Aspromonte Park, return to Greek culture!

2.10.2019

There is a Greek Calabria, land of myth, isolated, wild, rural. Hospitable and spiritual. Greek in the landscape, in food, in religious traditions, in craftsmanship, in idioms: between the Aspromonte and the Ionian, many elders still speak the language of Homer!

Old village Gallicianò

Gallicianò, a small village, is entirely Hellenophone. That strip of Calabria (Bovesìa) so close to the Strait is Greek also in the toponymy, but above all in the manifestation of the feeling of “filoxenia”, love for the foreigner, ancestral concept of hospitality, as the Greeks conceived it in antiquity…

THE CALABRIA OF THE “FILOXENÌA”

In the Grecanic area (which preserves deep Byzantine traces), from Pentedattilo to Bova, passing through Amendolea, Gallicianò, Roghudi, Chorìo, Roccaforte, Condofuri, Palizzi, Staiti, Sant’Agata del Bianco, Brancaleone, up to Africo, the stranger is a deity.

And as such it is treated. Do not be surprised, therefore, if you will receive an invitation to lunch from the locals: there is a “lestopitta” (Greek-style unleavened bread), always ready to be filled in every home.

Certainly, some of the residents you meet on the street will guide you to discover the places, telling you stories and legends. It is their welcome.

Landscape of the park: the sea on the horizon

EXPERIENTIAL TOURISM FROM THE ASPROMONTE TO THE IONIAN

The journey has to be prepared carefully, requires a conscious and participatory approach: it is slow, experiential tourism. The local tourist offices provide valuable information.

Ghost Greek Village of Roghudi

It should be noted that the roads within the Aspromonte National Parkthe kingdom of the Sibyl – are impervious, the vertiginous valleys. That from the villages to the coast you go up and down between domes of rocks with slopes of a thousand meters.

A marvelous environment, in an aerial perspective

In the distance, Etna, Stromboli and Vulcano. Lunar landscapes: mulberries and junipers among the gullies. And the most beautiful river in the world: the Amendolea.

Lake Menta

The urban archaeological park of Brancaleone Vetus (“ancient”) looks down on the so called “Valley of Armenians” and its villages.

Cascade of Amendolea

The gaze ranges from new Africo to the marina of Bruzzano, on bergamot plantations, on ancient vines and ancient olive trees.

The native goats, balanced on the steep walls of the mountains, among small groups of abandoned houses, have a prehistoric beauty.

Brancaleone Vetus

THE SEA OF CORRADO ALVARO

The sea there is like you’ve never seen it before. Needless to say that it is Caribbean: in the Greek navies of Calabria “the deserted sea lays like a child’s painting on the arc-shaped, white and solitary coast“, wrote Corrado Alvaro, a famous writer native of San Luca.

Corrado Alvaro

On the sandy beach, from Melito to Brancaleone, it will be easy to follow the turtle hatching: the environmentalists of the Caretta turtle Calabria Conservation association will guide you in the exploration.

This way your journey in Calabria will become also a real experience of the richness of sea and a chance to learn new things.

THE MUSEUM OF THE CALABRIAN GREEK

The museum of the Greek-Calabrian language of Bova named after the German linguist Gerhard Rohlfs.

Pentedattilo ghost village

He was the first to support the  origin from Magna Graecia of the spoken language still living in the Hellenophonic villages and in the most inaccessible slopes of the southern Aspromonte.

The Greek Calabria is “like a relic” of 2500 years ago.

Africo Ruins in the Grecanic area

Local Shepherds are as repositories of secrets and ancient knowledge. For example, the music and the tarantellas “remember the sacred dances of the Greeks”.

This is the reason why the village of Pentedattilo was recovered (this is a few houses perched on a rock that stands out like a giant hand)…You will discover that its name is the same greek word for a hand with five fingers!

House in the stones

Now Pentadattilo backs to life thanks to the commitment of the Pro Pentedattilo association.

Now there is a bar, shops, a hostel and a popular hotel. Every year the Pentedattilo film fest brings international cinema operators to the scene. And many fans: usually from 26 to 31 August.

Etna volcano, a sight of Sicily from Aspromonte

WHERE STAY / LOCAL ARTISANS

You sleep in characteristic B&Bs or in hotel houses. Hospitality is often managed by local cooperatives.

Cascade of Maesano

The flavors of the kitchen awaken pastoral memories (such as “maccheruni” with goat sauce). Only in Bova it is possible to choose between seven restaurants. The ricotta is served almost hot, just made. Organic is a fact.

Greek-speaking village of Bova

The wooden or terracotta souvenirs are of fine craftsmanship, from the “pinakes“, the votive tablets that the Greeks printed in honor of Demetra, to the “musulupare“, carved wooden containers, with anthropomorphic forms, to shape the cheese.

Quiet Nature in Aspromonte

Artisans made them in Melito, near Condofuri.

Seafront of Melito

Along with collars for goats, bagpipes and old tools that are real pieces of art. Other local artists create delicious Greek madonnas with cherry, olive, medlar and chestnut branches.

The mysterious monolith “Pietra Cappa”

The ceramists elaborate Greekism in a contemporary key.

Reggio Calabria

In their workshops on the outskirts of Reggio Calabria they mold enchanting artifacts that tell stories and myths of the Grecanic area.

Castle Ruffo, near Amendolea and Condofuri

As the “fuitina d’u previte”: a love escape of a priest with a woman of Bova.

The designers in their small workshops in Delianuova (on the slopes of Aspromonte) realizes bijoux for high fashion with what nature offers: berries, leaves, pine cones, woods sea urchins, shells, starfish. Also citrus fruits, vine shoots, crystallized bread, hemp and hard stones. Land and sea become catwalk jewelry.

Delianuova in the Winter

2019 Vintage: healthy grapes everywhere in Calabria

11.8.2019

In Calabria in 2019 has begun the harvest of some varieties of white grapes

Based on the first data collected, in the entire region, the first photograph of the Vigneto Calabria records healthy grapes everywhere, a good amount even if slightly lower than the 2018 harvest but higher than 2017 and in any case in the disciplinary parameters and with an optimal sugar level.

THE FEAST OF WINE-MAKING

As said, the harvest of white grapes began for the production of sparkling wines and aromatic whites.

In fact, at the request of Coldiretti, the Calabria Region, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Resources with Executive Decree No. 8987 of 25/07/2019 has set forth advanced harvest operations to 25 July 2019 , due to the effects of the climatic trend that led to an early maturation of some varieties of white grapes (Chardonnay, Sauvignon B, Traminer Aromatico and Manzoni Bianco) on the territory of the Calabria Region.

Calabrian Vineyard

Therefore it is already a feast in the vineyards and cellars and the previous slight delay that occurred in the maturation of the grapes, has gradually been canceled.

After suffering the precipitations and the low temperatures of April and May, these days Calabria is dealing with high temperatures – the Coldiretti experts point out – and this obliges the winemakers to keep the situation under control for the black grapes, avoiding the risk of infections during the vegetative phase.

A GROWING SECTOR

Those “beautiful grapes“ are what the winemakers are defending well, demonstrating their professionalism, so that it is concrete the possibility of meeting a wine year more than satisfactory and a record for quality.

From the “Calabrian Vineyard” job opportunities for 13 thousand people are born directly engaged in fields, wineries and commercial distribution, but also in related and service activities, for a turnover that rose in 2018 to about 100 million, thanks to growth in value of exports and quality consumption that Calabrese wine now ensures.

A feast for Calabria

The wine army – points out Coldiretti – ranges from winegrowers to wineries and commercial distribution, but also to related activities that have spread to the most diverse areas: from the glass industry to the cork industry. Further, many sub-sectors are growing: transport, insurance, accessories (such as corkscrews and various gadgets), packaging, research, training to dissemination, wine tourism, cosmetics, wellness market, publishing, advertising, software programs, and bioenergy obtained from residues of pruning and by-products of winemaking (lees, marc and stalks).