Old Calabria By Norman Douglas


It was exhilarating to traverse these middle heights with their aerial
views over the Ionian and down olive-covered hill - Page 270
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It Was Exhilarating To Traverse These Middle Heights With Their Aerial Views Over The Ionian And Down Olive-Covered Hill-Sides Towards The Wide Valley Of The Crati And The Lofty Pollino Range, Now Swimming In Midsummer Haze.

The road winds in and out of gullies where rivulets descend from the mountains; they are clothed in cork-oak, ilex, and other trees; golden orioles, jays, hoopoes and rollers flash among the foliage.

In winter these hills are swept by boreal blasts from the Apennines, but at this season it is a delightful tract of land.



San Demetrio, famous for its Italo-Albanian College, lies on a fertile incline sprinkled with olives and mulberries and chestnuts, fifteen hundred feet above sea-level. They tell me that within the memory of living man no Englishman has ever entered the town. This is quite possible; I have not yet encountered a single English traveller, during my frequent wanderings over South Italy. Gone are the days of Keppel Craven and Swinburne, of Eustace and Brydone and Hoare! You will come across sporadic Germans immersed in Hohenstaufen records, or searching after Roman antiquities, butterflies, minerals, or landscapes to paint - you will meet them in the most unexpected places; but never an Englishman. The adventurous type of Anglo-Saxon probably thinks the country too tame; scholars, too trite; ordinary tourists, too dirty. The accommodation and food in San Demetrio leave much to be desired; its streets are irregular lanes, ill-paved with cobbles of gneiss and smothered under dust and refuse.

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