Santa Severina (Crotone), Calabria

Sunday, 22 October 2023

And the sun came out and stayed out, temperatures reaching 25ºC.

We visited the hilltop village of Santa Severina, about 30 minutes outside Crotone. Set atop a very tall hill (borderline mountain) it has been around for thousands of years under various ownerships. We reached the village in a most Italian way. Large coaches can’t go all the way, so we were transferred to a small 13 seater coach - all 40 of us. Very close friendships were quickly formed!

The village itself is splendid, smaller than, but reminiscent of, San Gimignano in Tuscany - old, interesting architecture and views across the countryside to die for. Not a souvenir shop anywhere, two soft drinks at a pavement café - €4. 

As everywhere in Italy, if it’s Sunday, there’s going to be a festival of something. Here, it was Mediaeval Day marked by two events. Firstly, the local school-children had formed a band which marched and played. Secondly, around 200 motorcyclists arrived, revving engines loudly, to watch this. To be fair, once settled in, engines off, they enhanced the overall ambience by adding a more lively mood, but filling the central piazza with their (beautifully clean, well maintained) machines.

Now, in our minds, motorcycle packs translate as “Hell’s Angels”. Not in Italy! At around noon, the Bishop appeared on the Cathedral steps to offer a benediction. The place became quiet and the motorcycle crowd gathered quietly around to receive a blessing and a light sprinkling of Holy Water. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Moving on, and using the same unique transportation, we visited an Agrotourismo farm on an adjacent hill. Supported by government funds to keep them viable, their purpose is to maintain local, organic agriculture whilst enhancing tourism.  We were going for a “snack”.

There was enough food on offer to satisfy a half-starved flotilla of invading barbarians, home grown wine, and home brewed limoncello. Every mouthful was beyond delicious and by the time the around 100 of us had eaten more than we should have, the buffet table looked untouched.

After a 30 minute return to Crotone (by regular coaches 🎉🙌) we were back on board to relax and continue digesting! The rest of the day…? Still digesting!

One of the best excursions in a while.