Calabria is one of the most overlooked Italian destinations—underdeveloped and unfairly dogged by a louche reputation. (Easy Jet was forced to apologize after a 2020 ad cheekily promoted it as a land of “Mafia activity.”) The province, spanning the toe of the Italian boot, is home to breathtaking beaches, stunning mountain vistas, ancient hilltop villages, and unique, spicy cuisine. Last year a group of enterprising and passionate hiking guides knitted the landscape into a three-day cross-country trek, starting in the beach paradise of Soverato on the Ionian coast and ending about 34 miles west, in the 14th century fortress town of Pizzo on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The meandering Kalabria Coast-to-Coast trail takes hikers through olive groves, mountain pastures, deep forests, and small villages, with stops in towns famous for their wine, smoked ricotta cheese, and a spicy spreadable sausage known locally as ’nduja. The trek is well signed and self-guided, but hikers—who should be reasonably fit—who have paid the 5-euro registration fee can access help, advice, and encouragement via a WhatsApp business account run by the organizers. The website includes a list of local hotels and B&Bs to stay along the route. Participants receive a certificate of completion once they reach Pizzo’s Murat Castle. The best way to celebrate? Tucking into Pizzo’s iconic tartufo ice cream, another Calabrian specialty.
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