Excursion to the Lacina and Baroness Scoppa's Castle

Historical-naturalistic trekking in the Serre Regional Natural Park

© Regione Calabria

Sport and nature

Feb 15, 2024 9:07 AM

Among the most suggestive and affordable excursions to be practised in the province of Vibo Valentia, in the municipality of Brognaturo, is the trek that reaches the Lacina Dam and the nearby Baroness Scoppa Castle.

Amidst the green conifers is an artificial lake basin surrounded by picnic areas, crystal-clear water springs and ancient ruins that tell the story of a legendary past.

Backpack on your shoulders, off we go!

Trekking to the Lacina Dam

After reaching the village of Brognaturo, we continue for a few kilometres along Provincial Road 43 towards Lacina Lake, a place whose name derives from the presence of an ancient Greek temple no longer in existence dedicated to the goddess Hera Lacinia.

It is one of the few mountain wetlands in the south, characterised by the ancient presence of marshes, bogs and small areas of "quicksand", which in more recent times has accommodated a real reservoir.

Today, the Lacina Dam provides a lake habitat for different species of plants and animals, including a variety of migratory birds.

Diga della Lacina
Regione Calabria

The shores of the lake are the ideal starting point for trekking and hiking in the heart of the Serre Regional Natural Park.

Among the official paths, practicable either independently or accompanied by specialised local guides, we recommend the Baden Powell Path (about 26 km long), through which one stops at the Sambuco Lake of Mongiana, in the municipality of the same name, and intercepts the more famous Frassati Path, which reaches the suggestive Shrine of Santa Maria del Bosco, in the municipality of Serra San Bruno.

This route crosses the Archiforo Wood, one of the protected reserves belonging to the Serre Vibonesi territory.

Sentiero Frassati
Regione Calabria

Along the way, it will be pleasant to indulge in a few "off-trail" spots that will allow you to discover some hidden gems, such as a series of giant centuries-old fir trees and valleys furrowed by torrents and torrents, such as Vallone Fondo and Vallone Vasafìmmini with their fountains.

The Castle of Baroness Scoppa between legend and reality

Among the jewels set in the Lacina forest are the ruins of the evocative Castle of Baroness Scoppa (or Casino), whose owner, Maria Enrichetta Scoppa (1831-1910), was the protagonist of macabre stories and black legends.

The structure, now reduced to ruins, preserves the cylindrical shape of the donjon and the division of the rooms and floors: on the upper floor resided the baroness and her guests, on the lower floor were the service rooms and the garrisons that guarded the castle throughout the year, as well as the stables.

Castello della Baronessa Scoppa
Regione Calabria

Legend has it that the baroness systematically broke her own vow of chastity, entertaining different men, sometimes young boys, who after being seduced by deception were made to disappear into the castle dungeon, if not into the nearby quicksand.

Lustful, stingy and paranoid to the point of fearing the vengeance of the living and the dead, Baroness Scoppa is said to have feared ending up in hell also because her ancestors had wrongfully taken possession of some properties of the nearby Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno.

Driven by these fears, it seems that she went so far as to cover up the frescoes of the chapel she had inherited and later beat them up in order to remove them for good.