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  • Writer's pictureSu Guillory

The Serene Mountain Village of Badolato in Calabria

One of the charming mountain villages in Calabria that should be on your list to see is Badolato. The village is characterized by houses gracefully cascading down the mountainside and has a surprisingly steep footpath through town. It's a great place for a workout, so bring your walking shoes!

Though Badolato does attract some tourists in the summer, it maintains its tranquil charm, and you can meander through the peaceful cobblestone streets, inhaling breathtaking views of the sea, lanky cats lounging in the sun, and ancient architecture that is the essence of that Italian life so many of us seek.

A Church with a View

Like most visitors, you'll likely want to pass through town to arrive at La Chiesa dell'Immacolata, a church that sits 250 meters above sea level with a panoramic view of the entire Gulf of Squillace.

Parishioners think nothing of descending the steep hill to attend mass each Sunday (or the return ascent), and for Easter, there is a special procession where the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is re-enacted. The crowd follows Jesus, who drags his cross and is flogged by Romans, all the way through town and to the church. If you visit Calabria around Easter, this is a must-see event.

An Era Long Past

Sadly, Badolato is one of dozens of remote villages that have lost a significant portion of their population. Chalk it up to the fact that there is little to no work available for younger folks, and you can understand why many moved to larger cities like Soverato or Reggio Calabria, or even relocated further afield in north Italy.

But it's this very exodus that makes towns like Badolato rely on the revenues that tourists bring. So while you're there, have a coffee and a pastry. Check out La Fabbrica del Gelato, which for many Calabrese, offers the best gelato in the region. Stay for dinner at La Cantinetta or one of the other restaurants that have a stunning view of the sea at dusk. Heck, if you fall in love with Badolato, there are houses being renovated and put up for sale that you can have for a song.

Spend your money to keep towns like this going, because they are the lifeblood of this country.

As an American living in Calabria, I can say that Badolato isn't the tourist version of Italy. It's an authentic and memorable experience.


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