Gasperina is a little village located in Calabria, in south Italy, clinging on a hill in front of the blue Ionian Sea, along the east coast. With its about 3.000 souls, it is a peaceful place where to spend a relaxing holiday to the sea. Gasperina was founded during the Greek colonization, in fact the origin of its name seems to derive from a Greek sentence which describes the place where skins were dried in the sun. In the historic core of the village there are some old churches, including the oldest one dedicated to St. Nicholas, built in the seventeenth century and located in the little central square. Its façade is in neoclassical style and inside you can admire an amazing altar made of polychrome marble inlays and beautiful medieval marble columns. When you visit Gasperina there’s nothing better than getting lost in the narrow streets of the village, discovering old buildings and ancient doors set in stone.
To arrive in Gasperina from the sea is necessary to drive for about 7 km along a winding road that climbs, with many curves, up to about 400 meters above sea level. All the area is surrounded by olive trees and when the sun shines high in the sky the silvery leaves swaying in the wind. The first building you will meet when you arrive to the top of the hill, before to enter in the village, is an old but simple little church which overlooking a small garden with a lush palm and a tall column topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary. Next to the little church, there is a modest building now used as a home for the elderly. The little church was also built in the XVII century but its origin is probably related to a military post in Roman times. Well, from this natural balcony it is possible to have the most beautiful and breathtaking view over the Ionian Sea that you can have along the east coast in Calabria. From here with the look you can embrace the whole Gulf of Squillace and the Calabrian coast for many kilometers. Here blue sky merges with the deep marineblue sea. And at night, then, when the coast is illuminated, the show is guaranteed!
On the other side of the village you can admire another landscape, characterized by the nearby village of Montauro (it is also old and similar to Gasperina) and the ruins of the monastery of St. James, which was destroyed by the terrible earthquake in 1783. From Gasperina is possible to take a walk up to the monastery and to admire its impressive and romantic walls.
Gasperina is the ideal place where to sleep in the night because near the sea the temperature is very much warm (sometimes there are also 40 degrees), while on the hill the weather is more fresh, so is preferable to go down to the sea in the morning and back to the village in the evening, especially during the summer, when the main street of Gasperina is closed to traffic and you can walk along the centre in the company of friends while enjoying a coffee or a fresh ice cream at one of the many bars overlooking the street.
When, from Gasperina, you come down to the sea, you will find a long free beach formed by white sand with a crystal and clear sea, but soon dark blue, because immediately deep. Along the coast there are a lots of shops and restaurants and life, especially in summer, when tourists arrive here from everywhere, is fizzy. Not so far from this beach in front of Gasperina, there are two touristic places: Pietragrande, which is a great rock into the sea, and Copanello surrounded by many tourist accommodations. Last but not least, few kilometres from Gasperina and always along the coast, you will find the town of Soverato, one of the most popular resorts in Calabria, called for its beauty the “pearl of the Ionian Sea”. Soverato, during the summer months, becomes a destination for many tourists who, besides being attracted by the natural beauty of the nature and sea, seeking fun offered by the promenade with its many restaurants and nightlife. The chili is definitely the symbol of this area and in particular of Soverato. This spicy food is in fact the basis of many dishes of the local culinary traditions (such as the “soppressata” and the “’nduja”, two tasty sausages stuffed with chili, delicacies for lovers of spicy foods).
So in this little corner of Italy it is possible to find sun and sea, nature and culture, relax and fun. It is a place that definitely worth a visit.
This article was a contest submission by Luca Manfredi