Belmonte is a beautiful little village. We all loved it. Our girls (6 and 2) loved exploring the "secret passageways"; we dined al fresco at Intru u Vico and on our balcony (eating their food); Francesco and Andrea (and the Mamma and Papa) were incredibly nice and helpful. Most days we went to the bar at the end of the village where the girls had their granita. Daniele gave us a guided tour of the ruined castle and would have guided me up Monte Cocuzzo if I'd found the energy, but I just couldn't. We visited many of the villages around: Lago, Terruti, Fiumefreddo, Amantea, Cleto and some other little ones up in the mountains whose names I've forgotten. We attended the swordfish festival in Fiumefreddo and ate (and drank) like royalty (off plastic plates). We took early morning walks through the countryside around the village. We chatted to many of the locals and were gifted wine, tomatoes, cucumbers, figs, and bread. We swam in the sea at Belmonte Marina almost every day. We drove to Cosenza and got happily lost in the centro storico then ate like royalty in Ristorante Calabria Bella, this time off real plates. We explored the castle at Cleto then had lunch in a nearby agriturismo and ate the finest spread of food I've tasted in a while. Afterwards we were treated to a guided tour of the farm (where all our food had come from) by the chef. Wonderful.
And the apartment was perfect. Very charming, lots of character, comfortable, fantastic terrace with views of the mountains and the Med. Your comment in a previous email ("The apartment is yours for those two weeks", I think you wrote) made us feel very comfortable and very much at home. Thank you for that. We were lucky enough to see Stromboli the first few days, which was a real treat. (Apparently the summer haze normally obscures it.) And Francesco was always a complete star downstairs. He and his family, and especially his restaurant, really added an extra richness to our experience (and an extra inch to our waistlines).
We never used the internet - we had no need, or wish, to be connected to the outside world! Olympics? What Olympics?
And now I'm hooked on Calabria. I think the Aspromonte next time, although Sergio in the little tourist agency office around the corner from the apartment advised against it - said it's too undeveloped. Sounds perfect.