Calabria: The Other Italy

Calabria book

Calabria: The Other Italy

ONCE THE HUB OF THE MEDITERRANEAN, Calabria now dangles, largely ignored, at the bottom of the Italian boot, struggling for survival, acceptance and a place in modern Italy and the world. Little-known even to Italians outside the nefarious activities of its ‘Ndrangheta mafia organization, Calabria allures with its simplicity and rewards with an underlying complexity, as in the savoring of an artisanal cheese, appreciating an ancient Greek masterwork or interpreting a particularly expressive phrase in the local dialect.
Based on the author’s experiences, living, working and traveling throughout the region, as well as on extensive research, Calabria: The Other Italy paints a compelling picture of contemporary Calabria. The book intertwines observation, personal anecdote, salient historical information and social commentary into a nonfiction narrative that combines travelogue with an exploration of everyday life and culture. At times humorous, at others poignant, this fascinating work shares the joys and challenges of the “other Italy.”
From colorful tales of encounters with the Calabrese people to those of a windsurfing saint, from the unparalleled pair of 2,500-year-old Riace Bronzes to a couple of dancing giants, from ancient castles and towers to pristine beaches and mountains, from the unique bergamot fruit to an exceptional culinary tradition, Calabria: The Other Italy embraces daily life, culture, history, the arts, food, society and tourism of this beautiful, southern Italian region.


“A phenomenal book that captures the heart and soul of one of Italy’s most obscure and attractive regions” — PRIMO Italian American Magazine
“Part history, part travel guide, part memoir – and as informed and informative as it is engaging and entertaining” — Midwest Book Review
 “An intoxicating blend of humor, joy, and reverence for this area in Italy’s deep south” — Publisher’s Weekly
“Charming and refreshingly honest” — Ambassador, Magazine of the National Italian American Foundation
“When I started reading this book, all I knew about Calabria was pizza calabrese. Now it’s on my list of places to visit!”  — Women on the Road Travel Website

Buy Calabria: The Other Italy

Available in Paperback and all E-book versions

Outside the US – or google it in your country!

What Readers are Saying

“We have several books on southern Italy and Calabria specifically since my wife has numerous relatives there. This is without a doubt, the single best book we have read on the subject…. Should anyone be in a position to visit Calabria, or is even just thinking about going to Italy and wondering what part they would like to visit that is off the touristy path, this is definitely a book to read. In fact, read it anyway, It’s beautifully written and very descriptive of a deeply historic area of Italy. Few who visit Italy as tourists, and perhaps even few Italian-Americans with roots there, are fully aware of its cultural depths.” — Amazon Reader
“I found Karen’s book by accident. My deceased father’s family is from Calabria and I am planning to travel there next fall. I wanted to get to know the area and began looking at “guidebooks.” Calabria: The Other Italy is not a guide book. IT’S BETTER. After reading through the first essay, I desperately wanted to know more about this part of the country that had always been in my heart if not on my mind. The author keenly observes the Calabrian people without judgement, and offers her insights into the motivations for how things work in Calabria. I finished reading this book in record time, so absorbed was I in the manner in which Karen describes the historical sites, the food and the people. When I finished, I felt like I had made the trek myself. Pick up a copy if you have any relations to Calabria, or plans to travel to southern Italy. It was a worthwhile read without having to page through the exhaustive details of “must see” listings.” — Amazon Reader
 “I’ve read and absolutely loved your book on Calabria. It brought back memories of my youth growing up in Gioia Tauro and going around playfully in Calabria. The cultural essence of Calabria and its people that you depicted in your book touched me deeply.” — Facebook Reader
“I took my time reading Calabria: The Other Italy, and savored each chapter as one might enjoy traveling through the region, tasting a bit of this and that, seeing the varied sights and taking in all the universal personalities that somehow seem more alive and exciting when you’re in a new place. When I finished, all of those vignettes merged into a larger picture of the region of Calabria, and had me thinking about when I might be able to plan a visit – the sooner, the better! The author, Karen Haid, has a knack for wry observation and artful description, and has crafted a book that should find a larger audience than just those interested in Italy. Lacking the self-indulgence of some other well-known travel re-tellings, one still gets to know the author without her insisting that she be the star; instead, as it should be, the star is Calabria.” — Amazon Reader
“This book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in Italy beyond the descriptions of blue seas and skies which we read about on a daily basis and of which hundreds, if not thousands, of books crowd the travel section in every bookshop. I loved it and found it a fascinating snapshot of a region of Italy which is mysterious and perhaps slightly forbidding to those of us who have never visited. It captures the culture, with its ancient history and time-honoured customs in a setting of mountains and sea where the people are friendly and were certainly eager to show off their region to a blonde American lady when she spent time living among them. Written in a highly readable and amusing style, I can recommend this book to anyone with a love of Italy.”  — Travel Blogger

“One of the best books I have ever read, brilliantly written yet easy and pleasant to read. Very informative with descriptive language giving the reader the impression of being in Calabria.” — Amazon Reader

Also by the author

Basilicata: Authentic Italy

The essence of Basilicata, a small, diverse region in the unassuming instep of the Italian boot – from the renowned Sassi di Matera to the most remote mountain village, this in-depth travel essay explores a land of magnificent natural beauty, its rich culture and a proud people whose contemporary lives harmoniously mingle with longstanding tradition.

Basilicata book

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