Calabria - Italy's Best Kept Secret
Still relatively unknown Calabria is mostly enjoyed by the Italians and visiting descendants returning from far flung shores to the land of their ancestors. Here you’ll find a landscape sheltered by craggy mountains and dotted with atmospheric villages and towns where time seems to have stood still. This is also the ‘toe ‘of Italy that kicks Sicily into sea. Calabria is a charmingly unadorned version of la dolce vita and remains relatively peaceful and unspoilt. Join a Travelsphere escorted tour and discover why the Italians have kept this special secret to themselves.
The great outdoors
Dominated by national parks and inhabited by the wild Apennine wolf, the mountainous centre of Calabria is a natural wonder. In the company of a Travelsphere Local Guide you’ll journey into the glorious surroundings of Sila National Park. Here you can gaze at snow-capped mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls and sparkling streams and breathe in the essence of pine from the surrounding forest clad hills. In the spring you’ll see carpets of wildflowers and in the autumn the park is a treasure trove for wild mushroom hunters.
Surrounded by hundreds of miles of some of Italy’s finest coastline you are sure to find the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sunshine on a Travelsphere escorted holiday. The sparkling Ionian and Tyrrhennian seas that surround Calabria are a stark and beautiful contrast to the dark green forests that cover so much of the region. At the our specially selected 4-star hotel there is direct access to the beach and superb views from the sweeping veranda so all this splendid scenery is right on your doorstep.
Pirates and peperoncino
Chic Diamante is a highlight on a Travelsphere tour. Wander through the colourful streets of the old town where murals created by local artists adorn the walls and step back to another era when this seaside town and the neighbouring small island of Cirella were once the haunt of pirates. Calabria’s famous peperoncino (chilli), the hottest in Southern Italy features in local dishes and a chilli eating competition is held in the town every September. The busy market is the perfect place to buy this local speciality.
A Calabrian cuppa
If you enjoy a cup of refreshing Earl Grey then Calabria is the place for you. This is the only location in the world where bergamot is harvested to produce the essential oil used to flavor this tea blend. Bergamot is extracted from the rind of a dwarf variety of Seville orange and is also used in perfumes and cosmetics.
The Calabrian kitchen
From the soaring mountain ranges to the turquoise blue sea the food of Calabria reflects the wild landscape and no other region of Italy still makes the preparation of food so much a part of daily life. In times gone by it was said that a lady from Calabria was not ready for marriage until she knew how to make fifteen different types of pasta. In the mountain areas the mushroom is king and the highly prized cep is used in a range of dishes. Grilled meats are popular too but vegetable dishes are often the star on the menu; stuffed aubergines and stewed peppers are regional favourites. Tuna and swordfish are also prepared and cooked in many different ways, fried, in soups and rolled and stuffed. Wines of Calabria are typically fruity and your Travelsphere Tour Manager will ensure you and your travelling companions get the opportunity to sample these along with other typical local delicacies amidst the magnificent surroundings of your hotel.