Badolato in Calabria, a charming village only few miles away from the sea
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Badolato

On the Ionian Coast of Calabria, surrounded by a unique landscape, you will find this little medieval hamlet. In Badolato the incessant rhythm of the history has left the deepest sense of peace and relax. Life is sweeter in Badolato thanks to its people hospitality and strong sense of community, with each new day starting with a friendly smile. Here, you can still breath the scents of the unspoilt nature, warmed by the sunshine until late November. In Badolato, the local traditions tell the stories of the ancient people that came across from the sea.

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A bit of history

Badolato is located 240 metres above the sea level, protected by 2 deep valleys gently decreasing toward the coast flat land. The village faces the Ionian sea and is divided into 2 parts. The first is the borgo, preserving almost as intact its medieval connotations, such as the dedalus of narrow streets and small houses reminding of a “Presepe””. The second is called “La Marina sul Mare”, the modern settlement only 5 km from the historic centre.

The borgo origins rise to 1080 ac, when Roberto il Guiscardo,  the first Duke of Calabria founded it. At the beginning the centre was meant to be a fortress as the old city doors witness (the only remain of the stone city walls) and the few ruins of the Bell Tower, used as a watchroom against pirate incursions. This building,  which is also called Torre delle Ore (tower of the hours) because of its bell, divides the village into 2 parts. The left side is called by locals  “U Mancusu”, while the right side is “U Destru”, the more exposed to the sunshine. The name of the village probably comes from Filippo di Badolato, an heroic warlord heir of the noble Angioini dinasty.

In 1640 and 1659 two earthquakes hardly damaged the borgo that will be definitely almost destroyed due to another earthquake in 1783, sharing the same fate with other villages of the ionian coast of Calabria. Unfortunately other disasters were coming: a new earthquake in 1947 and the floodings of 1951, leading the national and local institutions to build the first houses in the new Marina district, today the two souls of Badolato are perfectly overlapped in the amazing scenery of the Riviera Degli Angeli.

Wandering around the village

The best point to start exploring Badolato is certainly Piazza Castello, home to the ancient fortress destroyed and a gathering point for the local community dotted with  bars and bistrot. Here the real locals way of living blends together with that of the citizens of the world living in the old village. Such as the Kurd refugees who migrate here in the 90’s to escape from intolerable social situations. With them, dozens of political refugees and hundreds of North European citizens that spend here a great part of their lives each year. Hospitality and internationality are the features best describing the Badolato community which promotes different activities. Among the others, the opening of the wine cellars, the famous catoj, small caves that once were used by local households as a storage for food and today host the precious wine bottles for ageing. Walking among the narrow streets of the borgo, the scent of the surrounding nature fills the air with its fragrances mixing with that of the spicy flavours of the local cuisine, a simple kitchen both influenced by the mountain and sea, strongly bounded with the ancient religious popular culture. From the house terraces of Badolato breathtaking landscapes offer their show with the lush green of the hills slowly leaving space to the blue of the ionian sea waters in the background.

Badolato all year round

Badolato, all year round, gives visitors the chance of knowing deeply its identity, throughout folk events and activities related to agriculture, traditional feasts and happenings.

During the Summer, its coasts are swarmed by the sea lovers that can choose to relax using the services of the beach resorts, and enjoying the long golden sand beach or practicing many water sports such as the kitesurf or the sport fishing. Badolato beach, marked by a small harbour and a natural promontory,  has a wonderful seafront surrounded by oleanders which is an ideal set for long relaxing walks.

Springtime is certainly among the most enchanting times of the year with flowers blooming in the lush natural landscape. By this time the ancestral celebrations of the Holy Week and Easter bring a unique magic feeling among the old streets, a spell reaching the hit with the Cumprunta, an ancient ritual celebrated  on Sunday Easter which represents the meeting between Jesus and the Virgin Mary after the resurrection.

During the Autumn instead, the grape and the olive harvest are the top events. The many Danish and Swedish living here know very well this moment facing a journey of miles to be here on time and join the traditional rural activities driven by locals in order to be the makers of the miracle of good wine and the tasty and healthy extra virgin olive oil.

Don’t miss wintertime in Badolato either. In fact, the mild weather encourages pleasant walks between the hills and the local Christmas celebrations mixed with the tradition of the new international residents witness how sharing is going to be the basic ingredient of an unforgettable holiday spent in this authentic village of Calabria.

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