Il Parco Nazionale della Sila is the largest mountain range in Calabria and encompasses 21 towns, six mountain communities and three provinces – Catanzaro, Cosenza and Crotone.
It is divided into three regions – Sila Grande (in Cosenza), Sila Piccola (in Catanzaro) and Sila Greca (in Crotone).
The highest point in Sila Grande is Botte Donato which stands1,928 meters high with Gariglione in Sila Piccola coming in at 1,764 meters. Rivers and lakes are spread throughout La Sila, where various species of hippos, elephants, bison and bear have called home.
Today’s visitor is more likely to see deer, wolves, badgers, stone martens or weasels roaming through the dense forests of the untamed mountain terrain.
The black squirrel, or zaccanedda in dialect, is a popular guest at picnics and family hikes. This speedy hunter is larger than its cousin – the plain ‘ole tree squirrel – and is more commonly found throughout southern Italy.
The drive from Catanzaro to Sila Piccola is a relaxing 45-minute jaunt with scenery – much like the pictures below – guiding your way.
In the early evening the jewel-toned trees fade away as the landscape transforms into black mountains and silhouetted trees that contrast with the crystal waters of lakes and rivers.
Oh yes, Calabria is famous for its sandy beaches and warm Mediterranean water, but unless you venture north and into the mountains you’ll miss out on Calabria’s other specialty … and we can’t have that, now can we?
Check back every Friday for the Sila Friday Series to get more information on traveling in La Sila.
What about you? Are you a beach person, mountain person or both and what are you favorite things to do once you are there?
** One of the things expats talk about the most when we are together is the food we miss. Michelle is helping us out this week with her homemade bagel recipe, part of the La Buona Cucina Americana recipe series. **