So you have decided to go to Calabria, the tip of the Italian boot. There’s lots to see; this is a traditional area of Italy with fishing villages such as Diamante on the western Tyrrhenian coast. But it’s a fishing village with a difference; Diamante is quite the artist colony. If you are there in late summer you’ll see clotheslines with red-hot chili peppers called peperoncini that are hung out to dry. In early September the village hosts a Festival de Peperoncini, called “The South’s Carnival” that attracts one hundred thousand visitors. The calendar of festivals is too long to reproduce here.
You can ski in the Sila, a vast forested kilometer high plateau in the Calabrian interior. Reggio di Calabria is home to Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia (The National Museum of Greater Greece), a major archeological museum. The old city has Greek walls and Roman baths. And the Falcomatà promenade by the sea has been called the most beautiful kilometer in Italy. Their best gelateria, Tonino in the Corso, makes a red onion ice cream (as well as others based on squid ink and nduja, the local spicy salami). Somehow I think I’ll pass.
Calabria wine is mostly potential; for the present the agricultural accent is on citrus and olive groves. The best-known wine is Cirò, produced near the city of that name on the coast of the Ionian Sea. This wine may be red, white, or rosé; the red and rosé come from Calabria’s signature Gaglioppo grape. Other popular red varieties include the local Magliocco, Aglianico the pride of the neighboring region Basilicata, and the international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. White varieties include the local Greco, and the almost ubiquitous Trebbiano (Toscano), Malvasia (Bianca), and Chardonnay.
Companies selling wine tours of Calabria include Delicious Italy, Calabria International Tours, and Wine Tour Italia. Calabria wineries that accept visits include Lento in Lamezia Terme, Statti also in Lamezia Terme, Azienda Vinicola Francesco in Ciro Marina, and Vintripodi Cantine in Archi di Reggio Calabria. A few words of warning are in order. Make sure that you check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some places may charge admission; others may expect you to buy some of their products.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.
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Wine tours, wine vacations, wine holidays in Calabria, Italy