Calabria: Southern Italy’s Heartland


Day 15-1 - October 4, 2015 - Sunday - Depart for Calabria; Ferry Crossing; Bronzes of Riace; Arrive Monterosso

Overseas Adventure Travel

Calabria: Southern Italy’s Heartland

Maurizio Caminita

We dusted the volcanic ash off of our shoes, packed our computers, waved goodbye to our new friends who were going back to the States, and met our new driver, Dominico, or Mimmo.

Compared to the crowds on the street last night, the city was empty this Sunday morning. The farmer's market was the most vibrant section of town. Maurizio suggested a brief photo stop for one last shot of Mount Etna.

We received our daily briefing and then Maurizio gave us an overview of the next three days. The scenery was gorgeous in the early morning sun. The mountainsides were covered with the volcanic rock, prickly pear cactus, palms, eucalyptus trees, and the picturesque hilltop towns.

We saw the small town of Salvo where Francis Ford Coppalo filmed The Godfather. To this day, people conduct tours of all of the locations of the movie. This area remains one of the most susceptible to seismic activity in Sicily.

After an hour's drive we reached the port of Messina. We saw the location for the proposed two-mile long bridge to the mainland. There is much controversy about the expense and the environmental issues involved in the project.

There was time for a brief Kodak moment at the overlook to view the port below and our first glimpse of the Strait of Messina. Back on the van, we went to the Gelato Bar in order for Mimmo to purchase pastries for the family we will visit this afternoon.

Maurizio wanted to be early in line for the ferry. Mimmo positioned the van in the queue, for the 10:40 shuttle across the strait. We followed our fearless leader to the Brasilrecca Bar and Caffé for a short coffee and to use the restrooms.

The Vestfold Calabria Ferry came in to the dock and unloaded walkers, cars, vans and buses. Right on time, we boarded and then we left at 10:40.

It was 11:10 when the ferry docked on "The Mainland" and we arrived at Villa San Giovanni. Maurizio told us about our next stop, the Archaeological Museum in Reggio di Calabria.

We left the van and walked to the museum to see the Bronzes of Riace. The two 6 foot statues were found in 1972 and date from the 5th Century BCE. Miraculously well preserved, the men have come to life again for all to appreciate.

Maurizio took us directly to the bronze exhibit. The attendant asked us to go through a sterile corridor. We had to wait in a germ free vacuum room for three minutes. After we were "decontaminated" we were allowed to go see the bronze statues.

After the museum, we went to the city park where the Sunday Flea Market caught our attention. We were not on a tight schedule so we walked around for a few minutes. There were books, old cameras, outdated cell phones, clothes, housewares, and a lot of junk.

Across the street we stopped for a panini sandwich at La Giardiniera. We shared the panini and had a soda for only 4.5 €. For the most part we have found Sicily and Calabria to have reasonable food prices.

In a small green kiosk, called Gelato Cesare we had the best gelato we have had in Italy. Their specialty flavor was a tart lemon. Combined with a dip of chocolate or pineapple, it was delicious!

After that lunch and dessert, we needed a good hike. Scilla was our next stop along the way. Mimmo let us off the van at the entrance of the town and we walked along the coast of the Strait of Messina.

The beach was relatively empty but there were some children playing in the surf. Back on the bus, we continued on to Monterosso. The drive was quiet and the road was smooth. It was not long before many were asleep - nap time.

We left the main highway and drove up to 1,942 feet to our bed and breakfast accommodations. Our hosts Antonio and Velia welcomed us to their six-room establishment.

We settled into our cabin, moved a few things around so we could work at a table, and looked at the photos from the day. Gennie had written the journal as we drove getting a head start before we met our group at 6:30 for a welcome drink and conversation with Antonio.

There was a haze as the humidity was high, but the views from our patio were spectacular. In the village below there was a celebration of Our Lady of the Rosary with a band playing and fireworks.

The cool night air settled in the valley providing us up here on the mountain with a pleasant evening. The sunset promised to be colorful, but it was a little too cloudy for much color.

Velia and her staff prepared our dinner from their garden. We had pasta with red beans, thinly sliced pork, carrots and green peas, and a thousand-layer cake for dessert – to die for!

At 9:00 we came back to the room to complete the journal from our first day on the mainland of Italy.

Accommodations: Villa Velia - - - Meal: B, D

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  Comments

My father's family came from Calabria and their name was Domanico.

Ginger   October 4, 2015 - 6:37pm

Had to go to Goggle for more history on the Bronze of Riace.. Such history!!

Norma   October 4, 2015 - 2:45pm

The views must have been breath-taking -- I could only see as you were walking away, being that I am in your hip pocket. LOL The pics are breath-taking -- they are beautiful and along with your descriptions -- awesome. Thank you for letting me tag along on this journey. Take advantage of your bed and sleep times! You said how much a soda was, but how much was that in USD?

Pat   October 4, 2015 - 2:34pm
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Strait of Messina from the Ferry

Strait of Messina from the Ferry

Bronze of Riace

Bronze of Riace

Sunday Flea Market

Sunday Flea Market

Gelato Cesare

Gelato Cesare

Scilla Waterfront

Scilla Waterfront

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