Trips to the Campania Region and getting through the cold February with rain, wind, snow and the beautiful sun

Hello and welcome to the February 2023 post of The Calabrian Dream. If you are a follower, again thank you for returning to read about what we were up to in February. If this is your first time reading, welcome along. I am Michelle and I write this monthly blog. My husband John and I have lived in Scalea since December 2018. I started this blog in May 2018 so you can read how we ended up at this small seaside town in the north of Calabria. Just check out the archive if you would like to know more.

February 2023 was an interesting month. We took a trip to Paestum, and Justin and Michael were kind to ask us to join them on their day trip to Salerno and Vietri Sul Mare.

We also did some work around our home. I conditioned our plastic seating and we also replaced our pellet stove. Hope you enjoy our February story.

Paestum archaeological site

The month started with our delayed trip to the archaeological site of Paestum. Paestum is a World Heritage site near Salerno in the Campania region where the ancient Greeks built a town which they called Poseidonia in around 550BC. It contains three of the best-preserved ancient Greek temples in the world, some even say better than in Greece. Also, there are remains of the town that the ancient Romans built (who gave it its current name) after the Greeks and the ancient Italian tribe the Lucanians (who called it Paistos). It is pure history.

We were meant to go last September but we caught Covid, so we couldn’t. We decided to go in February as our credit from our cancelled trains back at the start of Covid was expiring. Paestum train station is one and half hours by the Intercity train from Scalea or just under two hours by Regionale. So probably around 2 hours by car. The site is around a 15-minute walk from the station. We decided to go in the afternoon, because I hoped for some lovely light in the afternoon at this time of year. I just could imagine the low sun on the temples. Luckily, it did not disappoint.

We loved being there. It was quieter than expected but I fewer people go in February. So if you want a quiet visit, go out of season if you can. I loved reading all the plaques that tell you about each part. The temples blew me away. I had seen photos but seeing these old temples in such good condition up close was amazing. I definitely recommend a visit. We will return as we didn’t get to see everything. Apparently, there are sometimes concerts in the summer so that could be interesting. We feel so lucky to have such a great place to visit just a short train ride away.



After our evening visit to Salerno to see the Christmas lights back in December with Justin and Michael (see December’s 2022 post), we all agreed that we would like to see Salerno in the daytime as it looked to be a nice city. So we all went together. Justin kindly drove us there and back.

Our first impressions were not wrong. The architecture is lovely and the Centro Storico is great to wander around.

After a good wander, we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant called El Salvador. It was very tasty. It was nice to have a change of food style, authentic who knows, but Justin and Michael come from California which is renowned for being authentic and they enjoyed it. The Margarita cocktails were great and the churros for dessert were amazing (it was a long while since I had those).

After walking further, Justin and I went into an Indian restaurant and ordered samosas to take away for everyone. If you want international food in southern Italy, Salerno has a good selection of restaurants and bars of many types.

Vietri sul Mare

As John had never been to Vietri sul Mare, we decided to show him the town after visiting Salerno as it is nearby. The town was decorated with hearts that lit up at night, for St Valentine’s Day. It was very pretty. John liked it a lot and I took more photos.

Other activities

It hasn’t just been visiting lovely places. I have been going to my Italian lessons twice a week which is so different and more difficult than last year. I was very confused one day as they gave me maths lessons for long equations. I haven’t done maths like that since school, I was worried. This is an example.

{[(21 – 2 x 3 + 5 + 4) : 4 + 81 : 9 ] : 5 + (24 x 3 – 6 x 8) : } x 8

I also found out the division symbol here is : when I am used to ÷ so that was something new.

Apparently, the exam in June contains a maths section. Oh the joy! Sometimes I wonder what I have signed up to, ha-ha.

We have been doing things around the house too. I thought that our external furniture was looking tired. A while ago, I did a web search to see if plastic furniture can be revived as the weather has dulled the colour somewhat. I found out that the magical can of WD-40 can help. Is there anything it can’t do? So, on a cloudy day I wiped the grey sofa, chairs and tables with it and it came up a treat. It obviously cannot make the dry and slightly crumbled surface perfect but it definitely looks better and conditioned. Hopefully we can get a good few more years out of them before they need to be changed.

New mobility trike for Michael

John put together Michael’s new mobility scooter with a little help from me reading the manual, so it gives him freedom and also he nad Justin do not alway need to take the car. It was a pain to put together as there was no real assembly instructions. But after a day John managed to get it working. It looks great.

Replacing our pellet stove

Yes, in the middle of February, the coldest month of the year, we decided to change the pellet stove for dual air conditioning. It was very warm and cosy, but the carrying of pellets and cleaning of the stove became tiresome and as John struggles with his back, it just made sense. Also the cost of pellets has increased by at least double. So, the stove went up for sale. It sold really quickly and our friend Alex helped us to remove it and deliver it to the new owners.

It was great that the stove went quickly, the problem was that we had to wait a few days for the new system to be delivered. It was cold, very cold. Well very cold for Scalea, I suppose. One day we had a sprinkling of snow. Typical! But we had electric heaters to keep us warm and stacked the bed with lots of covers.

As we removed the pellet stove, we decided to cover the gap that the stove was in. Our apartment was originally two apartments that we officially combined to one. And the stove was placed in what was an entrance to one apartment. This was lined with one layer of bricks, so from the outside there is no sign of it ever being a doorway. Unfortunately, from the inside you could tell there used to be a doorway there. We were never really happy with it, but we thought it was OK-ish as the stove would not protrude too much into the lounge. But when the stove had gone, we could not live with it being there. We decided to put another layer of bricks to make the wall as one on the inside too. So now, it doesn’t look like we used to have a doorway. Yay!

It all went well but there was a little hiccup during the removal of the stove. When the chimney or flue was being removed from the wall from the inside through to the outside, it was difficult to come out of the wall. I was outside watching the men trying to release the chimney and then I heard a whooshing noise inside. I ran inside to see what it was and I saw jet black sooty water coming down our pure white wall onto the floor. We recently had a lot of rain and wind, so I guess somehow the wind blew the rain under the cover into the chimney where it must have settled on the horizontal part outside, until the men tried to dislodge it. It looked horrendous. Luckily, I moved our lounge rug and furniture away from the wall before the work, so it didn’t hit anything important and as the wall was being covered anyway, it did not matter. Alex was devastated, I just laughed. After a good wash with a ridiculous number of changes of water, the soot was gone ready for the gap to be bricked up.

Luckily, there were winter sales on in February, therefore we bought the air conditioning unit for a very good price. We also sold our leftover pellets quickly. So basically, the sale of the stove and the pellets paid for the air conditioner and the installation, so it didn’t cost us anything.


The weather in February was in the main cold and wet. There was more snow on the mountains around us than any previous February for us (this is our fifth). As I sated previously, we had snowflakes in the air for a little while. The lowest temperature for us touched 0°C/32°F overnight on a couple of nights. I saw photos on social media of heavy snow around the mountain towns of Calabria. Reports said it was the heaviest for 15 years. I suppose it was great for the ski season. Here are links to the Italian articles showing photos here and here

We always say here, “when it rains here, it really rains” and February was proof of that. There was super heavy rain at times with strong winds, then a sunny clear day and also cold night temperatures. All this must have affected the ground, so much so, there was a landslide onto the road below us (luckily not directly below us) as we look out from our terrace.


The road is completely impassable now. The authorities were fast to block the road with huge concrete blocks. But people still drive up to them and try move them. It is quite funny to watch. Unless you have huge machinery, they are not budging. Also we have seen people walking across the landslide too which I think is too risky, but it is their life not mine. I have no idea how long it will take to clear and make it safe as there is a lot of earth to move. There was a landslide a few months ago on the coastal road to Maratea and that is still not dealt with. I guess these things take time.

So that is it for February. Thanks for reading and hope you return next time.

All the best


3 thoughts on “Trips to the Campania Region and getting through the cold February with rain, wind, snow and the beautiful sun

  1. Sounds like you achieved a lot in February. Would love to see your new fire going. Well done with the maths lessons, very brave. Take of yourselves. Big love ❤️

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