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Sila and Presila

Sila, an almost alpine landscape and a fairytale forest

Sila Plateau is the green lung of Calabria.
It’s the green paradise and the northern face of a region that for two thirds of the territory presents places 600 meters high above sea level.
A surprising fact since we are used to see only images of beaches and cliffs through the media.
It is located south of the plain of Sibari, bordered by the Crati valley, and even further south surrounded a little by the Savuto valley and a little by the Lamezia and Catanzaro plains.
Sila Plateau is located in the widest and most continental part of Calabria.
Sila’s geographical configuration is a perfect plateau: we find mountains that are located in its center or on its sides (with ridges alternating with valleys), the plateau is entirely circumscribed by a more or less steep escarpment.
A contour of mountain peaks, steep gorges cut through the rock sides and you can see streams of water flowing.
The most evident features: mountains with horizontal lines, soft hilly ridges, airy valleys, some have called them the “Calabrian Alps”.
The name comes from the Greek “hyle” and the Latin “silva”, both indicating the forest, the wood …

Sila Grande, Sila Piccola, Sila Greca

For descriptive convenience, we talk about more… Silas !!
Sila Greca (the north-eastern part of the plateau) is a large area of villages that over the centuries have had Byzantine, Greek, Albanian and Balkan influences.
We speak of Sila Grande (Monte Botte Donato, 1928 mt, the highest peak among the Sila mountains), to refer to the very extensive alternation of valleys and mountains with the artificial lakes of Cecita and Arvo in the centre.
To the south of Montenero (1881 mt), on the other hand, there is another vast area called Sila Piccola, characterized by wild and woody ridges, heavenly valleys, by river gorges that flow into the Ionian Sea, as well as by another artificial lake called Ampollino.

Mountain tourism in the Sila National Park

Camigliatello Silano, Lorica, Palumbo Sila are top destinations for tourist arrivals.
There are several attractive areas, as Sila spreads over more than 150 thousand hectares in the provinces of Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone.
You can use ski lifts and then you can do downhill skiing, very lightly.
The vast forest offers wonderful trails for cross-country skiing.
This is an immense protected area, a national park that has the Apennine wolf as an identity image.

Giant trees, yummy mushrooms and the PGI Sila potato

In general, the symbolic tree of Sila is the larch pine (pino laricio).
However, there are extensive beech, maple, chestnut and then oak trees such as durmast.
The heterogeneity of the vegetation is a feature much appreciated by explorers and photographers kidnapped by the autumn foliage.
Sila is also a “gold mine” for porcini mushroom hunters, as well as a renowned place for growing a potato with PGI protection.
In the paradise of Sila Greca (slopes of Cozzo del Pesco) there are cyclopic trees, 11 meters circumference and 800 years old.
In Sila Grande, in the Fallistro and Gallopane areas, we have laricio pines 40 meters high, crazy 2 meters diameters 😮 !!

A sandwich with sausage and PDO caciocavallo silano by the lake

Cecita, Arvo and Ampollino artificial lakes offer sublime sceneries.
Around them a circuit of paths allows you to make the most rewarding trekking experience in the green that you could wish for.
It is even more beautiful to stop by the lake to take a bite of the tastiest sandwich, the typical one with sausage and caciocavallo, you must taste it in Sila 🤤 !
A child dream, an Eden for nature lovers.

San Giovanni in Fiore, Sila hub

In San Giovanni in Fiore city the Florense Abbey is the sacred place founded by the great abbot thinker Gioacchino da Fiore.
He’s one of the medieval figures symbolizing religious Calabria.

A big mistery in that… stone!

Some news, for the mystery hunters and for the fans of megalithic constructions.
There’s a singular group of rock formations at the site of the Incavallicata in Campana (Cosenza).
One of these giant stones is strikingly similar to the silhouette of an elephant.
Beside, something looking like the base (a foot?) of something larger, a sort of sculpture very close to the “pachyderm”.
We are sure the search for the truth about these mysterious stones is already in itself an exciting attraction for curious people and popularizers.

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