Sila National Park

sila-ampollino-2 (1)

© Regione Calabria

The Sila plateau extends in Calabria between the provinces of Cosenza, Crotone and Catanzaro. 
A natural heritage where the diversity of landscapes, the variety of animal and plant species and the beauty of the places have made it appropriate to establish the Sila National Park, which protects its treasures.
This is the oldest national park in Calabria and one of the first five to be created in Italy. An area that, while retaining its fascinating appearance of a wild and uncontaminated area, strikes the visitor with its many characteristic villages, exquisite hospitality and the opportunity to practice numerous outdoor sports. Every moment of the year is right to admire and enjoy the splendid territory of this land of a thousand resources. 

The park contains one of the most significant heritages of biodiversity that deserves to be loved and, above all, protected. The symbol of the park is the wolf, a species that was despoiled for centuries and fortunately survived until 1970, when a law was passed to protect it.
The protected area of the park is currently a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO Global Park list.

Wild corners, grandiose sceneries of history, which change and modify with the variation of altitudes and seasons, creating magical atmospheres, marvellous contrasts and harmonious agreements of colours and shades. In the park you can admire the so-called plant patriarchs, surrounded by mosses, lichens, grasses, ferns, shrubs, creepers, colourful flowers and a myriad of animals, true symbols of biodiversity and bearers of a particular genetic heritage. These are singular trees, which coexist in balance with the environment, moderating the climate and enhancing the landscape, defending the soil and protecting water reserves.

Approximately 80% of the park's total surface area is woodland, the highest percentage in Italy. The valleys that open up along the park's ridges are wide, where sheep-farming is practised, with forms of transhumance and mountain pasture that still survive today, with agriculture linked above all to the cultivation of the Sila IGP potato.

Numerous varieties of fauna have found their ideal habitat in the Park, thanks also to a repopulation policy that has favoured their habitat.
The wolf, a species that has been despoiled for centuries, is the symbol of the Park. The wolf in the Sila National Park is the Apennine wolf known as Canis lupus subsp italicus, which lives in packs of three to four individuals each, of which there are only about twenty in the whole of Sila.

There are nine biogenetic nature reserves within the park. These include the Giants of Sila in Fallistro, 50 colossal pine trees and 5 sycamore trees over 500 years old, and the Golia-Corvo Reserve, an area where deer live and settle, with around 150 of them.

Among the activities that can be done in the park during the summer and autumn are excursions through the woods of Calabria's green lung, perfect for trekking, even over several days. In many areas it is possible to rent bicycles or venture out on horseback along the many paths through nature.
In holiday resorts such as Villaggio Mancuso, near the numerous lakes and waterways, particularly Lakes Ampollino, Cecita and Arvo, it is possible to go canoeing and sport fishing but also rent canoes, pedalos and small boats. 
Sila is also one of the best areas in southern Italy for winter sports. The resorts of Lorica, Camigliatello and Ciricilla have several lifts to reach the downhill slopes and the enchanting cross-country ski runs.
Speed lovers can have fun on well-equipped bobsleigh runs, such as the one in Villaggio Palumbo, which can also be used in summer.

At Cupone, near Lake Cecita, it is possible to admire both the typical laricio pine, with its monumental specimens still alive, and the 'bare' or almost bare pastureland. Cupone is home to one of the park's visitor centres, a sawmill converted into an environmental education centre with nature trails, wildlife observatories, a museum and a geological garden.
There is a picnic area close to the centre, but there is also a wonderful Botanical Garden that is well worth a visit. The garden is accessible to the disabled and the visually impaired, as it is equipped with panels and mp3 audio files that tell the secrets of the various essences. The educational trail is 350 metres long and as you proceed you can interact with no less than 115 native species of Calabrian mountain flora, each with its own Braille card.

Orienteering can be practised in the park and, thanks to the presence of various basins, sailing and canoeing trips can be made to Lake Arvo and Lake Ampollino. Another leisure activity to be done in the midst of splendid nature is archery and bio- and bird-watching at Lake Ariamacina, or an instructive and tasty visit to the many Open Farms.

A land of ancient traditions, Sila has preserved intact the flavours of the past, even in dishes. A must-try, strictly in a mountain refuge, is mpanata, a typical local dish made with ricotta cheese, whey while still warm and pieces of hard bread.

Of all the places in the park, Camigliatello Silano should be mentioned, a typical mountain village with numerous places to stay and eat, as well as a large ski resort that attracts a large number of winter sports enthusiasts.

Informazioni utili


Spezzano della Sila