The Calabrian dialect was spoken in his home in Pittsburgh until the age of six, then “I learned American at school.” Katarina’s bilingualism is Calabria’s stalwart spy, unable to abandon its roots. After a life spent in America, At the age of 50 he decides to go back to his parents’ country: “My whole life changed after coming here for the first time. The country and the people living there changed everything. I started coming back more often,” he says in a mixed American dialect as he guides through the narrow streets of the historic center of Miglirina, a town of 700 inhabitants. to the last group of Americans visiting the village.
From America to Miglirina
From the country of origin it has become a destination for sustainable tourism on a human scale. Narrow streets, views of the Ionian Sea and the square, a meeting and meeting place. It is a short step from the United States to MiglirinaThree years is enough to create a tourist attraction that finds its point of connection in Catharina, a restaurateur in Pittsburgh and now a tour operator in Calabria: “When I came to visit, taking photos and videos and returning to America – he says – everyone asked me to come here“.
This is how he starts organizing in 2019 First two trips, one in summer and one at Christmasmeanwhile, thanks to the close collaboration with Pietro Hiram, Mayor of the Municipality of Miglirina, involved in the project to restore the historic center of the village: “It all started in 2005 with the analysis of development possibilities. We commissioned a study to experts at the national. University level – the Mayor still mentions – we decided Focus on village redevelopment for experiential tourism purposeA tourism sector that is very suitable for our territory, a small number of people and people who are ready to go around a small village and experience something different ».
Every house is a story
Thanks to a loan for the restoration of the historic center, 11 old houses have been renovated and are now transformed into a sprawling hotel: “Each house bears the names of those who lived there in the 1950s and 1960s And from an urban architectural point of view they have the same color for easy identification. Even the interior decorations are recovered from what was originally in this house – Meyer explains -. The headboard, the wardrobe were created by a Calabrian craftsman starting from the wood found in the houses ».
The peace of the village
Abandoned houses as a result of migration are today returning to new life. After a short break imposed by the pandemic in 2020, the trip resumed in 2021 and this year with the arrival of four organized groups: “We are already working to improve services and increase accommodation capacity,” says the mayor. Americans like to spend their vacations in small villages and often return in summer and winter: “I take them to Tropea, Scilla, Crotone – says Katarina -, all the enchanting places in Calabria, but the Americans prefer to stay in Miglirina.: To sleep, to live, to be in touch with people, because they love peace ».
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