Sila and its Lakes

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Sila and its Lakes

CAMIGLIATELLO (National Park and Cecita Lake)

Camigliatello Silano is the perfect place for a tourist who wants to immerse themselves in the mountain atmosphere. Located at an altitude of 1272 meters, it serves as the operational base for all movements. The village is characterized by a main street where artisan shops and gourmet stores intertwine. Camigliatello is also the preferred destination for winter sports enthusiasts. During the crucial months, enthusiasts from all over Southern Italy flock here to ski and take advantage of the functional ski lift. In addition to walks along the trails that lead the curious through the woods, there is also a vintage train available. The smoke from its nineteenth-century locomotive infiltrates still pristine landscapes, offering breathtaking views to its passengers. Boarding it after a heavy snowfall could be a truly emotional experience. The rails disappear into the National Park, which rises to almost 2000 meters above sea level, from where you can admire the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea. The “Cupone Visitor Center” is one of the most popular places. The entire area features valleys, streams, small waterfalls, and three artificial lakes built in the 1950s: Cecita, Arvo, and Ampollino. Cecita, in particular, although created to exploit hydroelectric energy, stands perfectly against the natural backdrop. On its shores, you can go hiking and snowshoeing. In summer, it is a picnic area.

CROCE DI MAGARA (I Giganti della Sila)

The Giants of Sila are a natural reserve about 4 km from Camigliatello heading east and are located in the hamlet of Croce di Magara. What are we talking about? About 58 larch pine trees, 45 meters high and two meters in diameter. From high in the sky, they dominate like kings the entire plateau since 1600. It was then that Baron Mollo planted his property with these particular trees, whose resin is ideal for keeping flames alive. The openings at the base of some trunks characterize the place to the point that up to four people can comfortably enter. The forest has become a biogenetic reserve, and human intervention is not allowed at all.

SAN GIOVANNI IN FIORE

For many, San Giovanni in Fiore is the “capital” of Sila, not only because it is the most populous municipality on the plateau. It was the monastic community founded by Abbot Gioacchino da Fiore that gave rise to the village. The monastery that bears his name and the Florentine abbey are the nerve center of the village. All around, the Romanesque and medieval characteristics remain intact, as well as the arches desired by the monks, which represented the gates of the city. In the alleys of the historic center, you can admire the skill of the ancient Sangiovannesi stonemasons and a dense network of streets. The typical cuisine of San Giovanni in Fiore is renowned throughout Calabria, especially for the preparation of “Pitta Mpigliata”. Also highly appreciated are the “turdilli” with honey, the “mostaccioli”, and the “muccellati”.

LAGO AMPOLLINO

Lake Ampollino dates back to 1927 and has the peculiarity of bathing three provinces: Cosenza, Crotone, and Catanzaro. It benefits from a strongly present nature in the territory that jealously guards it until it forcefully reveals it to tourists. Throughout the year, visitors are attracted by the surrounding landscape, where for winter months enthusiasts ski on the newly built ski slopes with attached ski lifts. There are also bobsled and ice skating tracks. In summer, on the other hand, you can take a dip in the lake or cross it aboard a canoe. Fishing is allowed, and good music is widespread. In August, the Ampollino Sound Festival is held, an event that guarantees the participation of nationally renowned artists who attract several hundred campers to this enchanting place.

LAGO ARVO

Lake Arvo offers wild enthusiasts a typical snapshot of Scandinavian countries. Completely immersed in wild nature, in winter it often leaves you breathless when it freezes and the snow frames the surrounding mountains. It is the second largest after Lake Cecita, but its dam has a peculiarity. It is not made of reinforced concrete like the other two, but of clay and compressed earth. This is possible thanks to a slope that does not exert particular pressure. The length of 280 meters was a real record for 1931: at that time in Italy, none could boast of such a thing. On the shores of the lake, you can rent a canoe or fish. Plus, there is the famous “Silavventura” playground that offers pleasant activities immersed in greenery. Lake Arvo characterizes the village of Lorica, called “The Pearl of Sila”. From here you can reach the ski lifts that from 1400 meters lead up to Monte Botte Donato. That is to say, to the top of the plateau at 1877 meters. At the top, a new world opens up, with a view that penetrates into the blue of the sky. With the absence of clouds, it is easy to clearly see the two seas that surround Calabria, up to glimpsing Mount Etna in Sicily or the island of Stromboli in the Aeolian Islands. It’s a landscape, in short, that is priceless: the experience must be lived in person.

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