Initially, our shortened trip was going to be all about the sea, the food, and a little R&R, but we came up with some alternatives to see after we found out that the weather may not be in our favor. Although the majority of the weather was great, we had to get out and explore other peculiar finds that we couldn’t stop thinking about after already having found them. The first night we were in Calabria, we drove to the neighboring town of Tropea to walk around, eat dinner, and catch a glimpse of cliffside water views.
Saturday morning we drove to another neighboring town, Zunghri, to explore caves. Le Grotte di Zungri, or Caves of Zungri, are caves built into the rocky hillside and seem to date back to the 8th-12th century! It consists of different “units” that were excavated for residential use, shelters for domestic animals, the production of wine, and the storage of grain. There was also a small museum we visited that houses a collection of objects of traditional local culture between the 19th & 20th century. There are numerous machinery and everyday objects related to the Rocky and Farmer Calabrese Civilization.
On the way home Sunday we drove through Pizzo to discover a seaside church built into the sand. This was an absolute gem and by far our favorite excursion!! Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, or Church of Piedigrotta, is a church carved out of rock! The story of its creation has been told for hundreds of years and is known to have started with a shipwreck in the 1600’s. A ship with a Neapolitan crew was surprised by a violent storm. The sailors assembled in the captain’s cabin where a painting of the Madonna of Piedigrotta was kept and all together started praying, making a vow to the Virgin: in case of their life being saved, they would build a chapel and dedicate it to her. The ship sank but the sailors were able to swim to the shore. With them, the painting of the Madonna of Piedigrotta and the ship’s bell (dated 1632) were brought to the shore by the waves. Determined to keep the vow, the sailors dug out of the rock a little chapel and located the sacred image. Later, there were other storms and the painting, which was taken away because of the waves which endlessly entered the cave, was always found back where the ship had sunk near the rocks!
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!