Calabria: Southern Italy's Heartland


Day 18-4 - October 7, 2015 - Wednesday - Travel to Pizzo Calabro; Try Tartufo; Motor to Civita; Hike Devil’s Bridge

The Sirocco wind was very strong this morning. Antonio told us it was the wind from Africa that usually means that rains will follow.

Our bags were packed and Vic carried them up to the main house. We had breakfast and then checked our mail one last time before we left.

The whole staff came out to wish us well and safe travels. After many sincere farewells, we got on our new bus with our new driver, Rafael.

We made one last stop in Monterosso to pick up the woodcarvings that Pasquale had made for some of the group. Waving goodbye to the good villagers, we drove to the seaside town of Pizzo Calabro.

Known for the canning of high quality Mediterranean tuna, Pizzo was a bustling town.

Our first stop was a visit to Chiesetta di Piedigrotta. Legend says that the Virgin Mary saved 16th century sailors on their way to Naples. They vowed to build a Grotto in her honor.

Although we could see rain clouds to the north, the stop was very pleasant. The temperature was 75 degrees and the humidity was 82%. Rafael dropped us off at the bus park at the top of the town and we walked down into the city center.

We visited the café Gelateria Artigianale, famous for the Tartufo, a unique dessert that Gennie has been looking forward to for the whole trip. The owner welcomed us and invited all of us in to watch a demonstration.

He took two scoops of gelato and formed a ball, then made a creator in the center. Into the creator he pour molten chocolate. The ice cream ball was then rolled like a snowball and wrapped for the freezer.

Before serving the frozen ball, it was rolled in chocolate and powdered sugar. The whole creation was fantastic - even at 10:30 in the morning.

Maurizio gave us about forty minutes on our own. Some visited the castle, but we decided to walk the back streets and explore to take photos.

We met back at the bus park at noon and continued north. Our brief lunch stop was at an Italian Autostrada (like our interstate) but after the mid morning chocolate fix, we were not too hungry. We just split a panino sandwich and shared a soda.

At 2:00 we were back on the road again traveling north to Civita. On the way to our destination, Maurizio told us more about the region. In less than 30 minutes we were in a high desert with many mountainous limestone formations.

More olive trees dotted the landscape and Maurizio told us the olive oil here was very exceptional. The town was small with only 1,100 people and there were no hotels. We divided into two groups and walked to our Bread and Breakfast with Marianna, our host.

Built into the rock formation, La Sentinella B & B was lovely. One of our bedroom walls was a huge solid stone foundation. We were welcomed with refreshing cold water and a delicious pastry. After organizing our room we had time to get started on the journal and begin to sort photos.

At 5:00 we walked back to the center of town and met Maurizio and our group. We hiked to the Devil’s Bridge. Spanning the Raganello Canyon, it was still light enough to see the massive gorge and the river below.

Just as we got to the bridge and the bottom of the gorge, the skies opened up and it began to rain. We were to be picked up by a 4-wheel drive vehicle later, but Maurizio called and the gentleman came right away. Oh, the value of cell phones!

We returned to the Central Piazza and the rain had stopped. We were invited to taste some of the local cheeses, chilies, and sausage. Vic really liked the red chili jelly so we bought a jar to take home.

Our B & B was only a few minutes from the square and we had almost 45 minutes until we needed to be back for dinner. We showered and then went back to have dinner.

The group ate at one of the few large restaurants in town, The Agora. We returned to our mountain home and completed the photos and the journal for today.

We went to sleep with the sound of a local men’s soccer (futball) team playing on a field below our window.

Accommodations: La Sentinella B&B - - - Meal: B, D

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  Comments

How quaint of a place(s). The people sounded so very friendly. Since I don't speak the language, I could hear a smile in their voices. OMG - I am with Gennie - that Tartufo sounds like something sinful. LOL With the rain downpour, maybe you weren't supposed to cross Devil's Bridge - sounded spooky. It is getting close to Halloween. Vic, you're my kind of guy - I would have loved the red chili jelly too. I love spicy! Hopefully, the ball game didn't last long under your bedroom window last night. LOL

Pat   October 8, 2015 - 8:07am

Another wonderful day! Yum on the dessert!

Dee   October 7, 2015 - 3:20pm
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Chiesetta di Piedigrotta

Chiesetta di Piedigrotta

Tartufo

Tartufo

Overlook of Pizzo Calabro

Overlook of Pizzo Calabro

La Sentinella B & B

La Sentinella B & B

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

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