Having received an impromptu invitation, I made my way to Calabria, a region I had never visited. My nearest and dearest know how much I love Italy, so it was an offer I couldn’t resist!

A sunny destination in southwest Italy, known as the toe of the boot, Calabria is famous for its picturesque villages, lovely beaches, and rugged peaks. As you travel through the region, enjoying the pleasures of both sea and mountain, don’t be surprised if you have to stop for a flock of sheep crossing the road.

Obligatory stop on a winding Monterosso road
Turcot Olivier
Nadia Maltais

Monterosso Calabro, the village where my friend lives, sits on a hill between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian seas. It is home to some 1,500 inhabitants, of whom 1,000 are his cousins! The people there are warm, welcoming, and generous; everybody knows each other. There are pretty little cottages, some of which can be rented short-term, so you can get a good feel for the place. The village is only 20 km from the Lamezia Terme International Airport.

The region is called Reggio Calabria, and it’s the perfect place to stroll, take your time, savour a coffee—the Italians make such incredible coffee—or enjoy a riposo, the Italian equivalent of a siesta. Chat with the locals to discover their favourite restaurants and shops.

Bergamot of Reggio Calabria, a citrus fruit slightly bigger than a lemon, with a more powerful scent. Used in perfumery and fine dining.
3 Femmes & 1 Coussin
Frederique Constant
Frederique Constant
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One of Capo Vaticano’s white sand beaches

The breathtaking beaches of Tropea, in an area known as the Coast of the Gods, are a must-see. Rent a parasol to enjoy the beautiful white sand and turquoise water of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

The fishing village of Scilla will charm you with its narrow streets and alleys, and houses built right up to the water. It is famous for its swordfish sandwich. Pizzo Calabro, another fishing village, is where author Alexandre Dumas stayed in the 19th century. In his book about travelling in Calabria, he mentions that the village is where he had the best ice cream he had ever eaten: tartufo di Pizzo. I can confirm that his assessment holds true today!

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The charming fishing village of Scilla
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Narrow street in Pizzo Calabro

Calabrian sunsets are spectacular. Though off the beaten path, Capo Vaticano was worth the trip, offering secluded beaches where we simply had to go swimming.

The city of Reggio, located opposite Sicily, is also wonderful and features a lovely waterfront promenade, attractive shops, and excellent restaurants. We brought home bergamot oil and chili peppers.

Ah, Italy!

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