Calabria – Reggio Calabria province – exploring Bova Superiore

Bova Superiore is the historical capital of Bovesia, one of two formerly Greek-speaking enclaves in the south of Italy (the other is Grecia Salentina in Puglia) which have existed since the expansion of Magna Graecia in pre-Roman times. Very few people speak the old Greek dialect now but the influence of the culture can still be found in local place names and dishes.

I was intrigued to visit old Bova so on my day off Maurizio’s brother Gianfranco drove me up from Bova Marina (about thirty minutes and 20€) and I walked back (around two and a half hours). Gianfranco grew up in the area and had lots to say about the beautiful landscape as we were driving through it. He reminisced about walking the route home with his mother. She would shoot game along the way, which it was his job to carry.

Before lunch I spent a couple of hours walking around taking photos of the old houses and taking in the fantastic views. Those from the old Norman castle at the top of the hill (itself just a few fragments of old walls) were particularly good. Sadly I’ve managed to lose them all, sorry again.

You’ll find everywhere mentioned on my map.

After my walk I had a cold Peroni at the tiny Bar i’Platia in Piazza Roma and would have followed up with a traditional pita from La Lestopitta da Mimmo at 20 Via Vescovado but instead decided to save myself for a large lunch at Kalòs Jero (Intermediate B+), an agriturismo a short walk out of town at 5 Via Campo.

The meal started with a vast array of Antipasti. From 8 o’clock we have fresh ricotta, salami, capocollo, pancetta, parmagiana, two kinds of frittura and in the middle a pepper stuffed with breadcrumbs. Above that plate we have a plate of oninons in agro-dolce, finocchio selvatica (wild fennel), and some beans stewed with a couple of chunks of fatty pork.

After this I had Strozzapreti (strangled priest) pasta with broad beans followed by a mixed grill with three kinds of pork; a chop (C+), a sausage (C) and a kind of pancetta (B). Finally a dessert of Crema di Limone and a shot of Amaro di Capo. It was a lot of food and I didn’t manage to finish everything, but I nailed most of it. With a half litre of red wine, the final price was an astonishing 25€!

It was great, but if I’d had a car, I might have gone to their rival down the road because Agriturismo di Petru i ‘Ntoni is famous for making their own digestivi.

After such a large meal I was very glad that the walk back was downhill! A few kind people stopped to offer lifts but it was such a lovely day that I kept on walking so I could enjoy the views.

We’re off to Polistena, another Calabrian town, next…

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