Trip to Morano Calabro, among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy

The Pollino Crib to be visited all year round
Cs - Tour Calabria - Morano 1

© Regione Calabria

Art and Culture

Apr 5, 2024 8:17 AM

There is a village in the centre of the Pollino National Park, in the province of Cosenza, which, in addition to being one of The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy, is also known as the "Pollino Crib" because of the interlocking layout of the houses and alleyways that characterise it and that, just like a crib, give it a charm suspended in time.

This is Morano Calabro, a place to visit in all seasons because of the changing beauty of the landscape, which ranges from the spring blossoming of lavender in the hamlet of Campotenese (a locality known precisely as the "Provence of Calabria"), to the snow-capped peaks that provide the backdrop for winter and Christmas traditions, such as the famous Living Crib of Morano.

Let's discover together the thousand faces of this suggestive Calabrian Pollino village.

What to see in Morano Calabro

We reach the village of Morano Calabro, the ancient Muranum, up the valley of the Coscile river to the slopes of Mount Pollino.

To welcome us, a medieval village developed around the ruins of a scenic castle. Every element of the built-up area recalls the magic of a distant past: the stone of the portals, the towers, the buttresses and the enchanting views dominating the piedmont valley, from the top of which ancient sentinels controlled the access gates to the village.

The panorama is captured in all its beauty from the top of the ancient Castle of Morano, of Norman origin. From up here, it is immediately clear why the village is called the "Pollino Crib": simple, red-roofed architecture, criss-crossed by a maze of alleys, small squares and arcades that slope down towards the historic San Nicola district.

Morano Calabro-Castello
Elisabetta Cirinanni

From here we can also see the unmistakable majolica-tiled dome and bell tower of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena, which we visit. The yellow-blue tones of the majolica tiles are one of the symbols of this delightful Calabrian village at the foot of the Pollino.

Inside, the Collegiate Church contains a valuable Madonna of the Angels by Antonello Gagini (1505) and the Chapel of San Silvestro, which houses the wonderful Sanseverino Polyptych by Bartolomeo Vivarini (1477).

Morano Calabro
Giambattista Lazazzera/Shutterstock

There are many noble palaces, often bastioned, built between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries whose elegance does not escape our admiring eyes, which lose themselves in the symmetrical elevations, granite portals and wide entrance staircases.

What to do in Morano Calabro? Definitely taste the village's typical dishes, such as stoccu e patèni, delicious stockfish with potatoes and dried peppers.

After lunch, trekking enthusiasts can set off on an excursion to the Pollino National Park or, in spring, for a visit to the lavender fields of Campotenese, an explosion of purple colour and Provençal scent.

Parco Lavanda
Elisabetta Cirinanni

The Living Crib of Morano Calabro

Nativity in name and in fact, during the Christmas season the village of Morano Calabro offers the special feature of a much-awaited event, one of the most famous and oldest in the region: the Living Crib of Morano Calabro.

The re-enactment of the Nativity takes on unique characteristics here, with the suggestion of the shepherds-figurants, young and old, immersed in the mountainous, snowy atmosphere that this scenery provides.

The Living Crib of Morano usually takes place near the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, around which huts and craftsmen's workshops are arranged, as well as the manger of the Nativity. Along the way, visitors are immersed in the genuine atmosphere of the village, narrated through a series of themed sections and illuminated by the large comet that is placed on the Ariella hill every year.