Rediscovering Italy next summer: Air Transat invites travellers to explore the south of the country

Montreal, March 26, 2019 Air Transat, named the 2018 World's Best Leisure Airline, is now offering Canadians the many charms of Southern Italy with two direct flights to Lamezia from Toronto. This destination is also available from Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary via Toronto. Of course, Rome and Venice, both accessible via direct flights from Montreal and Toronto, need no introduction. But for a taste of something new, the south of the country, with its cornucopia of activities and lush landscapes, is just waiting to be discovered. 

Lamezia, a gateway to Southern Italy

Located in the heart of Calabria, Lamezia is the perfect gateway to all the splendour found in the south. The region’s capital, Catanzaro, is 30 minutes away by car. Two hours south of Lamezia lies the largest Mediterranean island, Sicily. And to the north, the regions of Basilicata and Apulia are easy to get to as well.

Europe the easy way with Transat

Transat offers the Charms of Calabria multi-city package, which lasts nine days and seven nights. Travellers can add their choice of six à la carte visits, including the Aeolian Islands and Taormina, in Sicily.

Calabria: seaside and culinary joys in a mountain setting

Bordered by the Ionian Sea to the east and Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, Calabria boasts nearly 800 km of shoreline with turquoise waters, towering cliffs and idyllic beaches. It’s often described as the “land between two seas.” While the Tyrrhenian is lined with majestic cliffs and wild, white-sand beaches, the Ionian coast presents calmer, equally inviting waters. From Lamezia, the various villages perched by the Tyrrhenian Sea between the towns of Capo Vaticano and Tropea are gems just waiting to be discovered.

What’s more, Calabria is home to Sila and Aspromonte, two mountain national parks with trails where outdoor enthusiasts can admire local flora amid breathtaking landscapes.  

As everyone knows, Italy and fine gastronomy go hand in hand, and Calabria has no shortage of local specialties. Here are a few worth sampling:

Tartufo di Pizzo: One great reason for visiting Pizzo is its signature tartufo di Pizzo. The dessert is made of two or more flavours of ice cream and fruit, and is typically in a chocolate shell. 
Nduja: This is a spicy, spreadable sausage from Spilinga made of pork shoulder and belly—not to mention a generous quantity of hot pepper. 
Cedro: This oval, bumpy-skinned fruit (known as citron in English) is the lemon’s larger cousin. Its pulp is yellow or acidic green. Its most popular uses are in liquore di cedro, a regional liquor, and panicelli, small raisin bundles wrapped in citron leaves. 

Peperoncino di Spilinga: Peppers are like red gold in Calabria, and the peperoncino di Spilinga is used in a number of regional foods, such as soppressata, a type of typical Calabrian salami.

Olive oil: As much as 28% of Italy’s olive oil comes from Calabria, making it the region the country’s second-largest producer. This “green gold” is rather unique, with a slightly bitter, almost spicy taste.
Sicily: a wealth of natural treasures

In addition to the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas, Sicily dips into the Mediterranean, making the island ideal for aquatic sports, including scuba diving, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Plus, Sicily has many beaches, each with its own character, depending on its location. Northeastern beaches tend to have larger grains of sand, while southeastern beaches are among the prettiest and wildest on the island, known for their fine, golden sand. So there’s something for everyone. The waters are synonymous with balneology, a medical science used in Italy since Roman times; it consists in soaking in thermal waters to relax the body, among other treatments.  

Sicily is a joy for anyone eager to admire nature in its purest state. Here are a few of the wonders they will find:

Taormina: This village, with its medieval charm, dates back to the Hellenistic period. Atop a hill more than 200 m high, it offers panoramic views of the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. It’s one of the area’s must-sees.

Mount Etna: The highest volcano in Europe is one of the most active in the world. It has long captivated nature lovers, who enjoy visiting the summit’s active craters.

Aeolian Islands: A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000, this archipelago off the coast of Sicily is bathed in crystalline waters. The islands are home to ever-active volcanoes, such as Stromboli.

Stromboli: Europe’s most active volcano is given to frequent, spectacular eruptions. Lucky are those who witness Sciara del Fuoco, a stream of lava flowing down into the sea.

Vulcano: With its constant volcanic activity, this island greets visitors with the acrid smell of sulphur. People can bathe in the mud or loll on black-sand beaches, such as Spiaggia dell'Asino.

About Air Transat

Air Transat is Canada’s number one holiday airline. It flies to some 60 destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe, offers domestic and feeder flights within Canada, and carries some 5 million passengers every year. Based in Montreal, the company employs 3,000 people. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel and offering vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel. Transat was awarded Travelife certification in 2018 in recognition of its commitment to sustainable development.

Recent distinctions and awards (2017-2018)

  • Named World’s Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax World Airline Awards
  • Voted Best Leisure/Charter Airline at the Agents’ Choice Awards presented by Baxter Travel Media
  • Voted Best Airline at the Trophées Uni-Vers awards organized by the Association des Agents de Voyages du Québec
  • Ranked among Canada’s Best Employers and first among airlines on Forbes magazine’s list

Contact: Marie-Annick Lalande, Public Relations and Marketing Advisor - Transat - 514-987-1616, ext. 4076

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