The Basilian Way in Calabria
A trek between Orient and Occident
© Cammino Basiliano
Sport and nature
Feb 16, 2024 8:55 AM
© Cammino Basiliano
Sport and nature
Feb 16, 2024 8:55 AM
If you love trekking and paths that combine nature, art and spirituality, you are in the right place! Get ready for a unique experience by walking the Basilian Way in Calabria, on the ancient traces of eastern monasticism in western lands.
Discover the rich proposal of walks in Calabria and the thematic hiking network throughout the region, choosing the walk that suits you according to your interests and training level, modulating the experience over several stages in a flexible and sustainable manner.
What do you expect? An unforgettable itinerary through forests, valleys and historic centres with an eye on the sea.
The Basilian Way in Calabria is the Itinerary in the footsteps of the Italo-Greek monks known as Basilians, since they were followers of the Order founded by St Basil the Great (330-379), very important for the development of monasticism in the West and for a series of contributions made to the rural world of the time, from agricultural techniques to silkworm cultivation and production, to name but a few.
The Basilian monks in Calabria, by virtue of their being hermits and anchorites, have given rise to various forms of cave dwellings that can still be visited today, shaping the landscape and the man/nature dynamics according to the requirements of "rupestrian living" already widespread throughout the Mediterranean basin.
Alongside hermitages and small lauras (cavities dug into the rock) used as places of shelter and prayer, the Basilian monks are also responsible for a series of monuments and places of worship that are true works of Italo-Eastern art. A few examples? You'll be spoilt for choice: from the Cattolica di Stilo, one of Calabria's symbolic monuments, to the Monastery of San Giovanni Theristis in Bivongi, via the Pathirion in Rossano.
Walking along the stages of the Basilian Way in Calabria means, therefore, going on a journey to discover the ancient roots of Europe in the Mediterranean, linking East and West on the thread of beauty, nature and spirituality.
Each walker, depending on his or her own needs and sensitivity, will be able to immerse himself or herself in a slow experience and get to know the whole of Calabria at a slow pace, tuning heart and mind to the emotional frequencies of the landscape, the artistic gems and the villages along the way.
The Basilian Way starts in Lauria, Basilicata, and ends in Reggio Calabria, along a route that weaves together history, art and spirituality. Some numbers? For a total of 1535 km divided into 81 stages, the Basilian Way encounters 10 of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Among the 73 Calabrian stages, we highlight the unmissable ones, leaving the walker free to compose the rest of the route as he or she pleases:
Basilian Way in the Province of Cosenza
The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy of Rocca Imperiale, on the Upper Ionian Sea, for a taste of the delicious PGI Rocca Imperiale Lemons, and Oriolo, perched around its castle. On the same side, the important towns of Cassano all'Ionio, with the National Archaeological Park of the Sibaritide, and Corigliano-Rossano, where you can admire the Basilian building of the Pathirion and the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, the ancient gospel UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The inland route, towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, takes us into the heart of the Pollino National Park, to discover Cerchiara di Calabria, the "City of Bread" and home of the Shrine of the Madonna delle Armi, and the Italo-Albanian (Arbëresh) villages, led by Civita, another of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy not to be missed. Descending towards the Sila National Park, after passing by unspoilt lakes and reserves, we reach the Abbey of San Giovanni in Fiore (Abbazia Florense), the chosen place of Abbot Joachim (crossing the Joachimite Way).
Basilian Way in the Province of Crotone
Any stops on the Basilian Way in the Croton area? Two other jewels among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy: Caccuri, set around its landmark tower and home to the literary prize of the same name, and Santa Severina, with one of the best-preserved castles in the region.
Basilian Way in the Province of Catanzaro
The Basilian Way in the province of Catanzaro allows us to discover the wonders of the Catanzaro Sila, between the dense woods of Tiriolo, a village of archaeology and traditional weaving, and the crystal-clear sea of the Gulf of Squillace, with the village set on a hill, around the castle of the same name, embellished by the potters' workshops. Here the path inspired by St Basil the Great encounters another "magno" character, Senator Cassiodorus and the so-called "Cassiodorean places", which include a visit to the National Archaeological Park of Scolacium.
From the sea, we cut through the green lung of Calabria by crossing the Serre Vibonesi Nature Reserve, not before stopping in the village of Badolato, among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy on the Ionian coast, on the stretch of the so-called Riviera degli Angeli.
Basilian Way in the Province of Vibo Valentia
The capital of the Serre is the unmissable mountain town of Serra San Bruno, where the monasticism of the East finally broke against that of the West, which, on the initiative of Roger the Norman, sent the founder of the Carthusian Order in Europe, St Bruno of Cologne, into these woods to oppose the advance of the Italo-Greek rite and found the marvellous Carthusian Monastery of Santo Stefano, among the few still inhabited, and the hermitage of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Bosco.
Basilian Way in the Province of Reggio Calabria
From the Serre to the Reggio Calabria area, the Basilian Way stops at some of the symbolic places of Eastern monasticism in Calabria: we are talking about the unmissable treasures of the Cattolica di Stilo, one of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, which can be reached after stopping at the suggestive Grotta di Monte Stella (Pazzano), and the Monastery of San Giovanni Theristis in Bivongi, still run by monks who officiate in the Greek-Byzantine rite.
Passing through Gerace, among The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy, the Basilian Way travels along the Costa dei Gelsomini and it reaches the Grecanica area to discover the actual Greeks of Calabria. These are the Greek-speaking communities of Bovesìa (Grecanico), which in the village of Bova, also among The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy, finds the nerve centre in which to learn all the secrets of this ancient eastern community.
After a not-to-be-missed stop to discover the "ghost town" of Pentedattilo (in the municipality of Melito Porto Salvo), the Basilian Way ends in the centre of Reggio Calabria, a city at the crossroads of cultures and custodian of the Riace Bronzes (on display at the National Archaeological Museum), which, overlooking the Strait and the Mediterranean, represents the perfect synthesis of East and West.