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August in Calabria

I'd been warned about what a madhouse Italy, as well as Calabria, can be in August. That's because 99% of Italians take several weeks to the entire month off in August. They spend time with family and dedicate hours every day to getting abbronzati (tanned).

I will say, the beaches haven't been as crowded as I expected. Of course, I've been to Panama City for spring break a million years ago, so maybe my gauge is different...

Yes, it's hard to find parking...depending on where you go. (having a boyfriend with a Vespa helps. We can always find parking!) Yes, there's loud music late into the night. Embrace it and dance along. Still, despite a few inconveniences, I am loving the energy of the summer.

August in Calabria: When Everything Gets Ridiculously Expensive

Everything in Calabria is cheap. for Americans..with one large exception. Try to rent a house or apartment from July til August, and you'll pay out the nose. If you can even find a place, because the same families rent the same vacation homes every year.

To give you some perspective: I rented a four-bedroom home in Montepaone Lido for €800 a month throughout the year. My landlady is now asking at least €2000 per month. And people pay it! Of course, when you pile up several families in one house, it becomes more affordable.

I've also seen the prices at restaurants and bars seem a little elevated from what they were before the summer.

The City Comes Alive

Everyone told me that winter here is tough. Most of the restaurants and bars are closed. You can walk along the lungomare (boardwalk) and the weather is generally okay. But then there are brutal storms that toss tree trunks and debris upon the beach. I was always one of few people walking in the morning.

And now...the world has come alive! People are out in droves. One thing I love is that they walk the lungomare (or sit on a bench) to see all their friends and catch up. I can't take a walk with my boyfriend without us stopping every two minutes to chat.

All the lidi that were boarded up all winter are alive and vibrant with thumping music til the wee hours. Some have fancy restaurants or bars. All day long, the ombrellone (umbrellas) shade families sunning themselves, eating, or resting after a bagno (swim).

I love how much there is to do...but damn, it's exhausting. Every week there are aperitivi with friends, music concerts, and religious festivals.

La Barca della Madonnina in Soverato

Speaking of religious festivals...this is a great one. On August 13, Soverato locals place a statue of the Virgin Mary on a boat and shlep her around the shore to bless the fishermen and the people who wade into the water to receive her blessing.

Dozens of boats accompany her. It's a sight to behold. Later that night, there are fireworks. I went to bed early, so I missed those.

And Finally, Ferragosto

The culmination of partying happens on the 15th of August, a holiday called ferragosto. It's got ancient origins:: it goes back to 18 BC! It's kind of like American Labor Day: it's a day where most people take off of work and play. Unless, of course, you work at a lido or restaurant. Then you serve all the other people who are there to party!

I went with the boyfriend and our friends to a lido. We relaxed on the beach until sunset and then spent the next few hours dancing in the sand. This was followed by a passeggiata (walk) to meet and greet friends.

After he tapped out, I went to another lido with my friend Anna for a nightswim and panino under the stars. A perfect day.

Summer in Calabria may be hot (it got over 100 in July) but it's also fun. I love the energy as Calabria wakes up to play. I'll savor it for a few weeks longer before the tourists return home and things slowly shut down for the fall.

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So glad you are enjoying it!

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