking lessons. The large villa is good lodging, I know others who have been already.

My basic inquiry concerns what others have found themselves in Calabria. If I do this I will definitely take the ferry to Sicily and tour 3 or 4 days after Calabria- and then fly home from Sicily.

Tell me your favorites or what your Calabria experiences have been. Please! Thank you ahead of time, as I've never been to this part of Italy. I have been to Naples, but I hear this is not similar.
JJ5 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2005, 02:44 PM
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Unfortunately, you won't find that too many people here have been to Calabria. I've been there 3 years in a row to visit family and also to Sicily. My trip reports might be helpful:

Sicily 2003

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34412340

Rome and Calabria, 2003

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34449517

Sardinia and Calabria, 2004

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34526714

Turkey and Calabria, 2005

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34644385
AP6380 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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We were in Calabria (the city of Reggio di Calabria, specifically) July 2003. My father grew up there and I had always wanted to go there. I was concerned, however, of our safety there and so only schedule one night. As it turned out, we felt very safe and I wish we had spent longer. Reggio di Calabria is a large seaside city, and from what we experienced, very poor. The driving is insane, the food very spicey and our accomodations the worst we had in Italy and very little English is spoken. Saying all that, I would still like to go back to explore, but it is a long drive. The view of Sicily is great and I would like to go to Sicily also. We spent a week in Apulia and Southern Italy is wonderful. Americans are not seen often and the locals loved trying their little English.
travel52 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2005, 03:11 PM
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Sicily is a gem. Lots of us have been there recently and you can find info by using the search facility. I'm sorry I can't help you with Calabria though!
gertie3751 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2005, 04:41 PM
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Sorry, I have never been to Calabria (although it is on our wish list). You may find this book helpfultolen Figs and Other Adventures in Calabria by Mark Rotella.
Have fun!
nonrevver is offline  
Dec 19th, 2005, 05:03 PM
  #6  
Pausanias
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Going for a few days this summer after an absence of over thirty years. During that last visit I saw the beginnings of construction along the coast, so I have no doubt that much has changed. I used to take walks in the hills above the town where I saw women washing clothes in a river, and farmers using donkeys to move firewood. People cooked on brass braziers outside their doorways. Oh, and there was a Karmen Ghia with North Carolina plates behind a fence on a driveway.

It was a different world then and I think it has still not caught up with most of Italy. This, of course, is all the more reason to go.
 
Dec 19th, 2005, 06:56 PM
  #7  
cmt
 
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I've never been to Calabria, but I want to go.
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Dec 19th, 2005, 10:04 PM
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JJ5, you will have a wonderful time at the cooking lessons in Calabria. I am so jealous! I loved Calabria, it is Italy untainted and unspoiled by the outside world for the most part. There are vast sweeping beaches, beautiful views, forests, rocky crags, hidden streams and an excellent highway. You won't find many people who speak English. In what city is it located?
SeaUrchin is offline  
Dec 20th, 2005, 04:03 AM
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Hi JJ5,

I've been around the toe (from Lamezia Terme to Catanzaro Lido and around the coast clockwise), with trips inland to Bivongi, Stilo, Gerace and Gambarie, and many stops along the coast.

Where will you be staying?
JQReports is offline  
Dec 20th, 2005, 04:32 AM
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JJ - Tropea and the Cape Vaticano area is very attractive. And the Aspromente area inland from Reggio is scenic (- with a real off-the-beaten-track feel).

Steve
Steve_James is offline  
Dec 20th, 2005, 04:52 AM
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We spent a week in Tropea in 2002 and I found it to be one of the most wonderful places we've been in our five trips to Italy. Tropea has a gorgeous position on the sea and we could see Stromboli volcano erupt every evening from our rooftop deck!
The countryside is full of lemon trees, which have a fabulous scent. The seafood in the restaurants is magnificent. It's a great place to go and relax.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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I absolutely LOVE Tropea, I always do it as a daytrip from my family's home. I intend to spend some more time there in the future.

Stilo & Gerace are interesting daytrips.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 07:24 AM
  #13  
JJ5
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Thank you, all.

I will post the location and particulars when I get them all.

This person is a friend of a friend, and known by me for about 25 years. I had no idea that she had been returning 4 or 5 times in last 10 years, and knew so much about this area. She also has become fluent in Italian and has re-written two cook books with the help of locals who have become her friends.

I have decided that I definitely am going to go- as the timing is also perfect with the semester's end just before the departure date.

She told me that it has been very poor but that the "untainted" and "unspoiled" part, just as you said, SeaUrchin and others- is changing into "starting to be discovered" and that I better get there quickly.

I'll post all the details and will have questions, I'm sure.

AP6380, Steve and others- look for my posts in Feb. & Mar. I have read all Sicily trip reports and know much about Sicily, but very little about Calabria.

AP6380, your threads are terrific and will be help, I know.

My guy and I are no spring chickens but we tend to just love rural areas and the undiscovered the very most- and do walk as much as possible. We have walked around and between Gaeta, Formia, Rapello, and also in the Cinque Terre towns in the North.

My Mother's Mother and Father were born near Palermo (Felici)and immigrated when their oldest was just a baby. My oldest cousin just went back, but had a very hard time seeing the area my people came from- people would not give him any information at all.

I've been reading a lot about the history of the region and the legacy of protection used to secure the lemon crops in the past.

I think Reggio di Calabria is the main lodging area. It's fairly new lodging, I think.

We would rent a car for Sicily, I'm sure. I know we wouldn't have a direct flight home. Oh for more time. I wanted to see Austria again with someone who has people there, but this seems to good to pass up. I know it is.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 07:26 AM
  #14  
JJ5
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Thank you, all.

I will post the location and particulars when I get them all.

This person is a friend of a friend, and known by me for about 25 years. I had no idea that she had been returning 4 or 5 times in last 10 years, and knew so much about this area. She also has become fluent in Italian and has re-written two cook books with the help of locals who have become her friends.

I have decided that I definitely am going to go- as the timing is also perfect with the semester's end just before the departure date.

She told me that it has been very poor but that the "untainted" and "unspoiled" part, just as you said, SeaUrchin and others- is changing into "starting to be discovered" and that I better get there quickly.

I'll post all the details and will have questions, I'm sure.

AP6380, Steve and others- look for my posts in Feb. & Mar. I have read all Sicily trip reports and know much about Sicily, but very little about Calabria.

AP6380, your threads are terrific and will be help, I know.

My guy and I are no spring chickens but we tend to just love rural areas and the undiscovered the very most- and do walk as much as possible. We have walked around and between Gaeta, Formia, Rapello, and also in the Cinque Terre towns in the North.

My Mother's Mother and Father were born near Palermo (Felici)and immigrated when their oldest was just a baby. My oldest cousin just went back, but had a very hard time seeing the area my people came from- people would not give him any information at all.

I've been reading a lot about the history of the region and the legacy of protection used to secure the lemon crops in the past.

I think Reggio di Calabria is the main lodging area. It's fairly new lodging, I think.

We would rent a car for Sicily, I'm sure. I know we wouldn't have a direct flight home. Oh for more time once I'm over there! I wanted to see Austria again with someone who had people there, but this seems too good to pass up. I know it is.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 07:27 AM
  #15  
JJ5
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Sorry for the double post, when I edited, as you used to be able to do, it now double-posted.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 07:48 AM
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I'm currently reading (and enjoying very much) Annie Hawes' new book called "Journey to the South: A Calabrian Homecoming." You can buy it in paperback from amazon.com. She wrote "Extra Virgin" and it's sequel, "Ripe for the Picking" about her move from the UK to Liguria. This new third book is about her trip (very contemporary account, so I assume it was a fairly recent one), together with her Italian boyfriend and his family, to his parents' hometown area in Calabria. Much detail about Calabria is included and so far it has been a great read.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 08:42 AM
  #17  
JJ5
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Thank you very much, eliztrav.
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Dec 20th, 2005, 09:30 AM
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Sorry for that "it's" that should have been an "its!" This latest Hawes book is especially fun for the Italian family's "take" on returning to its roots in "the old country" in addition to Annie Hawes's observations. Hope you enjoy it!
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Dec 20th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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JJ5, I know what she means! I have been waiting for the boom to hit the beach area. I heard when I was there the last time that a developer had bought most of the land around Pizzo and Tropea and was getting ready to do his thing. Something happened to stall him, hmmmmmm, I wonder what?

Some of the developement on the coast is really tacky, but they wanted to develop an upscale resort atmosphere.

Let us know all about it when you return!
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Dec 20th, 2005, 10:04 AM
  #20  
KT
 
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Between Sicily and Tropea, I stopped at Palmi, because I was travelling with two people who had been raised there. While the town is definitely not a touring destination, despite being surrounded by lovely olive groves, I mention it for one reason: If you are interested in folklore and traditions, there's an interesting musuem there, the Museo Calabrese di Etnografia e Folklore "Raffaele Corso," which is kind of like an attic jammed full of traditional tools, costumes, religious objects, etc.

One other thing, though relatively untouristed, Calabria is not untouched by modern life. There are plenty of boxy modern houses with satellite dishes.
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