Day 2 Pizzo - Badolato

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.

Fly directly to Calabria from many cities worldwide

Pizzo, old village center in Calabria (photo by S. Crosetto)

Whenever we are suggesting a holiday in Pizzo to our friends I realized how lucky we are in Pizzo (aka Pizzo Calabro or Pizzo di Calabria) being located so close to the international airport of Lamezia Terme (SUF).

Lamezia airport brings thousands of passengers every year to Calabria in Southern Italy from around the world. There are business men among tourist on the daily Alitalia flights from Rome or Milan, but most tourists come with budget airlines which fly directly into Lamezia Terme (SUF) once or twice weekly from allover Europe and even overseas.

I was impressed to find out from how many cities you can fly directly to Calabria, and of course vice versa, to where you can fly directly from Calabria. I am happy to share my list. Check with your airline during which months and which days direct flights are available. (Let me know, if I missed any city or airline).

Direct Flights to Lamezia Terme (SUF) :

Austria Vienna
Austrian Airlines
Belgium Brussels (CRL) Ryanair / Jetairfly
Czech Republic Brno (BRQ)
Prague (PRG)
Ostrava (OSR)
/ Czech Airlines
France Paris Orly (ORY) Easyjet
Germany Berlin Tegel (TXL)
Koeln Bonn (CGN)
Düsseldorf (DUS)
Frankfurt Hahn (HHN)
Hanover (HAJ)
München (MUC)
Stuttgart (STR)
Weeze (NRN)
Airberlin / Alitalia
Airberlin / Eurowings
Airberlin / Lufthansa
Italy Bari
Bologna (BLQ)
Bergamo (BGY)
Milano Malpensa (MXP)
Milano Linate (LIN)
Torino (TRN)
Pisa (PSA)
Roma (FCO)
Venice Treviso (TSF)
Easyjet / Neos
Luxembourg Luxembourg Luxair
Netherlands Amsterdam (AMS) Transavia
Russia Moscow
Spain Barcelona (BCN) Vueling
Sweden Goeteborg
Switzerland Zürich (ZRH) Airberlin / SWISS/Edelweiss / Alitalia
United Kingdom London Stansted (STN) Ryanair
Canada Toronto (YYZ) Airtransat


Pizzo is located just 25 km from Lamezia Terme airport, and can be reached by rented car or taxi in less than 30 minutes drive.

Tropea is located further down the coast, 60 km from the airport and about 1h 15min drive.

The central train station in Lamezia Terme is about 1 km from the International Airport. There is a shuttle bus to the station. Some people with light luggage even walk along the road, but you could also hire a taxi. However, if your destination is Pizzo, we would recommend to take a taxi directly to Pizzo or pre-book a pick-up service (both around 40 Euro one-way to Pizzo). Pizzo is a great place to start to explore la bella Calabria.

At the airport you will find different car rental services. You can pre-book a car online or book one at the airport. If you plan to drive into historic old towns, we recommend to rent a SMALL car as the alleys are very narrow.

Please note, if you plan to just spend a relaxing holiday in centro storico di Pizzo, the old town center, no car is required for your holiday as restaurants, bars, shops, tourist sights and the beach are in walking distance.

Other airports in Southern Italy: Reggio di Calabria, Catania (Sicily) and Naples.


update June 2015:

After daily checking Lamezia airport's website for arrival and departure, I update the list above accordingly. There are surprisingly many more direct flights than initially listed!

update February 2016:

Lufthansa's budget airline Germanwings is rebranding as Eurowings since fall 2015.

Christmas time in Pizzo!

Natale in Pizzo

The photo that Angelo sent me last night is so beautiful that I changed our facebook page cover for the first time to share the Christmas feeling in the South of Italy.

This week the temperatures are from 6 degree (lowest during night) up to 15 degree Celsius during the day. Winter clothes and heating is definitely required as occasional rain and wind make it feel more chilly.

This year's festive illumination (luminarie) in Pizzo is especially beautiful. On December 8, with the fiesta of the "immaculate conception", the day Italians traditionally decorate their homes for Christmas, a procession took place in Pizzo's piazza. I shared a photo and a link on Facebook. Click below and read more about this special day in Italy: 

Pizzo Calabro on Youtube - selected videos

Recently, on a Sunday morning, CC came across a YouTube video about Pizzo. He called us and we all gathered around him and looked at the laptop screen. Amazed, we wanted to go back right away to this humble village on the sea!

Curious what else is about Pizzo Calabro on YouTube, I started a research.

I have to say there are not many professional clips about Pizzo on YouTube, which is typical for Pizzo. It's a humble little city that could do much better regarding "quality tourism", but on the other hand, its simplicity is its charm.

Below, I want to share some clips that I liked. If there are comments, they are in Italian, which sets you in the right mood - even if you don't understand the language.

The first clip is my favorite. It makes me want to go right back. It gives a brief overview of the picturesque historic centre of Pizzo. The large port that you can see from a bird perspective in the beginning of the video shows Vibo Marina, which is about 4 km further South. Since the video is about 4 years old, it does not show the harbor project of Pizzo itself.
Can you identify our palazzo? :

The next clip, also by uomoinmare, takes you on a ride from Punta Safo, south of Vibo Marina to Capo Suvero, North of Lamezzia with short stops in Vibo Marina and Pizzo. You can see the endless "wild" beaches and crystal clear turquoise sea.

The video below about Pizzo produced for Italian TV RAI features the castello and three churches:


And then of course, if you don't know already by now, Pizzo is most famous for its tartuffo ice cream. And here is one of many video's that shows how to the tartuffo is made featuring Franco from Gelateria Ercole:

Pizzo has an amazing number of churches (10!) but the most unusual one is the Chiesa Piedigrotta. See this video by Linea Blu, RAI uno (2006):

And another favorite of mine is this video by Raggio di Sole (a la scoperta del paradise Calabria) that includes an interview with our very charming major Gianluca Callipo. Together they stroll through the alleys of our neighborhood in Quartiere Carmine (pavement under restoration at that time). And if you are patient enough, at minute 16.08 you see our palazzo and my much beloved blaconccino gets a mention. Also our neighbors of the Piccolo Grand Hotel are visited. Produced and aired in Summer 2013:

If you have difficulties seeing the above videos,  click on the YouTube button (below right) of each video and try to see it on YouTube directly... and don't get lost with all the other recommended videos ;-)

Winter in Calabria

Camigliatello in La Sila National Park, Calabria

So far this blog was all about renovating and decorating a Beach House.

Now, we did it. Okay, it still needs some improvements and probably constant re-renovation work - but mainly we are done. And we are really happy with the result.

Strangely, when I saw the latest interior magazine AD during our skiing holidays in Europe, with lots of snow outside, and all these cozy homes and restaurants in the mountains with wooden fires inside ... I started dreaming ...

Sounds crazy, I know. - Shouldn't I focus on our beach house?

But then I remembered, that Calabria has not only 800 km of coast line to offer. Calabria is quiet hilly and has mountains up to 2,000 meters high above sea level. And when it snows, you can ski! Yes, there are a few ski lifts!

The most important "ski resorts" in Calabria are Camigliatello and Villaggio Palumbo in La Sila and Gambarie in Aspromonte. Both mountainous regions are National Parks.
Pizzo --> Sila  app. 120 km and 1,5h drive (via Google Map)

La Sila is about 120 km North of Pizzo and the Aspromonte about 100 km South.  We could reach a ski resort from Pizzo in aobut 1,5 hours drive ! 

From the sea to the mountains in no time. The highest mountain in Sila, Botte Donato (1,928 m) is covered with snow right now. Information about snow levels at Camigliatello via Skiinfo. There are two ski lifts only, but this will do for us when in Calabria in winter!

This is an excellent reason to push forward the installation of a chimney in our beach house. We could drink hot teas and wine in front of the wooden fire after a day skiing up in the mountains. :-)

And I really enjoyed this magazine, especially the featured home of Aerin Lauder in Aspen.

AD German Edition Dec/Jan 2012

Living room of Aerin Lauder's Aspen home

Wishing you all the best for 2012!