By Rick Coroniti


I have been asked,….. What is there to see in Calabria

I hear this same question before every trip. Sometimes it comes from a new Calabrese of America member who honestly does not know much about Calabria. Other times it comes from a “seasoned” traveler who wants to know how it compares with his/her previous travels throughout the other regions of Italy.

Calabria does not have the many tourist attractions for which Italy is so famous. You won’t see a “David” or a “Ponte Vecchio” or a “Basilica” or a “Pisa” or any of the other pictures that are imprinted on the pizza box from your local pizzeria. Don’t get me wrong, you can go to Reggio Calabria and see the “Bronzes”, some old bridges, churches, castles, some “leaning” towers and walls left standing from the last earthquake, but as far as known tourist attractions, Calabria does not compare with the rest of doesn’t need to. Why? Because Calabria has something else that the other areas lack .....true beauty.

I find it amusing to see the change in some of our “seasoned” travelers who approach our trip to Calabria with a bit of a chip on their shoulders and a “show me” attitude. After their 3rd day or so in Calabria, you can see their body language change as they become taken in with the sites and reality of Calabria. The water and air are clean, the vistas are something else, and the people are warm and friendly. By the end of the trip, these same doubters have distanced themselves from Italy, because they are no longer Italian.....they are Calabrian!

When you are in your ancestral village walking down the narrow street that your great-grandparents played on or traversed to get to work in the fields, or when you walk into the small 200 year old church where your grandparents were married,… hits you. The trendy shops and massive cathedrals of the North are not that important. You begin to appreciate what these people had to endure in order to get through life. When you see roads hanging out over the edge of a marvel at their engineering skills. When you consider the crude tools that they had to work with,.....You wonder how they could have built their churches and endless tunnels through mountains. Also, it is quite an experience to have strangers come up to you on the street, and since your surname came from the same village as theirs, you end up in their home eating for the next three hours.

All I can say is that if you are in a position to travel to Calabria, take advantage of it;.....because it is not so much about what you will see while you are there, it is more about what you will feel afterwards.

"The above essay has appeared previously in the C'era Una Volta magazine"