The Aspromonte National Park, characterised by its enormous animal and plant biodiversity, offers its visitors fascinating routes through unspoilt nature and evocative historical-cultural itineraries.
The territory of the Park is located within the province of Reggio Calabria and takes its name from the Aspromonte Massif, which means candid, white and goes back to the Greek populations of the Ionian coast who admired the massif's candid mountain formations.
The territory of the Park is therefore situated between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, from which it is very close, and from its peaks Etna and the Aeolian Islands are perfectly visible. The steep rocky walls delimit narrow, picturesque valleys, enlivened by rushing torrents which, along the way, become fascinating waterfalls.
Between the sea and the massif there is almost always a narrow strip of land, cut off at certain points by enchanting promontories dropping sheer into the sea, the most spectacular of which is undoubtedly Monte S. Elia. Lake Rumia and Lake Costantino offer evocative views near Gambarie and in the Bonamico valley respectively.
In the Aspromonte National Park, nature reigns supreme, with peaks of almost 2,000 metres and a great variety of plant species that generate a wide biodiversity, thanks also to particularly favourable climatic conditions. Oleanders and tamarisks can be found here, but it is also possible to observe black poplars, salicones and black alders, thanks to the numerous and abundant water courses. It is easy to find oneself in wonderful beech forests, but the spectacularity of the immense and sublime pine forests is due to the laricio pine, the emblematic tree of Aspromonte.
This area also grows bergamot, a particularly rare and fragrant citrus fruit, the essences of which are well known, and which only takes root in certain parts of Calabria.
The Park is also home to many animal species that find the Aspromonte an ideal habitat, such as the wolf, which has chosen the Aspromonte mountains as its refuge, as well as the wild cat, dormouse, wild boar and black squirrel. It is not difficult to see foxes, hares, badgers, hedgehogs, beech-martens and martens.
The Aspromonte National Park is full of magnificent and evocative landscapes, of paths that flank vast and diverse panoramas and allow you to cross areas where the sea and the mountains appear so close that they seem like a single environment. Exploring the heart of Aspromonte offers the possibility of walking fascinating routes, from the most comfortable to the longest and most adventurous, in perfect symbiosis with nature and the extraordinary surrounding landscape.
Walking along the paths it is possible to cross the whole Aspromonte and extend one's gaze to the various natural beauties, from waterfalls to narrow valleys, from historical monuments to small villages and numerous rocky agglomerations. Nature-lovers cannot fail to be impressed by the immense forests of centuries-old trees and rare fauna such as the roe deer, which has returned to live in these woods thanks to the Aspromonte Park Authority.
In addition to the nature trails that allow for long, relaxing walks, those who love outdoor sporting activities can reach breathtaking panoramic points by mountain bike or on horseback and walk along paths that are well suited to trekking, where enthusiasts can enjoy their walk surrounded by nature. The park is full of wonderful nature trails, some of which are suitable for cycling or horse riding, skiing and canyoning.
The small villages in the Park Area contain numerous historical, artistic and archaeological assets that are well worth a visit. The ancient villages retain all the charm of the past, with characteristic urban layouts made up of small houses one next to the other and narrow streets, small squares, ancient churches, noble palaces and fascinating panoramic views.
Pentedattilo, a semi-abandoned village, is dominated by the five finger-like sandstone pinnacles that gave it its name.
Bova, a village in a panoramic position, overlooked by the remains of a castle, has a beautiful historical centre where you can visit the Cathedral, the Byzantine Church of the Holy Spirit, Palazzo Mesiani and the Basilica of San Leo. Gallicianò is the village that best preserves the Greek language and traditions, also in music and gastronomy.
Gerace, a charming little town, a precious cultural treasure chest, has maintained its historic centre full of churches, period buildings and rooms, once dwellings or workshops, carved directly into the rock.
Stilo, a bulwark of Byzantine Calabria, has a history that began at the time of the Greek colonies in southern Italy, made even more fascinating by the settlement on its territory of numerous 'degrees' of Eastern monasticism, the main evidence of which is the Cattolica church. A small square church with three east-facing apses and five small domes, it was built by Basilian monks who had found refuge from persecution in Calabria.
Monasterace, the Greek Kaulon, has an immense archaeological park with finds from the ancient city. The present village was built on the remains of a medieval castle.
The Grecanick area still retains strong traits of the Magna Graecia and Byzantine civilisations, mainly due to the preservation of the Greek language of Calabria, an idiom that is classified as a dialect of ancient Greek.
Via Aurora, 1, Santo Stefano in Aspromonte