Walking through Old Town Rossano Calabro

When I was 17, I spent my summer in Southern Italy. I had a couple of different host families and one of them was in a town called Rossano Calabro.

Rossano was a city divided; it was split into two different sections, separating the old from the new. Modern Rossano laid beside the sea, expanding in population and technology. Old Town Rossano Calabro was hidden within the nearby mountains that seemed to protect it from time itself.

Rossano Calabro is a beautiful old Italian city rich in culture; it is the city that made me love travel in the way that I do today.

Upon leaving the modern city behind we weaved our way around the bends, making our way higher and higher up the mountain. The roads were thin and windy and oncoming cars zipped by without so much as a thought about the steep cliffs only inches from their tires.

The grass on the hillsides was dry and dead from the hot Italian summer sun, and waxy-leaved olive trees speckled the landscape. As modern day life disappeared in the rear-view mirror, we made our last turn into Rossano Calabro.

The first houses that I caught sight of seemed to be built into the cliffs themselves. As the mountains opened up, the space gave way to a large expanse of clay shingled roofs and numerous old church towers.

Standing on a road above the rest of the old village, I could see everything for miles around.

Descending into the old town, we walked among the narrow cobbled streets, exploring odd alley ways and peering into dark church doorways.

Walls looked like they were rusting away, and the common method of décor seemed to be chipped paint. Weeds grew out of every crack and most window shutters hung off one hinge.

The only buildings appearing “new” were the churches that had been repainted and restored. They stood out against the rest of the architecture.

I felt like I had stepped back in time, or like I was walking through the set of a Shakespeare production. Everything had a story and every person we passed had a long family history in the old city. Most people stared at me, knowing that I was not from around there.

Tiny cars spotted the tiny streets and people moved in slow motion. It was relaxing.

This was the very first time that I had ever been abroad. It was my first real trip, and I was alone in Italy with a brand new host family. They were incredibly nice to show me around their hometown, and made me feel like I was not just another tourist. I was a part of their little Italian family.

Not only was this my first trip, but this was the first city that I saw on my trip. I will always remember Rossano because it is the place that I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life traveling.

Here are a few images of the modern city of Rossano.

My Host Family’s Home

The Beach (and my first time in the Sea)

A Nightclub on the Beach

Strangely, there was a castle in the New Town

 

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