Article Written By Yvonne

Discover the Unknown in Calabria.

About!!

Virtually unknown to many who visit Calabria, is the impressive, mountainous area called La Sila approx 1 1/2 hrs drive from Lamezia airport.

A plethora of evergreen and deciduous trees, wide valleys, lakes and rivers can be found along with an extensive road system connecting the many ancient hilltop villages and towns that are scattered throughout this area.

Approx 2000 km², La Sila is divided into the 3 mountainous groups – Sila Grande, Sila Piccolo and Sila Greca. The highest peak, Mount Botte Donato at 1928m is in La Sila Grande.

History

The Romans discovered La Sila calling it Silva Bruttia, but exploited its natural resources of tall pine trees to build boats and houses while fighting with the native Calabrese.

Byzantine, Greek and Norman invasions on this dramatic region left their mark on its landscape and culture this added to its rich heritage and traditions. Visiting the many local villages is testament to this and regular festivals take place in celebration.

From the 2nd World War La Sila developed steadily with the construction of 3 artificial lakes, Lake Cecita being the most popular. These are used in the production of electricity and irrigation. If fishing is your passion, then with peaceful and breathtaking scenery, this is the place.

Local Produce

Farming is the main livelihood here. Local sausage, soppressate and pancetta are made from the meat of the local “Nero Calabrese,” a black pig. Traditionally used to feed the family during the winter months– this still continues today, but the meats are now sold at local markets along with many varieties of local cheese including caciocavallo Silano – a DOP registered cheese, smoked ricotta, mozzarella and pecorino. Porcini mushrooms found in abundance are handpicked by the locals, preserved in olive oil or dried can also be bought at the market.

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Well worth a try to treat your taste buds to the diverse foods and flavours of real Italy.

Culture

Many characteristic villages, retain their charm and are precariously positioned on the hillside or nestled between the peaks for protection. Culture and history abound and as you wander the narrow streets you will stumble across many original features, including a Norman arch in San Giovanni in Fiore, in Longobucco the Chiesa Matrice from the XV century has an impressive vestry and marble alter, highlight only a few.

Many old crafts are preserved and flourish in these villages; the making of rugs and linens and jewellery made in the filigree and Byzantine style can still be seen.

Activities

Today, modern Sila runs smoothly alongside the traditional with many activities waiting for exploration.  2002 saw La Sila become “il Parco Nazionale della Sila” with much being done to preserve the diverse flora and fauna that inhabit this area.

There has been an increase in roe deer and legislation to protect the nearly extinct wolf population in 1968, has been responsible for a managed, steady rise in numbers. Bird watchers have much to keep them occupied with sightings of owls, woodpeckers, falcons and eagles.

Outdoor activity groups organise orienteering in both the summer and winter months, skiing, ski-doos and canoeing.  You can also find quad bikes, horse riding and much more.

Meander through the tall larch pine, named “I Giganti della Sila” which is nature reserve hosting around 60 of the tallest pine trees that were planted around the 17th century.  Spare a thought – wood from these trees has been used in palaces, temples and on ships throughout Italy, although today they are protected and preserved by the Italian Forestry Commission.

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The main resort town, Camigliatello has much to offer year round, walking along the main street in the sunshine it’s hard to imagine this town covered in snow, but in winter it becomes the centre for the ski season. Surrounded by La Sila’s highest peaks it’s an ideal base for a ski holiday. There are 3 main ski areas; Complesso di Monte Curcio – with a recently installed a modern Tasso lift, open all year round. Rental of ski equipment and ski school are available.

Pagliara piste and the larger Lorica Cavaliere Monte Botte Donato, with 3 pistes of varying length are other options. Cross country skiing and skidoos are also available.

True to say for advanced skiers it may not be a great challenge, but it offers beautiful scenery, good food and warm hospitality. There are not many place where from the top of the piste in the distance you can see the sea!!

Come & See for yourself…

Driving around this mainly undiscovered part of Calabria with diverse colours, textures, sights and sounds it isn’t hard to see why the Calabrese have kept it to themselves, but as with many rural areas there is a need for tourism. Come and see for yourselves, but remember what its attraction really is!

About the Author(Yvonne)

Calabria Property Services, based in Calabria and established for over 16 years, is a reputable company dedicated to assisting individuals in finding their ideal property in this tranquil region of Italy. Specializing in guiding clients through the entire purchasing process, the company offers services such as property selection, arranging viewings, facilitating currency exchange, and accompanying clients to local official offices, including the Notary. Additionally, Calabria Property Services provides an extensive property management service, handling utilities, bill payments, and offering furniture packages for a seamless transition. The company has a team of experts, including builders, plumbers, and electricians, for property repairs and maintenance. For those looking to renovate, Calabria Property Services collaborates with trustworthy professionals to fulfill renovation dreams. Calabria is known for its captivating mix of ancient and modern, surrounded by spectacular scenery. The region offers traditional villages with historical sights, lush mountainside vegetation, and beautiful coastal beaches. The company's team of English and Italian speakers is available to provide more information and assistance.

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The failure of us to exercise or enforce any right or provision of these Terms of Service shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision.

These Terms of Service and any policies or operating rules posted by us on this site or in respect to The Service constitutes the entire agreement and understanding between you and us and govern your use of the Service, superseding any prior or contemporaneous agreements, communications and proposals, whether oral or written, between you and us (including, but not limited to, any prior versions of the Terms of Service).

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These Terms of Service and any separate agreements whereby we provide you Services shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Clyde Offices, 2nd Floor, 48 West George Street, Glasgow, BFP, G21BP, United Kingdom.

SECTION 19 – CHANGES TO TERMS OF SERVICE

You can review the most current version of the Terms of Service at any time at this page.

We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Service by posting updates and changes to our website. It is your responsibility to check our website periodically for changes. Your continued use of or access to our website or the Service following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Service constitutes acceptance of those changes.

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Questions about the Terms of Service should be sent to us at [email protected].