Calabria is undeniably a poor part of Italy. I had a conversation with the owner of the hotel where I stayed in Amatea and he explained the disproportionate distribution of wealth. Seemingly the powers that be are reluctant to spend any money on infrastructure in the south, so the potential tourist euro stays away. There I was, the soul occupant of a 40 bedroom hotel, in glorious weather and overlooking a sea of beaten bronze. He told me that only because it was a family run business could they afford to carry on. Many young people have to move north for work. With a tourist industry they would have almost year round employment, paying taxes back to the government. It took me the best part of an hour to ride around Lamezia Terme international airport, and not one plane of any size took off or landed. That’s my rant finished.
Back in the Winter months when I was planning this venture, I became slightly obsessed with a place called Tropea on the north coast of the foot of Italy. It looked beautiful, and having finally made it I can confirm that it is. Strange to actually be here at last.
This town is seemingly the exception to the rule. It has embraced visitors and appears to be doing well. Most tourists must either drive ( or cycle ) here.
I will make no excuses, this post is really just an excuse to indulge in yet more pretty pictures. If you’re bored with them, I’ll find some gritty, hard reality subjects in Sicily to redress the balance. Mafia drive- by shootings maybe.
I’m writing this in a traffic-free street of ancient buildings. People perambulate to the end which finishes with railings and a precipitous drop to the beach far below, then they come back again. It’s a very Italian thing to do. I have to say that most have far better clothing than I.They must be wondering which cat dragged me in.
The soil in these parts looks very rich and fertile, with a variety of salad crops planted out ( in October! ), but the vegetable most famous in Tropea is the small red onion. Captain Antonio holds some up for inspection.
I had some in a salad last night and they are very sweet and juicy. Being Italy of course, they decided to put them into gelato, which sounds awful, but is in fact delicious. I wouldn’t try this at home with a large white Spanish onion though!