A Bit of Italy: Reggio Calabria

A Bit of Italy: Reggio Calabria

As far as everyone I talked to was concerned, there were only two reasons to set foot in Reggio di Calabria: to see the famous Riace Bronzes and to get the boat to Sicily.   Yet, Gabriele D’Annunzio called it “Il più bel chilometro d’Italia.”  Reggio also produced the visionary, Gianni Versace. There had to be something wonderful about this town and I knew I was going to find it!

Form our first bit to eat, I knew it was not so different from the rest of the country!

BEST SLEEP:

SUITE 70
Corso Garibaldi, 70,  Tel: +39.0965.896674, Cell: +39.333.2697538; Email: info@suite70.it
www.suite70.it
Thanks to a great travel website, www.italytraveller.com, I found this boutique hotel.  It claims it is a B&B since there is no restaurant and there are very few rooms but the service was fantastic.  They were helpful in every way and the rooms were lovely. The only distracting thing was the smell of pizza from outside our window which made us very hungry! It’s also on the main street, walking distance from everything.

BEST EATS:

RISTORANTE CAFFÈ MATTEOTTI
Corso Vittorio Emanuele 39   Tel: +39 0965 891161www.caffematteotti.it
Caffe Matteotti, a happening bar with a killer view, overlooks the Straits of Messina. If you want to look like you know what you are doing, order the “Aperitivi.”  1000 little sandwiches, pizzas, olives served with a fresh fruit juice. That’s where everyone eats!  Table after table filled up and it was definitely the place to be.

LA ROSA AL BICCHIERE
Via Demetrio Tripepi, 118    Tel: +39 096522956
We looked for two restaurants that were mentioned in our Lonely Planet guide to Italy: Bracieria and Ristorante La Pignata.  The former now has different owners and specializes in mozzerella and pizza.    Not in the mood for pizza, we set out on to find La Pignata, which seems to never have existed as we could not even find the building.  While walking past, we saw La Rosa al Bicchiere.  As we had grown tired and hungry, we stepped in.  It was meant to be!  A jewel of a wine bar that had delicious, if not a bit too trendy for my liking, local cuisine.  They are in a few Italian food guides so make sure to stop by.

BEST MUST DO:

RIACE BRONZES
In our “Aperitivi” food coma, we stumbled past Gianni Versace’s old residence, a gorgeous Venetian style house now used as an art space, to the Town Hall, which is the home of the famous Riace Bronzes while the Museum of Magna Grecia is under construction. Although these two breathtaking 5th century BC bronzes are now laid on their backs behind glass, they demand your full attention.   No one knows who they were, why they were made and where they were going before they ended up in the sea.

BEST BITS:
Although our hotel was on the main shopping street, we couldn’t find a whole lot of classy shops.  There are two finds though:

BERGAMOTTERIA
Via De Nava , 71
This shop sells everything with bergamot – a Reggio delicacy.

EFFLUVI DI BREZZA
Corso Garibaldi 314  Tel: +39 0965893271
The most beautiful shop in Reggio.  Trendy perfumes, candles and stuff from all over the world.  They must have two shops as we found them on Corso Emanuele as well.

BEST CALABRIAN HILL TOWN:

Gerace lies about an hour and half from Reggio on the Ionian coast past Locri, the town where most of the Calabrian mafia lives. (I was told this by my local guide – sorry for the offence!)  It is like being in Umbria but better – a gorgeous hill town with a killer view of the sea.  There is also an amazing 12th C church.

BEST PASTA NAME:

In Gerace, we ate at a sweet trattoria called La Leggenda del Leone.  The pasta of the day was ALLA CONTADINA INNAMORATA (the peasant in love)..love it!



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