13th entry – calabria 2009

Tuesday morning I left Aprigliano and headed down to Reggio. Mario had suggested and alternate route and I was almost ready to take it, but AnnaRita explained the alternate road to me when she and Alyssa came back from the rosario walk and it sounded a bit difficult. I decided that I knew as was comfortable with the Rogliano road that I had come up and that I was going to use the same route to get to the Autostrada.

The trip down to Reggio was fine, I was on the Autostrada and I had talked to the owner of the house we were staying at in Reggio and his directions sounded very simple. I was still on the Autostrada by myself and even though I had done this trip a couple of times in 2006, I was doing it on my own.

I managed to get to Pellaro with no problems. As a matter of fact it was very easy. The Autostrada ends in Reggio and becomes E90 the superstrada along the Ionian coast. The superstrada is a two-lane road. Once I got the the Pellaro intersection, I made the right followed traffic into the center of town and the owner of the house we were renting met me and I go into the house by 12:30. Rose and Derrick were due by 3:00.

Pellaro 001Pellaro is a sea town. The house was on one of the two main streets. It was a beautiful house even if, in the inside, it was not well cared for by the young man who inherited it. It had been his grandparents’ house and he was in the first stages of making a summer rental.

The house was huge. You come in on the street level into a beautiful foyer. It still have what must have been his grandparents’ furniture. You go up these great stairs. (All construction in Italy is cement and hollow, terracotta blocks covered with plaster.) These stairs were topped with rich, dark planks of oak making for an elegant solution to cement stairs. The main floor has this large living room/dining room combination with a large kitchen, pantry and bathroom. This floor has four balconies. The third floor is three large bedrooms and a bath. The two front bedroom share a huge balcony. The top floor has a small room with a door leading onto the terrace. The terrace is the width and length of the house including the balconies making it the largest contiguous space. It is finished with terracotta tiles, railing and low walls. On the east/west sides the house has a garden and a street. It fronts one of the two main streets of Pellaro and it sits against another beautiful empty house.

The house was built in the 1920’s after an earthquake. There are a few pre-earthquake houses left in Pellaro, but much of the old housing stock was either destroyed in the earthquake or torn down to build the ubiquitous post WWII housing that is all over Italy. It’s their version of the Levittown housing that litters American suburbs.

The young man – Paolo – was very helpful and accommodating. He recommended two things that were amazing – a coffee shop, and a small boutique market. The coffee shop – Tahiti – was a gold mine. The granita was to die for and the gelati were sinfully deliciously. The small market became our food store and for the week that I was there we ate food from the market six out of seven days. Across the street was a vegetable stand with great fruit and vegs. The owner was this very generous woman who treated us well. She gave us basil, she gave us figs – the first of the season – both without charging us.