I came to Bova Marina, a small coastal town in Reggio Calabria province in the south of Calabria, for work for four nights in May 2019. Italy in general was having its worst spring for years when I was there, not that I minded as I hate working in hot weather, but the town seemed a little drab and quiet as a result. Sadly I managed to lose all my photos so apologies for the lack of visual embellishments in the next few posts.
Visitors to Italy sometimes wonder why there are often two or even three towns with the same name clustered together, with one down by the coast, usually with the train station, and another, the main town, on a hill a few kilometres inland. The reason is that historically the coastal towns were prone to attack by raiders, so people moved inland to more defensible sites. However they usually had an outpost on the coast for fishing and trading purposes. Such is the case with Bova Superiore (see next post) and Bova Marina. Obviously it’s hard for a train to get up to the hill towns, so the station is usually in the smaller satellite town by the sea.
I stayed at the simple but pleasant Il Girasole for three nights in May 2019. The hotel is run by Maurizio who co-owns it with his brother and sister who are usually abroad. However his brother Gianfranco had come back from Mexico with his wife Hilda to help get the hotel ready for the summer. All three of them were very welcoming and hospitable.
The hotel is a little hard to find (map here). Turn right out of the station and walk straight along Corso Umberto I till you come to the Villa Comunale, a little park on the right. Just after you get to the park, look behind you to the right and you’ll see some stairs going down to a narrow passage which will take you under the train track and onto the lungomare. There are several of these passages along the street, all of varying sizes, which double as storm drains. When it rains a lot, torrents of water come down from the hills and the drains are vital for getting the water out of the town as quickly as possible. Not sure what you’re supposed to do though if you live on the lungomare and get trapped there by a torrent.
Other than a rather plain Stile Liberty villa on Corso Umberto I, there’s not much to see in terms of architecture except for an unusual Eclectic building on the far side of the Villa Comunale park which seems to double as the town hall and a school for teaching Greek (Streeview here). The reason for this is that Bova is the capital of Bovesia, one of two remaining Greek speaking areas in the south of Italy (see my next post for more facts about Bovesia).
The restaurants I had researched either couldn’t be found with Google maps, which seemed quite inaccurate here, or weren’t very good (avoid the kebab restaurant Il Chioschetto on Corso Umberto I which was the TripAdvisor #1 when I went in May 2019). However this place was okay…
Platia Niki (Low Intermediate B), Via Dalmazio d’Andrea
Although it’s a pizzeria, the pizzas aren’t particularly good (B-/C), however I was quite impressed by their mixed seafood and vegetable grill (B+). Their mozzarella and tomato salad was quite nice too (B). The young guys running it became quite well disposed towards me after three visits.
I did have an okayish tuna mixed salad at the hotel one lunchtime but was put off from eating there again by finding a foreign body of uncertain origin in my food. However I did have a drink with the affable Maurizio one night and he introduced a local speciality to me, an amaro called Kephas which I encountered a few other times around Calabria. It was invented at a local agriturismo called “i Petru I ‘Ntoni” which is in the countryside between Bova Marina and Bova Superiore.
So it seems all the interesting stuff is out of town, more of which in the next post on Bova Superiore…