If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the toe of the Italian boot, the Calabria region on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea. You’ll find excellent tourist attractions, and you won’t fight the crowds, but you may have to fight hot, hot summers. Calabria is part of the real, traditional Italy. This article examines tourist attractions in northern Calabria. Be sure to read our companion article on southern Calabria.
Diamante is a beautiful fishing village of about five thousand on a protective rock along the western Tyrrhenian coast. Unlike so much of southern Italy, its climate is sunny and yet mild. It’s quite an artist colony, boasting plenty of narrow streets and alleys, and mural-covered walls. In late summer the clotheslines are strung with red-hot chili peppers. In early September the Festival de Peperoncini honors them in “The South’s Carnival”, which attracts one hundred thousand visitors.
Would you believe that there’s lots of good skiing in southern Italy? The Sila is a vast forested kilometer high plateau in the Calabrian interior. This is the largest such formation in all Europe. It is split into three parts and forms the Parco Nazionale della Calabria (Calabria National Park) whose largest section is east of Consenza.
Cosenza’s population is about seventy thousand but the nearby University adds a lot more. The area was home to the legendary Visigoth King Alaric who captured Rome in the year 410. Shortly afterwards he died and his treasure, said to be buried in the river has never been found. Cosenza has been called the Athens of Calabria. Enjoy its Castello Svevos virtually destroyed by earthquakes and lightning. Of course there is a Cathedral and several churches to visit. The new city’s open-air museum includes Saint George and the Dragon by Salvador Dalì.
Cerchiara di Calabria is a town of about three thousand located on the eastern coast of the Ionian Sea. This site has been inhabited since the days of the Ancient Greeks. Don’t miss the Tenth Century Sanctuary of S. Maria delle Armi and its historic pilgrim hospice. The streets are cobblestone, the view is stupendous, and I’m told that the La Locanda di Alia restaurant is out of this world, if you watch the spices.
Castrovillari is the last stop in our tour of northern Calabria. Its population is about twenty two thousand. There is a historic synagogue, a Spanish castle, and a Sixteenth Century Church. Castrovillari is a gateway to the national park mentioned above. But its major attraction is the La Locanda di Alia restaurant.
What about food? The Sila mountain range is famous for its mushrooms, especially porcini and truffles, and Caciocavallo Silano cheese. As good as that sounds, I think I’d like the wild boar even better.
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.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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