Calabria is one of the least modernized regions of the entire Italian “boot” which makes it a fascinating place to travel and eat. The coastline is relatively empty with beautiful and immaculate sparkling water beaches. The coast is dotted by towns dating to Ancient Greece, among them Crotone.
Travel down the A3 to Cosenza then east on the E846 through Sila National Park to Crotone. Don’t stop until you reach Casa di Rosa where baked mussels, smoked tuna loin, linguine with monkfish ragu, spaghetti with ovotarica (Calabrese bottarga), and tiny sole with sweet red onions from Tropea will fill your tub.
At the slightly fancier da Ercole, the crudo antipasti of raw and marinated fish is followed by maccheroni with squid ink, bug-like “cigale” with garlic and oregano, and a sublime bergamot semifreddo. Also excellent is La Sosta di Marcello, situated in the elegant Palazzo Merigliano, where the delicious, air-filled ricotta and anchovy fritters set the tone for a beautiful lunch that includes monkfish polpette and mussels in a sweet pepper stew with olio santo that could soothe any savage beast.