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 / Germanwings
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 / Edelweiss Air
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!

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!

I thought this is funny: Palazzo Pizzo Team on skiing holiday

the interior, finance and construction team of Palazzo Pizzo (from left)

We took a week off and met in Switzerland for a skiing holiday with family and friends. In this picture above you see from left: me, myself, my husband CC and his father Angelo, our major help at Palazzo Pizzo.

I thought it is a very funny picture, not only because we were all wearing helmets, like construction workers, but also you can tell who is in love with GREEN bathrooms, who's idea was the RED bathroom and who painted the entrance hall in APRICOT. Can you ?!

And if you ever happen to go to Klosters, don't miss the Berghaus Alpenroesli, it is such a beautiful and romantic spot for lunch or dinner:

two pictures above via Alpenroesli

However, now we are all back at work. Angelo drove down to Pizzo and I am awaiting updates soon. I will keep you posted, a presto.

Sicilian traditional tiles as main design theme for new contemporary resort: Verdura Golf & Spa Resort

Southern Italy, especially Capri and Sicily, is famous for its beautiful ornamented tiles with bright mediterranean colours. Handpainted maioliche have their origin in Mallorca (Spain) and have inspired Italian crafters from Vietri near Naples to Caltagirone in Sicily.

It is kind of obvious to use mediterranean tiles (piastrelle) when renovating or remodelling a house in the South of Italy. Even when building a contemporary house or hotel, one should consider to catch the atmosphere of the location by using local traditional material and patterns in some way.

In a rough Southeastern Sicilian landscape the new Verdura Golf & Spa resort combines contemporary architecture and design with local Sicilian culture and tradition. Interior designer Olga Polizzi found a simple way to retain old customs by interpretating patterns of Sicilian maioliche (tiles) in a modern way throughout the resort :

patterns of piastrelle are remixed in the casual dining area (above and below):

The giant tiles are handmade by a workshop in Caltagirone.
They pick up a local motif of the 18th century that became the decorative theme of the entire resort.

In the lobby, cushion covers and lamp shades pick up parts of the tile's pattern.
Even the webside of the resort is using the theme on its pictures (see above pic left side) like a watermarking.

In the rooms the theme is on bed covers, cushions and lampshades.

On some walls the design of the tiles is stenciled. However, with very restraint colours, like a watermark, to not be too much for the visitors eyes.

I think it is a very clever idea. I might 'copy' this method for some wall decoration in our house. I could re-use some pattern of the few old tiles we inherited with the house. Although they have more a Greek influenced geometrical design than a floral elaboration. Or I am just painting the above red giant extract of a maiolica with acrylic coulour on a wooden board for one of the rooms.

Source: all photos via Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sciacca, Sicily
owned by Rocco Forte Collection
featured in AD Edizione Italia, March 2010

Project by Flavio Albanese
Interior Design by Olga Polizzi