Golden Day 102: Borticello with Whitney Hickey
I am grateful to have Whitney Hickey join the Golden Days in Italy team, as an excellent intern with a passion. Whitney fell madly in love with Italy in 2012 when she went to the Culturforum Italian Language School in Cefalu, on Sicily’s northern coast. She didn’t want to leave after the course ended, and happily accepted a job as a nanny with a Sicilian family for the summer. The experience completely immersed Whitney in Italian culture, including joining in with a family tradition: taking a vacation for the entire month of August, to enjoy the pleasures of Calabria.
Here, Whitney shares her advice, that’s particularly great for family travel, for a Golden Day in Borticello:
The first thing I learned about traveling with a family in Italy, is that it’s impossible to stick to a schedule. This turned out to be a good thing. We were supposed to leave Sicily early in the morning, but we ended up running several hours late, so we got to watch an incredible sunset, as we rode on the ferry from Messina to Reggio Calabria.
A great vacation base (where we stayed), is Villaggio Costa del Turchese outside the seaside village of Borticello. It’s a great set up of condos of different sizes, that can be rented by the day, week or even for months. It has a gorgeous long private beach–white sand and clear blue waters.
There are activities here day and night–a volleyball court, and entertainers that offer water aerobics and dancing on the beach for kids, and they also perform plays. I loved biking down to the little resort market in the morning to pick up some fresh peaches for the kids. The beach snack bar, that serves delicious gelato, transforms to a disco in the evening.
Though it’s great to relax at the resort, here are a couple of ideas for day trips nearby:
As Cherrye wrote about in Golden Day 101, there is Le Castella, a massive fortress that is rumored to be the secret hideaway where Calypso held Ulysses in The Odyssey. You can tour the inside of this miraculous place, hiking up the little stairs and peeking out the windows. Often during the day you will see many people touring the town and playing in the sea. Be sure to grab a gelato while you’re walking around—Try the brioche which is the southern Italian version of our “ice cream sandwich”–sweet bread stuffed with gelato.
If you are feeling more adventurous, go to the Il Parco di Avventure, an eco-friendly adventure park surrounded by a forest in the beautiful Sila National Park. This is a magnificent place for the whole family , and you can even bring your dog. The entrance is free, and then you pay according to what activity you’d like to take part in–there is zip lining, tight rope walking, wall and tree climbing, trekking, and mountain biking.
For lunch you can have a barbecue in the park.. A traditional Calabrian dish is Carne Verde, grilled beef that’s seasoned with a spicy herb rub that may look a little strange at first, but tastes outstanding!
In the evening, enjoy the passeggiata around the villaggio and dancing at the Paradise disco. Everybody enjoys stopping in at the Caffe Aiello for a warm, fresh, deliciously filled cornetto and a cappuccino. You may be amazed (I was!) to see groups of friends and couples here laughing and talking at the wee hours of the morning…Here’s my photo from 4 a.m. last August…
Grazie mille Whitney…we’re making summer plans…