It's Spring!

It's spring and time to update the blog. Our first guest have arrived in Pizzo and the next are on the way. It's almost Easter and tourists are heading South for some sunshine. The weather in Calabria was already very pleasant, then we had was some rain, and now it's sunny again. But surprisingly it is warmer in the North than in the South - and so we had to switch the heating on again.

Dear travellers, always pack a sweater or fleece jacket when going to the sea side. Even in summer there can be a fresh breeze, especially in the evenings in the main piazza of Pizzo. There are easily 10 degrees Celsius difference during the day, and a temperature of 20 C in spring with a fresh breeze from the sea can feel like only 15 C. It's best to check the forecast and be prepared to dress like a (spring)onion in layers. However, while some wear a jacket, others already sunbath at the beach and in a few days time you will observe the first brave swimmers.

Happy Spring Holidays & lots of sunshine!

Pizzo and Vibo Marina on Sunday, 25th March 2017 - Looks lovely, it's Springtime, but Jacket still needed!

Pizzo and Vibo Marina on Sunday, 25th March 2017 - Looks lovely, it's Springtime, but Jacket still needed!

For some more spring impressions of earlier years read Summer feelings in April (April 2013) or simply click on the APRIL or SPRING tag (scroll down, click NEXT to see all posts).

Beach goers sunbathing and in the water at Pizzo Marina city beach, April 1st, 2017 (no joke!) 

Beach goers sunbathing and in the water at Pizzo Marina city beach, April 1st, 2017 (no joke!) 

Photo credit: All photos by Carmela, March 27 and April 1, 2017 - mille grazie for sharing first spring impressions from Pizzo  :-)

Day 7 A Boat Trip and Dolphins

The sun greeted me when opening the window shutters. The sea below was calm. So calm, the surface looked like a sheet of paper. Not a single tiny wave. Like a big deep lake. Amazing.

Like every morning I spent some moments on the balcony to observe the sea. In spring there is a chance to see dolphins. I have seen them before, and today, I felt, they must be near! But nothing yet. 

Time for boating.!, said Carlo. We had just put 'Ella' to water two days earlier and I haven't seen 'her' yet.  

I picked a few jackets, a blanket and a cashmere scarf and hat I found in the corner of my wardrobe. We are going on a short ride, said Carlo when he saw me with my bursting beach bag. 

Well, the trip was even shorter than that! We had just left the port of Vibo Marina and were heading towards Pizzo, when Angelo suddenly remarked: "We have no more gasoline!" He insisted the tank was at least half full last time... Angelo, when was last time? Could it be possible that they empty the tank for safety reason while the boat is stored during winter?, I was just saying ...

We immediately turned around and luckily made it back to the port. Funny, if it's not the 'Guardia di Finanzia' that stops Angelo and fines him for not having all documents on board, it's the gasoline (or lack of it) that stops him.

Boat trip April 2015

Boat trip April 2015


How awesome would it have been to have dolphins swimming along the boat? Maybe another time.

For lunch, our son went home with Angelo to eat with 'nonna' while we were driving back to Pizzo. We were invited by a friend at a restaurant at la marina. We were sitting outside in the sunshine and observing the first brave bathers in the sea. The view of the beach in front of us, and a glass of wine made it a perfect spring day.

Later in the afternoon we needed to meet our kitchen planners in Maida. We spent there a couple of hours, and while it seemed endless, we still managed to decide on 2 kitchen designs! One kitchen is a bit more complicated from the layout this time, as it will be built around and above the vaulted ceiling of a lower stairways.  

While we were out, our son stayed at home. When friends came over and they went together on the balcony, he all in a sudden spotted whales! He told us about a huge water fountain and their fins that came out of the water. Oh, wow, I couldn't believe it, but it happened before that whales were seen in the bay. The kids were talking 'balena' (whales) - but when I talked to the mum, she clarified they were seeing two 'delfini' (dolphins). Haha! - I knew it! I knew they were near. Wild life spotting from our balcony!

A day later Dolphins were spotted in Tropea (I saw a photo on FB and shared it, but my son insisted that "his" dolphins were way bigger!). I was told that there will be more dolphins and tuna in the Tyrrhenian Sea this year due to the appearance of black algae (very yummy for them) after recent volcanic activities.

This was our last day in Pizzo. And we are quite happy with what we achieved to decide during that week of a short holiday. 

For our last dinner we invited the grandparents and while sitting outside in the restaurant in the piazza (first time it was not too cold for sitting outside), a couple of friends we haven't seen yet passed by. I called their name and waved them over to our table, and since they had no plans yet, they joined. How lucky we were. Such a lovely and mild evening. If only we would not have to pack yet. 

Day 6 Happy Day

It was a beautiful day today In Pizzo. I was busy in the house, can't remember what I did. But at one point I picked the key and run into the piazza for an aperitivo. We had a lunch invitation at my mother-in-law's place and were about to leave shortly. I wanted however enjoy the sunshine in the piazza and do some people watching and more over to enjoy life. My son joined me and we ordered one Spritz and a Crodino. Served with green olives, tiny pieces of pizza, and potato chips. At twelve the church bells ring and an Ave Maria is aired over Pizzo via speakers ... Ah, heaven!

The old man and the sea, iron net statue by Eduardo Tresoldi, Pizzo. 

The old man and the sea, iron net statue by Eduardo Tresoldi, Pizzo. 

In the evening, we had friends over for dinner. Actually, it was Tonino and his family with the grand children. Team Palazzo Pizzo celebrating a busy season ahead. We are looking forward to welcome our guest!

Day 4 Lunch in Piazza


The highlight of the day - in my memory - was our lunch in the piazza at SPQR restaurant. It was sunny - but wearing warm jackets was recommendable (of course not if you are from Scandinavia). I ordered Spaghetti alla Pizzitana, my favorite dish here! It's sauce has a bit of a "aglio e olio" with anchovies, chili and breadcrumbs. Yummy!

My coffee came with sugar and a quote: 

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
— Marcel Proust

In original French it's:  "Le véritable voyage de découverte ne consiste pas à chercher de nouveaux paysages, mais à avoir de nouveaux yeux."

And I say, after returning from a 'voyage' you will see your home with new eyes as well. These new eyes only last a short moment. Therefore use this moment to see with your new eyes. What I see in Pizzo (always) is the beauty of the sea. Its always changing colours, patterns and shades. And I ask my self if all Pizzitani (especially those who do not travel) are aware of the exceptionate location of their village.

What I also saw in Pizzo, is that Pizzo and Pizzitani had a long, cool and rainy winter. It was about time that the sun came out to cheer the village and its inhabitants up. The promised renovation work in the centro storico are as unfinished as usual. The long patience of Pizzitani seemed to have been stretched for too long. How can you leave a street unpaved in front of your only hotel in town for three years? The Anti-Mafia clause that prohibits the commune to have contracts with companies that cannot prove they have nothing to do with the mafia, can't be the only reason a street and other projects are remaining unfinished for years and years. Running out of money after being sued again and again by bored and unhappy lawyers? Bankruptcy due to lack of payment moral? All quiet common in Calabria. And so frustrating! Maybe we should send them all on a 'voyage' to open up their eyes, and see on return what they do to their motherland.     


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.