There is a tiny village in Calabria where the culture of hospitality and historical-architectural reconstruction represent an internationally recognized brand. We're talking about Badolato, a suggestive cluster of houses that overlook the so-called Riviera degli Angeli, located in the Middle Ionian Catanzaro area. This place was even able to melt Piero Pelù's rocker heart!
This location made headlines for the first time in the 1970s through the provocative article that made it known worldwide as a "town for sale", and then again in the 1990s as a welcome and integration spot - (at the time involving thr Kurdish people). The Borgo degli Angeli today reaps the fruits of far-sighted initiatives that make it one of the most sought-after destinations by foreigners, especially in northern Europe, who are "at home" here in the every sense of the word!
A Village of "Notable Public Interest"
We have arrived at the historical center for my usual "blog-tour" - after having traveled the road that climbs from the marina to the village of Badolato Superiore - a landscape overlooking the sea between prickly pears and wild fennel - dominated by the seventeenth-century Chiesa dell’Immacolata. I am welcomed by the lively "delegation" of neo-badolatesi made in the USA and Scandinavia, who are eager to guide me through the alleys and buildings that they have restored themselves. .
It is not just an ordinary day. It is Holy Saturday and in Badolato the preparations are underway for the long-awaited commemoration of the Via Crucis (which takes up the whole day between the village and the fields with the collaboration of over 200 participants). So do not panic if we meet hooded characters holding whips during our stay!
We walk down the small Corso that divides the village in two: on the right side which faces south-east - the town is sunny and characterized by the presence of the typical three-level tower houses rigorously equipped with "catoi" (the old warehouses now used as cellars, utilized for get-togethers and convivial moments); and the left side, also called "lu mancusu", which is considerably more shady and where the poorer families once lived
I take advantage of the hospitality of these adoptive Calabrians - authentic "reverse immigrants" - to ask them what led them to choose Badolato as their "buen retiro", to the point of buying and renovating the houses in the center in order to create a stable community and what makes them take care of a place which is now destined for extinction. Cathy and Nicolas found the spirit of authenticity that they were searching for, a feeling of being at home; another family heard the call after seeing the photo of Palazzo Paparo on the web, they were headed to Sicily and ... apparently they never made it there!
Everyone has their own story, but they all seem to find a common denominator in the suspended, genuine, and enchanted dimension that the village of Badolato manages to instill in all who visit it.
In Badolato, the culture of hospitality becomes excellence thanks to the passionate work of the local tourist operators, who throughout the year - (and not only in the Summer months) - offer a true Calabrian experience to Italian and foreign tourists. It is an understatement to call this period "holiday": it starts from the harvest of the olive trees, to trekking throughout the valleys to yoga courses on the beach and amongst the olive trees.
We conclude as always with the local gastronomical delicacies, which you can also learn about through cooking classes that are offered. We toast this small great village that represents a uniqueness to be preserved and a model to imitate!
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