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  • Writer's pictureSu Guillory

Walking the Path of the Witches in Pittarella, Calabria

Walking in the streets of Pitarella, there's a sense of eeriness. That could be the fact that, while in its heyday, the village was home to over 1,000 people, it now shelters just 30.

Or, it could be that witches once lived here.

When "Witch" Wasn't a Dirty Word

We're all familiar with the witch trials that were held around the world hundreds of years ago. But here in Calabria, there was a period where the witches of Pittarella were well-known and respected.

People came to these witches, called magare, for help with healing and divination. It wasn't until things got political and religious that consulting a witch went out of vogue.

The Last Witch in Pittarella

There's not a lot happening in Pittarella, which only makes the restaurant and bar La Magaria stand out that much more. While its cavernous bar would be more at home in a metropolitan city, its history is nothing if not local.

At one time, the last witch in town lived in the building that's been converted into a restaurant. The animals slept in the stone building where the bar, which turns out fabulous cocktails, now sits.

The wife of the owner of the restaurant is a direct descendant of this last witch in Pittarella.

Come in the late afternoon for an aperitivo and watch the sun dip below the horizon. It's anything but spooky, though it is a bit otherworldly.

Magical Cats

Like in many towns in Calabria, you'll find a lot of cats wandering around Pittarella. They seem like royalty, lounging in the middle of the street!

Rumor has it that one of them is actually a witch who changed form to continue to watch over and protect the village. See if you can spot which cat it is on your visit!

Pittarella is quintessential Calabria. It's ancient (its roots go back to the 1300s), has an interesting history (witches!), and makes for a lovely day trip while you're traveling in Calabria.


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