I marvel at how my little pocket of Calabria has transformed over the past few weeks. While October until June is pretty sleepy here, with the lidi and many restaurants closed in off-season, July has brought a new, vibrant energy.
It's Gettin' Hot in Here
Think it's hot in the US? Europe is wading through record-breaking heat, and Italy is no exception. But unlike those poor tourists in Rome who have no seabreeze to cool their melting faces, summertime in Calabria means that Italians and visitors alike flock to the beaches. to cool off
I've been swimming since early June, though many Italians thought the Ionian Sea was still too cold for them. Now the water has warmed up, but it's still a respite from the scorching heat.
Socializing at the Beach, Italian Style
I realize that very few Italians actually swim at the beach. Instead, they stand submerged in the water to cool off and catch up with people they haven't seen since last summer.
I spent a few hours at a lido with a friend, and after I tired of paddling around, we walked, knee-deep in the sea, to the next lido, where she caught up with a neighbor who's been visiting the area for decades. One of the many immigrants who sell things on the beach stopped to haggle with us over the price of cute but cheaply-made dresses. I scored one for 10 euros. He probably got the better end of the deal, but I was happy.
Summertime in Calabria Means We're All Young
I'm a fan of any Italian movie that involves the summer and young folks (I just watched L'Estate Più Calda, if you want a recommendation). Life, it seems, is an imitation of art. Or vice-versa.
Walking along the lungomare late at night, I saw dozens of teens outside of a nightclub. I wondered if I would have been in the crowd at that age. Probably.
But acting and feeling young isn't limited to the physically young. Summertime in Calabria is the time when we put away our guardedness, don a bikini, regardless of body type, and unabashedly lounge on a flamingo-shaped float in the sea.
We greet one another like old friends, and laughter abounds from every corner of the beach (do beaches have corners?). Italians are warm and friendly year-round, but I feel it even more these days.
My social life has heated up, and I'm learning to adapt to the Italian style of starting late and staying out til the wee hours. Everything is cooler once the sun sets, so dinner, dancing, even theater is something we enjoy here later in the evening.
As much as I complain about the heat, I'm having a ball enjoying summertime in Calabria!