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It was early November and the off-season, but still it was a bit shocking. Our caravan of cars, full of relatives and friends, pulled into the tourist town of Diamante for lunch. This restaurant bar was one of the few places open, and they have no red wine, only white. No red wine? In an Italian joint?! Not to worry, says Pepino (in Calabrese Italian as he didn't speak English). He goes to his car, opens the trunk and returns bearing two bottles of homemade red wine in flower-decorated bottles. "He wouldn't like the vina bianca," Roberto confides.

To be sure, this was not the finest of wines. Aunt Loretta wrinkles her nose after a sip. But we're glad to have it to go with our lunch of spaghetti, mussels and squid. Afterward, we take a passeggiata along the Diamante wharf in the mid-afternoon light.



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