Traveling To Calabria And Staying At Residenze Cassoli In Lamezia Terme

aerial view
Aerial view of Calabria’s Tyrrhenian Coast

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Calabria to visit some friends. I hadn’t been there for quite a while but during my childhood and teenage years I would spend long periods of time in this beautiful region of Southern Italy, especially in the summertime, because my father is a native of Calabria and my maternal grandparents are from the region as well ( they all emigrated to Milan when they were young).

I traveled by plane to Lamezia Terme, a city on the Tyrrhenian coast that is home to the region’s main international airport. If you enjoy flying as I do, the flight to Lamezia is an experience in itself; on a clear day you get amazing views of the coast and it almost feels like landing on the water, as the airport is very close to the seaside.

While most of my family comes from the Northern part of Calabria (mainly from the province of Cosenza), I spent a few days in Lamezia Terme to visit a dear friend of mine who was born and raised there and we had not seen each other for years.

Lamezia Terme is an Italian city in the province of Catanzaro. The municipality of Lamezia has a large territory that includes the former municipalities of Nicastro, Sambiase and Sant’Eufemia Lamezia. The origins of Nicastro, which is now considered the center of the city, trace back to the 9th century, when Calabria was part of the Byzantine Empire; this brought to the creation of a fortress called Neo Castrum (“New Castle”); it was built by the Normans and enlarged by Emperor Frederick II, but it was destroyed after an earthquake in 1638.

Once home to the thermal baths, the area of Sambiase became an exporter of farm products in the 7th century, when Byzantine monks were teaching the farmers to read and write. They also built numerous monasteries and churches, and five of them still exist to this day. Sambiase was a very important place for the economy, since it was exporting its own products (mainly olives, grapes and wheat) to the whole Byzantine Empire and it was allied with other major Byzantine cities like Taranto and Naples.

Sant’Eufemia Lamezia, where the international airport is located (some of you travelers may have noticed that the airport code SUF stands for Sant’Eufemia), is the most ancient part of the city. The territory of the municipality of Lamezia, near Gizzeria Lido, is home to the bastion of the Knights of Malta, called so because it was assigned to the Knights of Malta, who owned a fiefdom in the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia. Along with Nocera and Gizzeria, Sant’Eufemia is still devoted today to the figure of St. John the Baptist, protector of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

When in Lamezia, I stayed in the area of Nicastro, right in the city centre, at a beautiful facility located less than a minute from the main street, home to various boutiques and commercial activities; the location is pretty great because it allows you to move around on foot and in the evening you can easily reach bars and restaurants for dinner or an aperitif.


Calabria – Sunset Reflections

There is nothing more musical than a sunset – Debussy

It’s been exactly ten years since I took this photo. I remember it vividly; the sun setting on the Tyrrhenian coast, the warm colors, the beauty of Southern Italy at dusk.

I published the photo on Flickr about two years ago, when I opened my profile, and it received a lot of praise from the users (this was also probably due to the fact that it was my first photo on the Explore page), as I kept registering it for competitions on the website.

It often ended up on the podium and last week it won the “Sunsets by the Sea” contest, so I decided to use it for the opening of this blog.

I think it conveys a lot; it was one of the first pictures I took with my old Reflex (Canon 1000D), which I was bringing with me everywhere around that time, and even though I have been into photography since I was in primary school (starting out with Kodak’s disposable cameras), it’s when I started learning more about it, mostly as an autodidact.

“Italian Sunset – Calabria” (this is how I named it on Flickr) represents my origins; I was born in Milan from a Calabrian father and my maternal grandparents are also from this Italian region. During my childhood years I used to spend lots of summers in Guardia Piemontese Marina, a little coastal town, and I have the most wonderful memories of my time there with my beloved grandparents.

I wish to go back to the South and explore different cities, the most touristic ones, which I haven’t seen yet (maybe we are so focused on traveling, getting to know exotic places around the world, that we forget the places closest to us that are worth discovering, too); Scilla, Tropea, Capo Vaticano and others are on my list and I will surely keep you updated. I may create a local guide with the must-see places in Calabria.

I highly recommend you visit Southern Italy and Calabria in particular, as it is one of the most fascinating Italian regions. Natural places, historical sites and the local food (so delicious!) will surely make your trip beautiful and exciting!