Welcome to the May edition of The Calabrian Dream. If you are new to this blog, welcome! I’m Michelle. My husband John and I moved from Staffordshire in the UK to Scalea in Calabria, Italy in December 2018. If you are interested in the story of how we got here check out the archive.
This month, we were mainly dodging rainstorms but managed to visit Soverato and Catanzaro during the sunshine which are just under three hours south of our hometown Scalea. We also took a walk around the nearby town of Belvedere Marittimo and participated in an evening of moon gazing at the lovely Trattoria Il Gallo Bianco.
Our friend Justin had appointments at the large polyclinic in Catanzaro. A large university hospital mainly having outpatient clinics and research facilities. When Justin and Michael went for the first time poor Michael was stuck in the car for hours. Michael has a disability and is unable to drive a car. When we heard that, we said we will accompany them for the next ones so that Michael is not stuck in the car and at least he can see the local area. We accompanied them on two occasions to the Catanzaro province. We took the car and had a look around the Centro Storico in Catanzaro whilst Justin was in his appointment. The first time was a bit of a failure, as we took the wrong turn and ended up in the cemetery, by which time Justin was finished his appointment. He was a lot quicker than before. We did have a wander around the cemetery as we were there and none of us had looked around an Italian cemetery before. It was interesting to see the difference between Italian cemeteries and the UK. And Michael comparing it to the US ones. There were all sizes of memorials and mausoleums from grand buildings to a simple cross in the ground.
When Justin came out of the clinic, we visited a town called Soverato. Soverato is a coastal town on the Ionian Sea. Yes, we were on the other side of the toe. It has around 9,000 residents. The coast here has long white sandy beaches which contrasts with Scalea’s grey pebbles. Fascinating to see the difference in the coastline on different seas. We had a walk around the town and had a gelato at a bar on the main pedestrian street. It was an enjoyable thing to do. There were trees decorated by the local school and some animal shelters around a large shrub which looked like it would house local stray cats and dogs. How sweet. Also it has a long walkway along the beach lined with palm trees. A nice holiday town. Definitely worth a visit.
Fortunately, the second time we went to Catanzaro we got it right and actually visited the Centro Storico.
Catanzaro is the capital city of the region of Calabria and it takes just under three hours to get there by car from Scalea (driving carefully of course). There are just over 86,000 residents, so it is a busy city especially when you compare it to Scalea having 11,000. The Centro Storico has far more grand buildings than others we have seen. It was damaged quite a lot during World War two by the Allied forces, but a lot remains. There is a very elaborate building which at the time we did not know what it was, maybe apartments. Later I found out that it is the city’s theatre called Teatro Politeama which was built in 2002 and looking at the events listing, Russell Crowe’s Indoor Garden Party is playing there in June, among other events.
We had a very nice walk and drive around whilst waiting for Justin to finish at the clinic. Unfortunately we could not go into the Basilica dell’Immacolata as it was closed for cleaning but I did manage to get a photo from under the screen.
We also walked around Villa Margherita, named after Queen Margherita who also had the famously named pizza Margherita named after her. Villa Margherita, a public garden, contains buildings and a garden area for locals and visitors to enjoy. It also has great views over the mountains.
Talking of walking, John and I took a walk around the town of Belvedere Marittimo with a lovely gelato. Belvedere is a coastal town just over 30 minutes south of Scalea. There is a Centro Storico high up on a hill. This time, we walked along the coast. We have been there many times before but I hadn’t taken many photos of the ceramics and artwork around the town. We walked around an area we hadn’t been to before. So here are the photos.
Trattoria Il Gallo Bianco – moon gazing
One lunchtime we visited Trattoria Il Gallo Bianco for a meal with our friends Helen and Moira. We had a lovely meal. Afterwards the owners Lorenzo and Angela invited us to return that evening to view the moon through their telescope. Luckily it was a clear sky that night. As we were waiting for the moon to rise, we listened to music, did a bit of Karaoke and had some nibbles. It was great fun. Angela can sing! We then watched the moon rise and looked at it through the telescope. So thanks to them for a lovely night as friends.
Drinks in Praia A Mare
At the beginning of the month there was a lot of rain, we were getting a bit bored of it. When one evening cleared, we decided to walk around Praia A Mare. We walked along the coast on the Lungomare and when we got into the town, the bars were open and looked very inviting. So we took a break from our walk and had an aperitivo at a bar called Sailors. We had Aperol Spritz and a small aperitivo plate. It was nice to just relax and not be at home because of rain.
If you read the post for February 2023, you may remember that due to the wet weather, there was a landslide onto the road below us, making it impassable. This road goes up towards Scalea’s Centro Storico. It is not an overly busy road but it does get used by people wanting to get to the old town and church from the lower level, avoiding driving through the small roads of Centro Storico. Well, on 2nd May one man with a large digger and truck turned up and started removing the debris. It took around two weeks, working every day (not weekends) to clear and move the fallen earth. Unfortunately for him, there was another landslide due to more rain during one night. I can just imagine how he felt that morning when he arrived following that. But he carried on. He had some help one day from another man with a truck. So finally the road is clear.
Unsurprisingly, we were enjoying the quietness of no one using that road. So was strange when we heard cars, bikes and the daily return of the Piaggio Ape using the road again. Not that it is very loud but it is obviously louder than silence.
So that it is for May. Hope you found it interesting. Thank you so much for reading about our lives in Calabria. Hopefully June has a lot less rain, but it is warming up already.