In the Woods of the Truffle Hunters

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In the Woods of the Truffle Hunters

The truffles preserved by the Pollino massif are called the gold of Calabria. Our itinerary follows that of the truffle hunters in the woods of the eponymous National Park. It is there that one must immerse themselves in the search for one of the most precious “fruits” of our region.


The Santa Venere Woods belong to the municipality of Cerchiara and are located at altitudes between 550 and 800 m. They also fall within the hydrographic basin of the Raganello river. Further downstream, in the adjacent Cernostasi forest, archaeological finds from the Greek period have been found. Based on climatic parameters, it boasts a Mediterranean climate, with a fairly long summer drought period. Among the animals present, we can find: beech marten (Martes foina), pine marten (Martes martes), European polecat (Mustela putorius), European badger (Meles meles), European hare (Lepus corsicanus), crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild boar (Sus scrofa); Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), common wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius).


Colle Marcione is located in a peripheral area and is surrounded by extensive wooded areas. Piano di Novacco, located in the municipality of Saracena, can only be reached via a dirt road. It was in the early 1900s that a German company, Rüeping S.p.A., entered into a contract for the cutting and exploitation of forest resources, which also affected Lungro, Firmo, San Donato di Ninea, San Sosti, Mormanno, Morano Calabro, and Verbicaro. Some traces of that work remain, where at least 600 people were employed, such as the Palmenta refuge (destroyed by fire in 2014) and traces of tracks (on the road leading from Piano Campolongo to Cardillo). Nearby is the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Monte, built in the 9th-11th centuries when the monks, terrified by the iconoclastic fury and Islamic expansion, took refuge in hidden or inaccessible places. The location is not far from Civita and is the easiest access route to the eastern Pollino. It is also a charming panoramic point.


Speaking of Fiumarelle, we locate ourselves near the Monti d’Orsomarso – Cozzo del Pellegrino, a real wilderness area of the Pollino National Park. The forest gate marks the beginning of the path and is crossed by the Sentiero Italia, the path marked by the CAI (Italian Alpine Club) that connects all the regions of Italy. We find ourselves at an altitude of 1300 m above sea level, immersed in a territory covered by a relatively young beech forest. This is the undisputed kingdom of the roe deer and the wolf. Along the watercourse, one could also observe the presence of the fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) and the river crayfish.


Campiglioni is located within the vast plateau of Campotenese at 1,000 m altitude. It is mostly reforested, dating back to the 1970s. The Donna Calda forest, in the “Campiglioni” area, is located in the area that divides the Central Massif of Pollino from the Mountain Group of Orsomarso – Cozzo del Pellegrino. There is the presence of the wolf, roe deer, wild boar, wildcat, golden eagle, buzzard, kestrel, beech marten, fox, pine marten, Eurasian sparrowhawk, wood pigeon, Eurasian jay. From the Base Point, where cars are left, it is about 1.5 km to enter the forest. From a historical point of view, Campotenese was crossed by the Via Popilia-Annia, the ancient Roman road “Regio-Capuam” and, still Campotenese, is famous for the battle fought between the French army commanded by General Reynier and the Bourbon army commanded by General Damas on March 9, 1806.


The so-called Campolongo Fountain is surrounded by extensive and exciting wooded areas. It is precisely in a peripheral area of the massif that this renowned water source can be found. More than ten kilometers away, however, crossing a dirt road, you reach Piano di Novacco, of which we have already spoken

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