The more one can appreciate and understand another perspective, the more dimension and depth they bring to their own. On a recent study trip to Calabria, this became very clear to me when expressed by the manager of a beautiful agriturismo at which we were lucky enough to stay.
Calabria is the southernmost region of mainland Italy – better known as the “toe” of the Italian peninsula. It is fast growing in the tourism sector, but on our visit there it became evident that Calabria seeks more exposure, and we were there to help them figure out how to attain that goal.
To us, a group of ten students from all over the globe, it was clear. Calabria has everything. The mountains, the sea, light wines, organic citrus, Padolica cows, buffalo mozzarella, peperoncino of the perfect heat, and, of course, never ending seafood.
Personally I viewed Calabria as an example of a place that overvalues what they are NOT and undervalues what they alreadyARE. We discussed as a class that regions like Tuscany are inundated with foreigners because they represent the sought after stereotype of “typical” Italy. For this reason, such regions give away all of their best attributes to foreigners, leaving only the tourism industry to keep locals in business. So perhaps it is better for a hidden gem like Calabria not to seek that immense a success through attractions and export, but rather recognize what it is they have and make those products vital to their own community.
If you are lucky enough to make your way to the “toe” while it is still flying under the radar, it is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Highlights:- Amarelli Liquirizia - La Sulla farm - Biosmurra Citrus - Trattoria Aquila D’Oro in Ciro - Cantine Viola Passito - Lenticchia di Mormanno at Pianoro di Novacco - Calabria al Cubo agriturismo