Sundays are still Sundays in Italy. Shops are closed, people go to church, families meet for lunch or do a 'passegata' together. So do we.
That Sunday we decided to meet at 11 am at the bar in piazza, Angelo would drive by, we hop in the car and off we go. On my wish list was Badolato - ever since I came across 'bleeding espresso' and Michele's stories about her alternative life in a medieval Calabrian village.
Angelo said, they would know a 'trattoria typica' and - because during their last trip to Badolato not a single table had been available during lunch - he would book a table.
We drove across the Calabrian hinterland and along the coast of Soverato. After about 1 1/2 h drive from Pizzo, we reached Badolato. The medieval village, famous for being abandoned (the village was "on sale" in the 80 ies to attract new residents) is nestled on top of a green hill, out of reach from any conquerors landing on the Ionian Coast.
We drove around a curve, and there it was. A breathtaking sleeping beauty. I think, I had tears in my eyes, so overwhelming is Badolato's appearance and its church Immaculata, a stairways below the village.
We arrived a bit too early for lunch and strolled around the narrow alleys. There have been some significant renovations. Foreigners, sometimes returning younger generations and Italians from other regions have invested here and made this village their home.
We had a nice family lunch at 'Le Botte'. I said to Angelo, it would have not been necessary to book the entire restaurant for us - as we were the only customers on that Sunday after Easter.
It was a beautiful day. And we bought the Badolato guide from Franco, the photographer from Genova who calls Badolato his home for many years. His photos of the 'Settimana Santa' are showing impressive processions in traditional costumes in this medieval setting before and during Easter. This would be definitely a great time of the year to visit this magical village. But when in Calabria, any time is good to stop here for a couple of hours. We learned that Badolato counts 12 churches its own - two more than Pizzo!
On our way back home we had initially thought of stopping in Soverato. But then decided to keep that sea side town for another day.