Aspromonte Literary Park, from the Grand Tour to 20th century Calabrian writers

Literary trekking in the Aspromonte National Park

© Regione Calabria

Art and Culture

Do you love experiences that combine nature and culture? Don't miss the literary trails in the Aspromonte National Park, in the province of Reggio Calabria.

We take you to the centre of the most mysterious and wild Calabria, that of the shepherds with their "raw life", sung by the Calabrian Strega Prize-winning writer Corrado Alvaro, and the breathtaking landscapes described in pen and charcoal by the famous travellers and artists of the Grand Tour.

An ancient world, but still a source of inspiration for the writers of today and tomorrow.

The Englishman's Path

If we want to start chronologically on the trail of writers and poets who have narrated the rough wonders of Aspromonte Calabria, we have to go back in time, to the 12th century and the so-called "songs of deeds".

Did you know, for example, that the Chanson d'Aspremont, the ballad that inspired the Carolingian Cycle, is set on the Aspromonte Massif at the time of the Arab invasions?

Inaccessible places, full of mystery, have always attracted the curiosity of travellers from all over the world. This was especially the case during the fashionable Grand Tour of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when writers of the calibre of Edward Lear ventured into the "exotic" lands of the far south of Italy, driven by the great curiosity of the time.

To the great English traveller, who was a writer, poet and draughtsman, is dedicated the so-called "Englishman's Path", the literary trek that connects some of the Aspromontane municipalities crossed by Lear during his journey in Calabria and narrated in his famous reportage entitled Diary of a Journey on Foot (1847).

Sentiero dell'inglese
Regione Calabria

The Englishman's Path can be travelled in 7 days, among Grecanici villages (where the ancient Greek of Calabria is spoken) and characteristic rivers. The territory it traverses is a succession of dense woods opening into sudden clearings, breathtaking panoramas embracing both the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas, tiny "ghost towns", among which Pentedattilo stands out, and as far from the stereotypical Aspromonte as one can expect.

An itinerary that walkers should take on foot, as Edward Lear did at the time of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with only the company of a local guide and a donkey.

A bergamot-scented walk through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Valley of the Great Stones allows you to discover one of Europe's most evocative geo-sites.

Regione Calabria

In the places of Alvaro and Strati

Leaping forward in time and space, in the historical centres of San Luca and Sant'Agata del Bianco we encounter two of the most important writers and intellectuals of the Italian 20th century: Corrado Alvaro and Saverio Strati.

The "Corrado Alvaro" Literary Park is one of the first literary parks created by Stanislao Nievo, great-grandson of the great 19th century writer Ippolito Nievo, under the patronage of UNESCO.

Starting with a visit to Corrado Alvaro's birthplace, the current headquarters of the Foundation of the same name, we continue on to discover the Alvaro places mentioned in the works of the Aspromonte writer and journalist who won the Strega Prize in 1951 with Almost a Life.

Pietra Cappa
Regione Calabria

We pass the Church of S. Maria della Pietà and the remains of Palazzo Stranges, mentioned in both Gente in Aspromonte and L'uomo nel labirinto; the Loggia del Petto and the suggestive Fiumara del Buonamico until we reach the remains of the ancient settlement of Potamìa, mentioned in La cavalla nera. One of the many small abandoned centres (16th century) from which, continuing on, we reach the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Polsi, one of Calabria's best-loved and most controversial Marian shrines, to which the writer dedicated his debut work in 1912.

The incipit of his best-known work, the short story collection Gente in Aspromonte, dates from 1930:

"Isn't life beautiful for shepherds in Aspromonte, in winter, when the torrents run to the sea, and the land seems to sail over the waters".

Equally rich in emotions is the itinerary that leads us to the town of Sant'Agata del Bianco, the birthplace of the writer Saverio Strati.

Sant'Agata del Bianco
Regione Calabria

Today's homage to this illustrious son takes the form of a veritable open-air museum of street art. The "City of Murals", Sant'Agata celebrates Strati through a series of murals created on the facades of houses by great artists of the "spray can", inspired by the author's most famous writings.

From Ragazzo illuminato dalla luce della storia to Nascondino, via the now famous portrait of Tibi and Tascia inspired by the most mati characters in his literary production, the journey is intense and it sums up an entire artistic life.

Ultimo aggiornamento: Feb 16, 2024 8:37 AM