Yes, folks, I'm back in Italy! And with a new, fresh look for my blog, I'm feelin' my oats! (I wonder how you say that in Italian...)
I'm staying in Reggio Calabria, at the tip of the boot that is Italy. This area is rich in history, as I found in my visit to the Museo Archeologico (archeological museum).
Reggio Calabria used to be part of Greece. This is evident in the many statues and likenesses of Greek gods and goddesses found in the area. Given that I love Greece too, I'm really digging (archeological pun ya'll) the mix of culture and history.
My Personal Tour Guide
If you do visit Reggio Calabria, the museum is a must. I like to dip into a museum and speed through it, stopping only to look at what catches my eye. But the elderly volunteer Antonio at the museum had other plans for me!
He greeted me with an interesting nugget of information about the sculpture I was admiring. He then proceeded--in Italian, no less--to take me on my own private tour of the entire four stories of artifacts! He knew I was American and didn't fully understand him, but I guess my nodding and laughing in the right places gave him confidence to carry on. In reality, I probably understood about 10% of what he said, but what I did understand was interesting.
I didn't know how to stop him, so I made a few not-so-discreet looks at my watch and he finally got the point. He asked how long I had left and I said 10 minutes. He sighed sadly, saying there was too much to see and that I should come back the following Saturday to get even more amazing history from him (I'm totally busy washing my hair that day. Yeah.). Thirty minutes later (we're up to 1.5 hours now), I busted out of the museum, and laughed my head off.
A Stroll Along the Sea
Reggio Calabria is known for its Lungomare, a beautiful paved path along the coast. Just a few miles across the water is Sicily. There's a unique phenomenon that happens in the summer called Fata Morgana where you see a mirage that makes the town across the way, Messina, look like it's a lot closer than it is. I'll have to come back to experience it.
Here's another example of Greek influence: a statue of Athena, goddess of war, stands at the water's edge. I read an interesting article that said she was restored a few years ago. Prior, she'd been facing toward the water, to guard the city against its enemies, but now, the mayor elected to have her facing toward the city because, as he said, the enemies that citizens face are within the city. Poetic, I guess, and if you're no longer worried about conquerors coming by sea, why not?
That's all I've had time to explore. More content to come!
PS Travel to Italy was a little more crowded on the plane and in the airports than when I came to Rome in the summer. Currently, the COVID situation is pretty okay in Italy, though that's not the case with other areas of Europe, including Austria. Trains are fuller than they were last time, and they aren't spacing out passengers anymore.
If you come, keep your vaccine card on you at all times. European citizens are required to show their Green Pass app (shows their vaccinations), but Americans can show their vaccine cards and may be required to do so to enter musems.
I'd say about 50% of people here in Reggio wear their masks on the street, and everyone wears them inside stores. I see a lot of businesses closed and I don't know if that's because of COVID, the fact of it being fall, or something else.