Italy's Best Kept Secret, Discovering The Region of Calabria
One of Italy's best kept secrets, nestled in the 'toe' of Italy's boot is without a doubt the region of Calabria. While it is well-known for being the poorest region in Italy, rife with corruption and widespread infrastrature problems, it also is home to some truly spectacular gems. Some of the best beaches in the world are located here, along with a precocious, sweet red onion and 'nduja' that highlights much of the wonderful, flavorful local cuisine. Caper bushes, prickly pears and beautiful sea views pepper the landscape.
On a hunt to see all of Italy, in an attempt to escape my personal bubble in Tuscany, we decided to make our annual summer holiday in the south. Landing in Crotone (which is one of the lesser-visited areas of the regio) we embarked on a road trip along the Ionian sea (which stretches to Greece) to the area surrounding prettiest town on Calabria's Tyrrhenian coast, Tropea.
What we found were 16th century fortresses, battled over by centuries of conflict trespassing cultures which still influence the region today -- think 'Magna Graecia', along with crystal-clear turqoise water on beautiful sand beaches. In the evenings, we embarked on the local art of the 'passeggiata' joining locals along the windy, crumbling roads of Tropea, as the hot summer heat gave way to a pleasant, relaxed summer vibe.