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On the Move in the Parco Pollino, Photo by Jesse Andrews
Towns of Grisolia and Maiera at Dusk
Contemporary Luxury at Hotel La Loggia in Tortora, Calabria, Italy
The towns of Maiera and Grisolia in the heart of Calabria

Parco Pollino

Cities and Towns in Calabria

The Pollino National Park encompasses over 192,000 hectares of land between the Southern Basilicata and Northern Calabria regions.  The park is so large that it spreads over 3 provinces in Italy including the provinces of Matera, Potenza and Cosenza. While the park certainly is an enormous natural paradise, it also offers  visitors a rich historical and cultural experience.  In the hill-top towns such as Tortora, Maiera, Orsomarso, Aieta the inhabitants have maintained century old traditions.  

 The area is populated by deer, wolves, foxes, birds of prey such as hawks, falcons and eagles. Inside the park are held educational initiatives to bring young people to nature, but also various routes to the discovery of ancient mills, monasteries, abbeys, fortresses and castles. A popular destination is made from the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pollino, that in the first week of July, comes alive with processions and celebrations.

The Parco Pollino is one of largest protected areas in Italy.  The Apennine mountain chain that stretches the lengh of Italy runs through the park and creates four major valleys: the valley of the Mercure, Valle del Frido, the Sarmento Valley and the Valley of Sinni. They belong to the Calabrian territory Raganello Valley and the Valley of Coscile. The park offers a multitude of beautiful landscapes, with large areas of untouched different depending on the altitude.

There are many activities within this national park to be enjoyed and for those who crave direct contact with nature, pristine valleys and natural streams, you will find miles for climbing and white water rafting , canyoning enthusiasts to the most extreme and all those who want to discover a territory solitary and quiet broken only by the wind that breaks through the leaves of trees, or enjoy the flavors and sensations now forgotten .
 
"Grisolia" in the heart of the Nationa Polino Park 
 
Visit the Pollino National Park is a unique experience you will not forget .  Will rediscover the pleasure of the embrace of wild and untouched nature , you will discover the ancient culture of the local population , polite and discreet, the taste of the true flavors .
 
On the tops of the mountains turning his sguado both east the horizon is the Ionian Sea , the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west . The Pollino National Park is a treasure chest that holds the treasures of biodiversity. On the highest peaks you can see both the Loricate Pine , which grows on the walls solitary most inaccessible , both in flight and the rare golden eagles .
 
This area is still showing in its most complete and offering a variety of wild landscapes of extraordinary beauty. Each valley has special environmental, landscape and man-made specifications allowing to range from stony expanses rivers , high peaks covered by snow even during the spring , crossing the share hilly agricultural fields cultivated . The Park is dotted with 56 municipalities , 24 of which in Basilicata. Only a small Minority has the size of a small town. The remaining municipalities are small , real stone villages perched on the mountains , where the houses are close to each other , characterized by small shops , the square becomes a meeting place, churches, and the many chapels that testify to the deep religiosity of the inhabitants . Finally , they are often marked with a baronial palace or from the ruins of a castle that stands guard , as before, on rivers or valleys where he could reach the enemy.
 
 
These typical villages are inhabited by farmers, herders , artisans and ethnic Minorities such as Albanians who jealously guarded their traditions , their language and their customs . Higher up the spectacular high-altitude valleys , vast green foreigners beech , chestnut, oak moss-covered , mushrooms, herbs and populated by the Apennine wolf , the deer, the golden eagle , the black owl , the raven imperial .
 
Higher up in solitary majestic peaks refuge , as well as in the Balkans, magnificent specimens of Pine Loricato . Tree imposing and elegant , of extraordinary beauty, offshoot of the last glaciation owes its name to the structure of the cortex that vaguely recalls loricas , metal plates of the ancient Roman armor . From the twisted profiles , due to the weight of snow and strong winds to which it is subjected, Pine Loricato symbol of the park , can be considered for its rarity almost a " monument", even after death losing its trunk bark remains standing there for years to guard the surrounding area.
 
Among all these places are born pure and limpid water springs that drops down to fill the many gorges of which the Park is full of those Raganello, Lao, rivers Frido, Peschiera, Argentinian just to name a few. During their journey to the valley, over the millennia , have filled the great plains carrying debris, shaped by carving the mountain peaks or dug spettagolari open plains and gorges.
 
The first evidence of attendance of the Pollino are documented in the caves of Latrobe that have yielded finds from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age . Other evidence of the presence of prehistoric man are the outstanding graffiti on the rock engravings in the Grotta del Romito, near Papasidero in Calabria, depicting the bos primigenius.
 
 
Another peculiarity of the area and then another experience for visitors is that of the typical products of the Pollino made ​​authentic and genuine by the process according to ancient traditions, from Senise pepper, eggplant to the Red Round, honey, jams, cold cuts meat products with first-quality dairy products made ​​with milk from sheep and goats reared in the wild that eat the weeds of pastures.

 

 

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