The Grand Tour in Calabria

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The Grand Tour in Calabria
T h e G r a n dT o u ri n C a l a b r i a
Fromthe lBth centuryonwards,
intrepid
andusually
privileged
travellers
setoff fromEngland,
and
laterAmerica,
on the GrandTour.
Theiraimwasto discover
Europe,
and
Italyin particulaq
and by doingso to
- through
educate
themselves
language,
painting,
archaeology,
- in the art of
musicandliterature
knowing,of beingcosmopolitan.
Mosttravellers
stoppedat Naples,
with onlythe moreadventurous
continuing
by seaasfar afieldas
Sicily,
skipping
Calabria
on accountof
its poorroadnetworkand roving
bandits.
English
writerNorman
(1868-1
Douglas
952),however,
was
one of the bravetravellers
who spent
a considerable
amountof timein
journeying
Calabria,
the lengthand
breadthof the regionin 1907,i911
andagainin 1937,observing
and
interviewing,
and reflecting
as he
went,andmaintaining
scrupulously
detailed
traveldiaries.
Calabria,
afterall,wasa perfect
destination
for GrandTourists.
The
regiononcebelonged
to the mighty
MagnaGraecia
civilisation
and hada
longassociation
with the ancient
Greeks
andRomans,
it wasrichin
archaeological
treasures
anddotted
with exquisite
Byzantine
churches,
Carthusian
monasteries,
abbeys
and
cathedrals,
whichhida wealthof
vibrantfrescoes,
illuminated
manuscripts
andimportant
paintings.
In addition,
Calabria
boasted
an
arrayof landscapes
of the kindthe
GrandTourists,
romantics
at heart,
foundso alluring,
fromcraggycoves
and creamybeaches
to wooden
forestsanddramatic
valleys,
along
with mysterious
mountain-top
villages,
hometo mystical
religions
and secretsocieties,
whichthe
Tourists'
ìnsatjable
propelled
curiosity
themto explore.
A typicalGrandTourist,
Douglas
fell
in lovewith the untamednatureof
Calabria,
itscomplex
layers
of history
its unspoilt
naturalbeauty,
itsproud
peopleandtheirintriguing
customs.
Hewrote:'lt wasexhilarating
to
traverse
thesemiddleheights
with
theiraerialviewsoverthe lonianand
down olive-covered
hill-sides
towards
the widevalleyof the Cratiandthe
loftyPollino
range,now swimming
in
the midsummer
haze.'
Douglas's
(1915)
bookO/dCalabria
is probably
the mostcomprehensive
narrative
everwrittenaboutthe
region.Othertravellers
who explored
10t
.-;
,
'a]-:l
T o r r eC a m i g l r a tai n
, 1 8 t h - c e n t u rhyu n t i n gl o d g e n C a m i g l i a t e lSl oi l a n o
t h e a r e ai n c l u d eH e n r yS w i n b u r n e ,
a c T u a lm
l y e a n ?l t m e a n st h a ty o u c è n
AlexandreDumas,EdwardLearand
wanderthe beautifulgroundsto your
G e o r g eG i s s i n g .
heart'scontent,inhalethe aromaticair,
and stop to smellthe wild flowers,
ParcoOld Calabria at Torre
preferably
with a sketchbook,
a book
Camigliati
of poetryor a copy of Norman
As part of a largerprojectto revive
'Grand
T o u r 't o u r i s mi n C a l a b r i a n d
Douglass Old Calabria,availablefor
saleat the gift shop in the cultural
other partsof southernltaly,17 wild
centreat the formerbaronial
parks,gardensand other placeshave
residence.
Theresalsoa library
been dedicatedas ParchiLetterarì
multrmedia
centreand a pholo
ll itararv
Prrlz<l
Tho<a
:ro
srmospîer(
;
exhibitioninsideillustrating
the
locationsencounteredby great
CalabrianGrandTour.To take full
authorsand poets,from Giuseppe
advantageof the delightfulidea,check
Tomasidi Lampedusa
to Luigi
'^ +^ T^rr^
ll LU lul lq
who were so inspiredby
Pirandello,
nights,then grab a copyof therr
/- rminlir+r
LOrlllvlloLl
{^r.661
l U l O l v u p 1r 6
! lp
v6 {l
them that they createdliteraryworks
CalabrianGrand Tourltinerary and sel
the places.
that immortalised
off on your own adventure(seepl69).
The leafyparklandof Torre
Camigliati,
the grandancestral
home
Parco Old Calabria, Torre Camigliati,
Camigliatello Silano. Tel. (0984) 815
family,is one
of the nobleBarracco
782 00. www.oldcalabria.it. Call
What doesthis
suchParcoLetterario.
ahead. Freeadmission.