Welcome to In Bruttium, my new blog about Calabrese, and other “Mezzogiorno” or Southern Italian, culture, history, and destinations. I decided to start this blog as an ongoing project to uncover more information on this region, for a couple of reasons. First, Calabria is, I believe, one of Italy’s least-known and least-understood regions, especially to outsiders. It is not a major travel destination like Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, or even Naples. It lacks the Hollywood-generated recognition of Sicily, and even the randomness of Sardinia. I plan on covering Sicily and Sardinia to some extent here too. But my main focus will be Calabria – rural, impoverished, wild, ancient, and a bit of a mystery.
My other reason is more personal, as I am of Calabrese descent. I’m only 25% “Italian” – more on the sarcastic quotes in another post – but it’s a big 25%, and it’s all Calabria. My great-grandparents came to America from the Cosenza area, and although this heritage has been watered down over generations, I still feel it in me. It’s mixed in with Irish and German and English, but as the most recently immigrated of my European lines, it stands out. I suppose Italy and Italians have a habit of standing out anyway. From the food to the conversation style to the clothing to the flag colors to the auto traffic, Italy is, well, loud. It begs exploration.
I’ve only been to Italy twice and to Calabria once, but my goal is to return at least a couple of times to seek and report on its hidden treasures, unique stories, odd trivia, varied cuisine, and interesting people. I hope to hear from readers with similar curiosities, who may have interesting information of their own to share. So begin our adventures In Bruttium.