Welcome to August 2023. This month we spend an evening in San Nicola Arcella tasting gelato, watching a concert and having a lovely meal. We also visit a town called Amantea and see our friend in Papasidero.
If this is your first visit, thanks for taking an interest. My name is Michelle and my husband John and I moved to Scalea in December 2018 from the UK. This is our monthly story of our lives here starting from May 2018. If you are interested in how we got here. Check out the archive.
San Nicola Arcella
We revisited the lovely town of San Nicola Arcella for various reasons. We visited our friend’s gelateria La Contessa. I mentioned it last month but we had not been yet. We eventually did go and we were so glad we did. The gelato is just beautiful. I had the dark chocolate with rum (fondente con rhum) John had the cherry one called Soleica. Both were very tasty and creamy. We will return.
We booked tickets to see a show at Caffe Mele in San Nicola Arcella for one evening along with our friend Moira. The show was listed to start at 10.30pm and we knew it would be extremely busy in the town, so we decided to go early, get a parking space, have a meal. We parked at the large carpark just before the main part of town and walked the rest of the way as it looked busy already. We were glad we did as the parking space were already taken.
We had our meal at a restaurant called Il Casale. We had seen it many times when we wandered around San Nicola and always said we will try one. We thought this was the perfect time to try. We entered the restaurant from the pedestrian walkway side. From there all you see is a doorway and a sign with no clue what it is like inside. So we walked through the door into a very small space and then through to the outside terrace. You can also enter from the carpark side where the outside terrace is located. The seating is outside but under cover. It was a little confusing at first as they said they didn’t have our reservation, but we got our table. The location of our table had great views of the coastline from San Nicola Arcella towards Praia A Mare and beyond. As all the seating is outside, it is only open from June to September. The three of us had the same things to eat, we started with antipasti with local produce followed by beautiful pasta with red prawns. All washed down with tasty local white wine. We all agreed it was extremely good.
Jazz night at Caffè Mele
There is a bar called Caffè Mele in San Nicola Arcella, if you follow this blog, you may have seen that we watched a Queen tribute act a couple of years ago which was held in the bar’s garden and it was very good. Every summer the bar holds various live music acts. This year was no exception. The act we chose for this year was called Elisa Brown and The Blue Train, for no other reason than we liked the name. This time the seats were inside the bar itself, so a cosier affair. Advanced tickets were 15 euros each along with the first drink with snacks crisps and nuts.
The music was great, there was a mixture of soul, blues and jazz with many of the songs in English. The owner Christian joined the band on stage and played his trumpet which he hadn’t done properly for a while apparently, he was very good. He also dedicated a tune to a lost friend. It was lovely to see. Cannot wait for next summer.
Visit to Amantea
One day Justin and Michael invited us to join them on a daytrip to a town called Amantea. Amantea is around one and half hours south of Scalea, the population is slightly larger than Scalea. John and I visited it very quickly when we were searching for properties in 2018, but we hadn’t returned since. So it was good to refresh our memories, not that we remembered much about it.
Like Scalea, it has a Centro Storico on a hill with a castle, but what is different is that the town itself is split on two levels. We all had a walk around the lower part which is lovely quite old nice-looking buildings. After a while Justin and I had a walk up the many steps to the upper part while John and Michael had a drink at a bar on the lower level. It was a very hot day (of course, it is August) so we were very hot and bothered by the time we reached the top. Thankfully, the first place we saw was a bar and gelateria called Sicoli, which has been there since 1937. We ordered spritz and granitas as we needed to cool down. They felt like were the best granitas ever. Instant cooling.
When arrived at the top, we saw there was a road so we now know that it is possible to actually drive up there without getting too hot. After resting for a while and taking photos and videos. We strolled back down to John and Michael who found a lovely bar and they were drinking their own spritz. After a little while, we walked to the main reason we were there, a Latin American style restaurant. Yes, Justin and Michael were missing Mexican style food and was told about Caracas Bistro 25 in Amantea. It officially is a Venezuelan style restaurant that does burritos, tacos, nachos, empanaditas and burgers. It was lovely food and the staff were great. I was expecting the food to have chilli heat but I guess they have tailored to the Italian taste. I suppose you can ask for chilli or a sauce if you want it to be hot.
If you are in Amantea and you are curious about the menu, here it is https://menu.whatsender.it/ristorante/caracasbistro25
After the meal we had a wander around the town and had a gelato, well Michael and I did. The bar/gelateria called Caruso has been there since 1933 four years longer than Sicoli at the top. Amazing! And so was the gelato.
Visit to Papasidero river and San Rocco Festival
Like last year we visited Giovanni in Papasidero as he spends August there having a break from where he lives and works in Naples. For the first visit we took our friends from the UK Trevor and Victoria to meet up with him to see the lido on the river Lao there. There were more people there compared to our previous visits. But Giovanni said that visitor numbers are down this year for Papasidero which is a shame as it is a beautiful place to visit in the summer. There’s rafting, the river is so lovely to place your feet in to cool down or you can walk along in the river (river trekking) and see the amazing waterfall. There’s the Romito Cave nearby which has evidence of early humans from 17,000 years ago (We have yet to visit but we will). The countryside is stunning, so for a different holiday maybe try the countryside of Calabria or at least have a day or two away from the beach. Start with Papasidero.
On the 20th August it was the festival of San Rocco the patron saint of Papasidero. Like last year we went to see the event. Unfortunately the rain was bad during the day, so we thought we couldn’t get there but luckily, it cleared later in the day. Unfortunately, we missed most of the procession but we caught the end. We also saw the fireworks, had panini and beer at the bar and enjoyed the entertainment.
What is it like in Scalea in August?
Scalea is very busy in August, especially the weeks around the 15th, which is the main holiday of Ferragosto. Driving anywhere and going to the supermarkets is a long process. All are very busy. Scalea has lots of holiday homes that are empty most of the year but a lot fill up every July and August.
For most of the year where we live, there are very few people around. In July and August pretty much every apartment is full. They are either filled with the owners (mainly Italian) or people renting them from the owners who are mainly international. So the noise levels increase during those months. Then by the end of August it is all quite again.
This August was hot as usual. We didn’t get the daily rainstorm like we did last year, although it did rain a few times. Hot dry summers seem to always mean that wildfires happen unfortunately. This is sad to see. The mountain that we can see from our terrace was on fire late one afternoon.
We had Trevor, Victoria and family over to ours for lunch. We actually catered for nine people with two having something different because of their requirements. That is fun. Anyway, they saw the fire when it got dark it looked dramatic and seemed closer than it was. But we informed them that it was OK and there is very little risk to us on our terrace as it was farther than it looked.
Unfortunately it was too late for any of the air firefighting crew to come out as it was getting dark. So it was left to burn overnight. When we woke up the next morning a Canadair plane was in full flight dropping seawater on to the fire. The mountain is no longer a parched brown from the sun, it is now a burnt grey. But it will come back lush green in the spring, as long as it rains.
August is also a birthday celebration month for me and Trevor. Trevor had his celebration at his place. Our friend and his neighbour Tony N cooked us all amazing barbeque food. It was great to catch up with everyone there. For mine, we went to Trattoria Il Gallo Bianco for lunch and had the amazing food. Unfortunately, neither me nor John took any photos. I guess we were too busy having a lovely time. Both were great celebrations, so thanks everyone.
At the end of August there was a Super Blue Moon. I don’t have the eqipment to take an amazing shot so here is one taken with my phone. over Scalea. I was a beautiful sight to see.
So that is August 2023. Thanks so much for taking an interest in our life in Scalea. I wonder what September will be like, definitely quieter.