Carfizzi

Carfizzi is one of the smallest, but also one of the prettiest villages in the province of Crotone, Calabria. It has always been special for both locals and foreign guests, thanks to its history and cultural heritage.

Main street of Carfizzi, Calabria
Main street of Carfizzi, Calabria

The story of Carfizzi

Hidden in the hills of Calabria lies a tiny village with pastel-colored houses and quaint meandering streets overlooking a breathtaking panorama. For those who are unfamiliar with the history of Carfizzi will be surprised by the town’s unusual local language.  In the 15th Century, many Christian Albanians sought refuge in the south of Italy to escape the Ottoman expansion in the Balkans. They settled in many small villages all over the region. Three villages happened to be formed in the province of Crotone: San Nicola dell’Alto, Pallagorio and Carfizzi. Together they make a small community of Albanian diaspora. The name of this ethnicity and language is called arberesh – the branch of the old Gheg Albanian, which has taken vocabulary from contemporary Italian and local dialects. The arberesh language has been developing over centuries after the Albanians came to Italy, and it differs slightly from province to province.

One of the streets in Carfizzi, Calabria.
Village of Carfizzi, Calabria.

Carfizzi is tiny, but well taken care of. Clean, cozy and calm. It is mainly populated by retired farmers in the winter, but becomes more dynamic and lively in summer when all the Carfizzoti that live abroad come back to spend summer with friends and families. You can sometimes hear them speaking other languages like German or French. In the summertime, you can also see kids playing football in the central square of Kryqi till late, as if untouched by the temptations of smartphones!

Houses in Carfizzi, Calabria.
Houses in Carfizzi, Calabria.

Cultural heritage: Carmine Abate

Of all the countless wonderful places in Calabria, Carfizzi is probably one of the most tourist-friendly villages to visit. Due to its location, unusual history and culture, it is a bit of a must-see for international travelers.  Carfizzi is especially known as the birthplace to one of the most quoted contemporary Italian writers, Carmine Abate. In his many books Abate described the place with love and sentiment, detailing the streets, houses, and old neighborhoods. As a native arberesh, he refers to the village as Hora. In 2015 the locals opened a small literature museum in his name – Parco Letterario Carmine Abate. But even if you don’t make it to the museum, stroll into any bar and the locals are sure to fill you in on the stories about young Carmine Abate and his childhood before you take the first sip of your drink!

Panoramic view from Carfizzi: Ionian coast in the horizon. Calabria
Panoramic view from Carfizzi: Ionian coast in the horizon. Calabria

Things to do around Carfizzi

Carfizzi is a perfect destination for a city getaway. There are lots of apartments to rent for the summer, and the place is surrounded by Parco della Montagnella – a huge hiking park, which has trails of various distance, difficulty and destinations – from the little waterfall of Giglietto to the heights of the Monte Pizzuta (676m).  On top of that, the beach is just a 20-minute drive away – at little seaside town of Cirò Marina, with bars for aperitivo, shops and restaurants.

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