Living in (South) Italy #1 – The weather

Mmmh…the sun, always warm temperatures, an eternal summer.
If that’s what you’re looking for, then Calabria is not the place. Although there is a lot of sun going on down here, we still have something called winter. And it is everything but pleasant. But let’s have a closer look on calabrian weather and just go through it step by step…or season by season.

Spring

Spring usually starts between February and March, which is quite early compared to other, northern places. Temperatures are now between 15-20°C, but they’ll soon go up and from May onwards people start going to the beach. Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s always sunny and warm in Italy’s tip of the boot. It actually may rain, even a lot, which, after all, is not so bad, as it gives the whole landscape a beautiful green touch. However, one of the South’s major characteristics is the wind. So, whenever you come to southern Italy, but especially in spring and early summer, be prepared for a lot of wind, and, with that, a lot of sand everywhere.

Summer

The warmest season is also the longest one, ranging nearly from May to October. Of course, May and October are not the months to come here if you’re looking for hot, tropical weather. But you can still enjoy some nice warm days even this early or late in the year. The hottest days can be found, of course, during July and August. That’s the time of the year nobody is doing anything, besides going to the beach. Sure, people still have to work or study, but they’ll probably use any free minute to get some refreshing from either the sea or the A/C. In fact, Air conditioning, shutters and water are your best friends. And instead of a hot cappuccino or espresso, you can get iced coffee in most bars.

During summer, and especially August, several festivals and events take place all over the region, varying from modern pop and rock concerts, to traditional music festivals, as well as cultural and culinary events.

This is also the time of the year you’ll see a lot of fires throughout the countryside. Most of them are actually set intentionally and controlled. Others, unfortunately, are not, not only causing damage to the environment, but also costing the region a lot of money. So unlike spring, summer is a mostly dry season with brown and grey fields surrounded by the constant chirr of cicadas.

Autumn

This isn’t really a season down here. When you talk about autumn, you either talk about the end of summer, which would be October, or the beginning of winter, which would be November. And it is quite difficult to describe this time of the year, because it may be warm and sunny, but it also may not. Last year I went out in shorts and a t-shirt in the first week of November, but had to dress with my winter jacket at the end of the month.

Best thing about autumn is definitely the harvesting, which means, a lot of wine and festivals, the so-called sagre, usually celebrated around September and October.

Winter

As I mentioned above, we do have something in Calabria that one could call winter. If you’ve read another one of my articles, you probably know that this winter may even include snow, though it is limited mainly to the mountainous inland.

To describe this season, I’d like to cite a German exchange student who recently visited the south and told me “I’ve never been freezing so much like I did here”.

Now, why’s that? First of all, due to long summers and short winters, but also to the fact that a lot of the houses along the coastline are originally summer residences, Italians didn’t really invest into heating systems. Our home, too, has only an A/C, but no heating. Of course, temperatures are milder than in northern countries. Nevertheless, having only 10-15°C at home can be quite annoying from time to time (for example at 6 o’clock in the morning). In addition, the climate along the cost is obviously humid, which makes it even colder. And as if this wasn’t enough, there is also a lot of rain going on during this season, particularly in December.

Finally, one thing I really miss in South Italy is this nice warm and cozy feeling around Christmas time. Not only because it is cold, but also because Italians have some kind of aversion to coziness.

 

So, this said, you can’t but love Calabria during spring and summer. As for the winter, I think there are other places definitely more likeable than this one.

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Out on a snowshoe adventure

Believe it or not, we do have snow in South Italy. Sometimes.

Calabria has almost 800 km of coastline, but the rest that’s in-between are mostly big mountain ranges: Sila, Aspromonte and Serre. And as I’m a huge mountain lover, we sometimes pack our stuff and take off for a little excursion.

This winter has been quite cold and thus, we had some nice snow in January. (Of course, only in the mountains) Coa and I therefore decided to have a little fun with our TSL 226 Randos. Continue reading

Mount Etna

Have  you ever been on a volcano?

This mountain is definitely a must see whenever you come to southern Italy.

With a height of over 3200 m, a perimeter of almost 250 km, four main craters and nearly 400 secondary craters, the Etna massif is Europe’s tallest active volcano. And yes, it is quite impressive. Especially as there is nothing else as big as this mountain around, so that, wherever you are, you’ll have a full sight on it. And when on the Etna, you’ll have an incredible view on Sicily. Continue reading