Southern Italy’s Calabria region offers an abundance of fantastic sights for even the most discerning traveller…
Decided to split the Christmas Festivities in Calabria, Southern Italy post from 2016, as the post is quite long. Also, with WordPress changing to the pesky Gutenberg Block Editor, the formatting in earlier posts is mucked up – annoying – but time to update posts.
Cosenza in Calabria is the base from which to start many exciting and authentic day or longer trips.
Lamezia Terme International Airport is just under an hour’s easy drive away. Two rail stations go through the city and the main bus terminal that services the region is also in Cosenza.
If you are lucky enough to visit Cosenza during the Christmas period, as with many European cities, each year Cosenza adorns many of its streets with a show of gorgeous Christmas lights.
Dotted through the city’s main streets, hidden side lanes, and around the fabulous medieval historic Old Town, Cosenza transforms itself beautifully.
An unusually quiet Corso Mazzini during this evening.
This is usually the place to be seen for locals as they promenade the Corso while stopping and chatting to friends, taking in a café or scrumptious gelato, or strolling through the many shops.
If you find yourself in Calabria and need to travel to Rome, then why not hop on an express train from Paola. This station is from where trains heading north and south leave.
Travelling to Paola many times now, this time of year is very quiet along the waterfront as the icy Tyrrhenian Sea’s winter winds blow in…
After seeking out a safe park for the car in town, stroll up to the Old Town’s gate, which is lovely and adorned with imposing religious statues.
Everything is shut as it’s the middle of the day, which is the way in which most of Italy operates – need to return for a proper look.
The gorgeous Tyrrhenian Sea’s coastline on one side and mountain view vistas on the other graces the drive back to Cosenza.
About a month ago we met a very sweet lady in a favourite Cosenza haunt – Angelo Azzurro café.
Overheard speaking English, which is not common in Cosenza, we received a kind invitation. A visit for lunch at a local’s house in Rogliano on the 28th December. The first of many wonderful visits to Rogliano.
How amazing that a random five-minute conversation with a total stranger finds us catching the train from Cosenza to Rogliano, on somewhat of a mystery tour with our English guests.
Our host picks all four of us up in his little Fiat Panda and off we chug up the long winding road, hugging the steep mountain to Le Manche – a couple of kilometres from Rogliano.
What a lovely way to spend a few hours with locals and their friends – another travelling couple that lives in Australia, but wandering the globe.
Travellers always have so much to talk about and especially over wine, cheese, and excellent Italian delicacies. The simple things in life are the best.
Descending a couple of kilometres down the mountain and back to town, we wander around Rogliano before the train to Cosenza arrived…
…a wonderful afternoon.
A pizza at our fave Pizzeria L’Antica Tavernetta in the Old Town – always excellent and inexpensive – a stroll back to the apartment, movie, and drinks finish off another lovely day in Calabria.
Today a longer drive from Cosenza with our guests from England. Heading south this time along the pretty Calabrian coast and the Tyrrhenian Sea to Tropea.
Besides the beach in Tropea, which hordes of locals congregate in the summer, this town is famous nationally for its red onions.
Sadly, I don’t get to taste any on this day or even see any in the grocery shops as perhaps it’s the wrong time of year. Produce is seasonal in Calabrian and one reason that food tastes so good in this region.
The coastal drive after Lamezia Terme airport is quite special and although the day is somewhat freezing – snowing during our evening’s return trip – Tropea is beautiful.
I can fully understand why locals flock to this seaside town.
The town precariously rests around 30 metres up on a sheer cliff line with the steep drive down to the sea is dramatic, to say the least, especially if you’re not the driver.
Connected to the mainland by a narrow strip and situated on a reef, Tropea lies in the gulf of St. Euphemia.
A passeggiata (stroll) around Tropea is an energetic pleasure but there are always many restaurants, bars, and cafes to stop at for while.
Talk to a local for some insight – don’t be shy – they are very friendly and obliging.
Snow in Cosenza!
About a week after New Year’s Eve, Cosenza became very cold and icy again. So much so that it snowed for several days.
It was cold enough for the snow to stay on the ground for about a week before the rain washed most away. Unusual for Cosenza as typically, the city might see snow for a few hours one day during winter.
Apparently, this 2016 winter is the coldest in 72 years for Cosenza – just my luck!
The snow does little to deter locals from their ritual morning Café…