Benvenuti a Bella Badolato
I was so mired in exploring my future home by the sea in Calabria that I didn't make any plans on my last trip to travel. But my new wonderful friend Courtney offered to take me to the nearby mountain village of Badolato.
Typically I research a place before I visit, but I let this trip be a surprise. And what a gorgeous surprise it is. Badolato consists of homes that cascade down the mountain (a lot like my beloved Saorge in France).
While the town does see some tourism, it was sleepy and quiet in the early twilight. Courtney and I meandered down the cobblestone streets, stopping to capture lanky cats, crumbling architecture, and breathtaking views of the sea.
While we were staging a photo shoot on some stairs, an old woman stopped to see what we were doing. I spoke with her (in Italian) for a few minutes. She'd lived in Badolato her whole life. She felt it was sad that so many people had left to live by the sea (a common issue in remote mountain towns), and that there weren't more stores.
I was getting along just fine in the conversation, but I must have given an inappropriate response to something she said, because all of a sudden, she squinted at me and said, "you don't speak very good Italian, do you?"
A Hike Through Town
Because Badolato is situated on a hill, you're either going up or going down (duh). We meandered down through the ancient homes (which were a minimum of 300 years old) until we reached a church (La Chiesa dell'Immacolata) poised over the valleys below.
After admiring the view and drinking fresh water from an ancient fountain, we headed back up. It wasn't long before I broke a sweat. I couldn't imagine people, including the very old, walking down to church and then back up to town every week. Guess that's why there are five churches for this town of only 3,000!
Once we'd vanquished the steep incline, we treated ourselves to beer and dinner at the charming La Cantinetta, which offers typical Calabrian cuisine. After that hike, beer, fries, and salad hit the spot!
One of the things I'm most excited about in moving to Italy is my proximity to quaint little towns like this one. I'm ready to explore