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Jan 28, 2011 10:50 AM

Any tips for Northern Calabria/Maratea area stay?

I'm renting a place for a week this spring in Maierà, Calabria.
We'll have a kitchen and plan to prepare many of our own meals, but I'm wondering if anyone out there has recommendations for restaurants/bars/snacks nearby.

We generally don't go for anything too fancy.

We'll have a car, too, so suggestions for surrounding coastal and mountain towns are welcome.
I haven't been able to find much information about the area - anything is appreciated!


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  1. Bravo--glad to see Calabria on CH.
    The Slow Food Osterie guide recommends nearby:
    Diamante--La Guardiola
    Morano Calabro (nust see)--Villa san Domenico (nice hotel, too).
    Scalea--La Rondinella
    Belvedere Marittimo--Sabbia d'Oro
    Spezzano della Sila (Camigliatello Silano)--La Tavernetta
    Amantea--Enoteca due Bicchieri and Locanda del Mare
    Civita--La Kamastra and Agora (Arberesh/Albanian town)
    In the hills, Altomonte, San Donato di Ninea, Morano Calabro, Mormanno, are all towns well worth the beautiful drive. On the Ionian side, Rossano is filled with history. Also, if you're headed east, see about stopping at the Cantine Viola in Saracena, where Luigi Viola's amazing Moscato di Saracena is one of Italy's finest (and rarest) dessert wines.

    1. We actually didn't end up eating out at all during our time in Calabria!
      If it had been higher-tourist season we might have wanted some festivity, but we were quite content to make use of the local products at home.

      Some favorites:

      -the broccoli raab/rapini from the farmer's market in Maierà. We probably ate about 10 lbs of this stuff. A far cry from the often bitter & woody stuff I can buy at the market here in North America.

      -though it goes without saying, the lemons from the area are amazing. I was tempted to eat them like oranges. Fragrant skin, sweet juice, and funny-looking thick rinds.

      -$4 worth of 'nduja bought at a deli in Diamante. I wish we had bought this at the beginning of our trip - it was so spicy and intense we weren't able to use it all before leaving. We had it spread on bread, but I wish I had tried it in pasta. Now that I'm back in Canada I can't find it anywhere.

      -amazing sausages. I didn't go anywhere special, either - just a butcher in Diamante and the counter at a local grocery store. For some reason these (fresh) pork links were maddeningly good.

      -a very cheap (3 euros) local Verbicaro wine proved the favorite of our trip. Appropriately bold to match the food we ate.

      I would love to go again and seek out some local farms and restaurants - but even the grocery chains provided amazing quality here (except for bread - but we didn't find good bread anywhere in Italy. I'l give them a pass since they do magic with pasta and pizza.).

      Mormanno was indeed a beautiful drive - but a harrowing one! I realized only after 45-minutes of white-knuckling it that we had accidentally taken a road that wasn't even listed on the map!
      But it's really amazing to see rolling farmland after having climbed such steep hills. I wasn't expecting it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: michaelmas

        Nice to see Calabria on this board!

        I don't know the area around Maiera' very well, but if anyone is in the Sila mountain range area and stops off in the largest town, San Giovanni in Fiore, I recommend they stop at Phi restaurant, right around the corner from the Abbey Florens piazza. It is tiny so reservations probably required, though we went at lunch last week and there was no one there. Lot of local products, including the famous Sila potatoes. We also had a local black pork, made into involtini with prosciutto inside. No big deal wine list, just Ciro' and other Calabrian wines.