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Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Italian kinky boot: Apulia and Calabria

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Southern Italy often stops in Naples, for many travellers and foreign tour operators. A domestic flight takes them from there straight to Catania or Palermo, in Sicily. Nevertheless, the regions in the middle, such us Apulia and Calabria, can be a true discovery for the local gay community.

Apulia is one of the most important gay destinations in Italy: Gallipoli, on the Ionian Sea, is considered the southern capital of gay life. In summer, a number of resorts (GBeach, just to mention one) are completely dedicated to events, celebrations and parties for the community, as well as many discoes along the coast, which gather locals and tourists on the beach, and spending the nights in music, dance and a lot of cruising!

On the other hand, if you like a quiet place to enjoy the countryside, not a long way from the sea, then the Itria Valley (between Bari and Brindisi, well connected domestic airports) is the right place to choose. A number of traditional houses and farms (masserias) have been converted into glamorous boutique hotels and restaurants, by gay and lesbian couples from all over the world, who fell in love with the beauty of this part of Apulia, spotted by wild olive trees and where the sky is always blue. Valle D’Itria is growing in the gay wedding industry too, as an outstanding location for couples.

If you move southward, Calabria is the region between the two seas: Tyrrhenian and Ionian. It is said that the name ‘Italia’ comes from local tribes who lived here more than two thousand years ago. Calabria is Magna Greece, it witnesses the Greek life-style (Diaita, which means Diet) better than the rest of Italy. It has a lot to do with cultural dissemination, diversities and inclusion histories. Reggio Calabria itself, the breathtaking town just in front of Messina (Sicily) has been honoring the gay pride for some years now, thanks a community which strives to involve civilians in their social activities. The same happens in other small towns, which are growing sensitive about the themes of inclusivity, such as  Tropeathe Pearl of the Mediterranean’.

Calabria is a place to discover: its capital, Reggio Calabria, is where the Riace Bronzes are conserved at the National Museum and its promenade along the sea is said ‘the most beautiful kilometer in Italy’. Not forgetting the huge number of hamlets from North to South, of ancient Albanian communities and the perfect combination of sea and mountains, from Sila to Aspromonte.

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