Welcome to June. This time we visit friends in another part of Calabria and also a friend from the UK visits us. We visit a Calabrian castle and the weather starts to heat up for summer. If you are a first-time visitor to this blog, welcome and check out the archive on how John and I came to live in Scalea, Calabria. To everyone, thanks for reading, hope you enjoy reading about what happened in June.
Visit to the Castle of Corigliano Calabro
June kicked off with a visit to our friends Roy and Lissa. They have a home in the small village of Guglielmo which is around 2 hours from Scalea. It was our first overnight stay since before Covid, so it has been a while since we left Scalea. Thank you to Moira for feeding our cat Freddie whilst we were away. Guglielmo is near a small town called San Giorgio Albanese and is a short 30-minute drive from the beautiful white beaches of the Ionian Sea. The larger towns of Acri and Corigliano Calabro are nearby for more amenities.
I have made a walking tour of San Giorgio Albanese, find it here .
During our time there, we visited Corigliano Calabro and its castle. Roy and Lissa have been to the town before and have seen the castle but have never been inside. So it was perfect for us to all explore it together and see what it is like.
Il Castello Ducale di Corigliano Calabro (in English the Ducal Castle of Corigliano Calabro) is situated on the very top of Centro Storico in Corigliano Calabro. There is a carpark near the castle but we took a leisurely walk from the church at the bottom of the town and had a chance to see the Centro Storico slowly on foot.
There is evidence of the castle structure from the 11th century and it was first renovated in 1490 and it has been added to and renovated over time.
It is fully restored now and is a stunning place to explore. Also, the views from the top are magnificent. Luckily, we had a sunny day which obviously helped.
The first part we saw was the prison area in the dark lower section of the castle going up to the kitchens and then the opulent rooms in the upper part. Additionally, you can ascend to the battlements up a spiral staircase, although the uppermost level was closed when we were there. From the castle there is a fantastic view of the church of Sant’Antonio and surrounding area.
Not only can you visit the castle, but it also holds events like wedding receptions and conferences. It would make an amazing venue as the rooms are impressive and beautifully restored.
The castle is open all year round from Tuesday to Sunday, closed during lunch time and has an entrance fee of 5 euros. I think it is a very good price to see this historic site. See their website for further information. http://www.castellodicoriglianocalabro.it
After visiting the castle, we went into the lovely church of Sant’Antonio which was built in around 1459 and is located just outside the town centre. It has a neo classical façade with a large blue dome. There is also a convent attached. Inside, it is quite colourful with statues of Jesus, Mary, Saint Pio and St George. There is a grand organ along with intricate plasterwork and paintings on the walls and ceiling. An impressive building.
It was a wonderful two days and Roy and Lissa were amazing hosts. We had a comfortable bed, great food and amazing company. So thank you both!
Weather Hotting Up
June was when the Italian summer came. But it did wait until near the end. It started rainy in the mid-20s°C (mid 70s°F) and ended up hot and dry in the mid-30s°C (mid 90s°F) with the odd storm now and again, so sometimes quite humid too.
For me, it is still a shock when the thermometer reaches the mid-30s. I have acclimatised a little but over the mid-30s is still hot for me. Although, we are not using our ceiling fan as much as previous years but July and August are usually the hottest months, so I am sure that will change.
Visit from a Friend
This time it was us being the hosts. Our friend Evan from the UK came to stay with us for a few days, as he has done every year since we moved here, which is lovely. Sadly this time, his partner Dee could not come with him as she was helping a friend, which was very kind of her. We mainly stayed in and around Scalea but we did venture a little further afield, but not too far as our car developed a fault. It suddenly lost power then it returned again. This made any journey very jumpy. As it is only a few minutes away, we drove to Praia A Mare and walked around the lungomare towards the Fiuzzi tower and stopped for a drink at a lido there and then later we walked down the promenade in the town centre and had drinks and snacks at a bar there.
When we returned to Scalea we fancied a gelato. So we stopped at Il Gelato in Piazza Caloprese and had a gelato in a glass cup. It was needed! It was a hot day. So hot that when we started walking around Centro Storico, we only made it to Piazza de Palma Maggiore as we felt it was too hot to carry on. So off home we went and sat on our terrace with drinks. It was the first day this year John and I felt really hot, so Evan brought the summer with him ha-ha. He told us that we have a great view from our terrace so there’s really no need to go anywhere else.
On his final full day, we did take the train to visit Sapri. Sapri is only 30 minutes by train and small enough to wander around for half a day. It was nice to show him. Whilst we were looking around, we came across the controversial bronze statue of the Spigolatrice of Sapri on the lungomare. The statue was revealed in September 2021 depicting a woman with her back to the sea and the wind blowing her dress against the back of her. She is from a poem written by Luigi Mercantini in 1857 telling the story of a female land labourer leaving her place of work to join the revolution against the Kingdom of Naples.
It is a great piece of art but her bottom shows through the “material”. Therefore some stated it was sexist. It is still very shiny compared to the rest of her, so it must be touched a lot.
Anyway, we had a tasty lunch at the place John and I had lunch before, the restaurant Tintobrace on Corso Italia. John and I have enjoyed the food there on both occasions we have been. Evan said he loved his meal too. Then we wandered back to the train station to return to Scalea. We had a quiet evening as Evan had to get the train to Naples for his flight home early the next morning.
Thanks for coming Evan, it was great to see you. Dee, we missed you!
John and I decided to get food for a little picnic on one of the sunny days and have a wander around the beach side of Diamante. The water was so clear, it was amazing. We walked along the pavement along the beach and then toward the town. I think we ventured onto a part that is not open to the public as the pavement tiles was broken up and we saw workmen further along, so we decided it would be best to walk back. It was below the main lungomare above where all the shops and bars are. We thought it was very pleasant walking along the sea at the sea level but it does need a lot of work for it be safe for public use. I hope it will be restored some time soon, but I am not holding my breath as things take time in Calabria.
It is getting busy!
June is the time when Scalea starts to get busy with tourists. It is mainly international, but also Italians during weekends and Republic Day was on a Friday this year, so why not come to the beach for a long weekend. But as I said, the beginning of June didn’t have the best weather, but tourist still came. By the end of June more people were here, we could see more traffic on the roads and bars and restaurants were a little busier and umbrellas started to appear on the beach lidos.
Reconstruction of old buildings seen from our terrace
One of the many good things of living opposite Centro Storico (Historic Centre) is that we can see the renovations of the old ruins. One building is virtually complete and I have taken a few progress shots during the past six months.
This one at the very bottom of the town has changed dramatically. I seem to remember someone said it will be a bed and breakfast hotel, but I am not sure. But it will be lovely when it is fully complete no matter what it will become.
Also, directly opposite us, work has started on a large ruin. It is still very early days of reconstruction, but it will be fascinating to see develop over the months. So watch this space.
So that was our June, I hope you enjoyed.
Hopefully you will return to for the next one.