Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Praia a Mare | Calabria

In 2015 me and my boyfriend visited Praia a Mare in the West of Northern Calabria. Also Praia is part of the province Cosenza, like Aieta or Amendolara. We spent two nights there and had one full day to get around. The number one activity we planned was to "climb" the mountain and see the local grotto, which was pretty exciting!

The city centre itself didn't catch much my attention. I became familiar with the Calabrese architectural style already, so my eyes only seeked the mountains. You may have read in an earlier post, that I went to Argentina for a few months in 2014, where I completely fell in love with mountains. I was well excited when my boyfriend suggested to walk up the mountain in Praia.

In 2015 my Italian was pretty bad (whoops - actually nothing changed :D). From the mountain we were able to see the famous "Isola di Dino" and I was pretty sure I knew the one to one translation.
I asked my boyfriend: "Sweety, why is the island actually called Dinosaur Island?"
He looked at me. "It's not."
Apparently Dino is not the short version of dinosaur, as it is in German. I looked up why the island is called Isola di Dino: dino is a storm or vortex. The word is Greek, which makes sense: Calabria was long time a Greek place. So it is the storm island.

Then finally we arrived at the grotto. The place is called Santuario della Madonna della Grotta and in fact you can find a religious sanctuary inside the grotto. My boyfriend and I we are not religious, but it was a nice experience to take this pilgrimage up the mountain. Even without looking at the shrine of the Holy Madonna the grotto is mesmerising. The walls are huge and you can see birds living in there.

We left with a good feeling. We moved our legs, we saw an amazing cave and we had a beautiful view over the small city of Praia and onto dinosaur island. Afterwards we also had one of the best aperitivos of our whole life, so I would definitely recommend Praia a Mare as a day trip destination!
Eure Hibi :)


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