What am I doing in Amaroni? If you have followed me on the socials you know everything about the presentations of the Low Cost Travel Guide in Calabria.
I landed at Lamezia Terme Airport one morning in the middle of November. I left from Milan with few degrees and the fog but here I find out that is still Summer. Yeah, you got it right: here today some people are on the beach!
Micaela Papa is a wonderful girl I am going to know better in the next days. She heartily welcomes me and at once we start chatting as if we have known each other for ages. Then she immediately takes me discovering the area.
A quick stage at fish shop and then go admiring the most beautiful landscapes of the area in this so clear day.
Here today it’s very hot and this sea invites people to dive and swim.
But here today I will tell you about and take you discovering Amaroni, this little village of the inland of Calabria: it is so distinctive and so lively thanks to Micaela and many other people like her, who work to bring out their own land, Calabria, every day.
They work with all their strengths against prejudices and commonplaces, against way of thinking already too deeply-rooted in the young, in a land where it’s easier going away than to stay.
Amaroni is about 12 km far from the sea in the inland of Calabria. This is the period of the olives harvest and walking through the village it means to bump into scenes like these.
Or it means to meet a funny fish dealer with his truck in Turi del mare, the main square: he wanted even to offer me a cup of coffee when he saw me getting closer!
Some area of the village are perfectly restored, instead other ones have got the typical trait of the former times village.
When I arrive at the Town Hall I am welcomed by Teresa Lagrotteria, the vice-mayor, who accompanies me discovering Amaroni: she tells me about its history, the anecdotes, the legends, and the sights hidden behind every corner.
The Town Hall is in the Canale Palace and it keeps the legends about bloody hands: here in the village everybody has still alive the memory of fear when they ran about through these places when they were children.
The Town Hall Council Room is very beautiful and here I find out that Amaroni is twined with Risch, a town in Switzerland: many people emigrated there originating a very strong relationship.
The people enlisted in the Aire of Amaroni are really many.
The mayor Luigi Ruggiero tells me what it means to be mayor here. With Teresa and him I enjoy the history of the palace, of the council room pictures, the sights, the traditions. And the way of living in a village where all the families have someone emigrated far, so many people living here were born abroad.
The six tables Polittico portrays the martyrdom of Santa Barbara who is the patron of Amaroni. Looking at the technique you can realize that the author is a great admirer of Caravaggio.
Our visit goes on among the rooms of the Town Hall arriving to one of the definitions that the inhabitants have most close to their heart: Amaroni, the town of Calabria honey.
Honey is a product with a very ancient history here in Amaroni: thanks to the denomination “Town of honey” today it is promoted by several initiatives and events, also educational dedicated to children.
Find out them directly on Amaronimieli with events, telling and many recipes where honey is the undiscussed protagonist. The brand was created in order to a strategies’ project for the land brands and it’s free use to farmers with DECO acknowledgement (denominazione di origine comunale = municipal origin denomination) guaranteed to the consumer as regards the productive cycle with the aim to strengthen the relationship with the land.
A last souvenir photo and now it’s time to leave the Town Hall to go discovering other corners of Amaroni. Reliable is the Terzani Library with its very full calendar of events and activities.
Did I tell you the twinning here is a serious thing, didn’t I? Now you know it!
The women you meet in the village seem to be come out a book of other times and they are always kind and happy to be photographed.
We go into the bakery Spaccio Antica Tradizione. You immediately realize that the owner is in love with Cuba and if you want to give him a present, send him a postcard: he exhibits them and keeps all of them! Don’t forget to taste his delicacies: they are delicious!
This stone fountain has got a very ancient history: once it was the place where the girls went out with the goatskin on their own head to go drawing the water so they could meet their lovers. It was also the washtub. Nowadays it’s a very nice resting area in the shade of the trees in the hot weather Summer days.
What is a so big meeting place in a village of few souls for? It’s easy: in August people come home and the inhabitants triplicate. To have a party all together they need spaces for everyone!
We go towards the Ferrera River. The honey of Amaroni is also here and it makes you wish to buy a little jar!
This area is wonderful. The roaring of water all around here regenerate and relax you. You think here in Summer people organize even yoga lessons!
The area has got paths, games for children, walking through the woods. You can pick and choose!
In this season you can catch chestnuts and mushrooms and going up the path you can find very fresh water puddles where you can swim.
What do you think about this a bit American picnic area with barbecue and little tables? I really must come here to enjoy a Summer Sunday!
But now let’s changing matter completely. I told you that this is the period of the olive harvest.
All the village is busy with this activity: all the families have got the olive trees and everybody helps, from the adults to the children, to the older ones. Every day. Above all at the weekends when people are free from working commitments.
The olive harvest is a hard work becoming an event of party for families since they can be together: they eat a sandwich for lunch in the olive tree groves and once the harvest finished, finally they give the olives to the olive oil mill to take home an oil with a unique flavour.
Francesco, Micaela’s husband, accompany me during the visit and he tells me with passion what olives represent for them here.
They have just given their olives and the working phases are very interesting.
Carmelo Ranieri is in charge of the olive oil mill and in a full work day like this anyway he finds time to describe me the entire process in details.
From the olive-press with its slow laps, from the pressing to the breaking, to the extraction of the oil must as far as the separation of the olive oil.
If you never saw close to all this process, find the moment to go and see it because it is really very interesting and take the children, too, of course!
My visit finishes with a taste. How is it its flavour? Absolutely beyond description and it has nothing to do with the one we buy at the supermarket!
And you? How do you like the oil? More delicate or with a more solid flavour?