Pollino National Park
The Pollino National Park is one of the largest protected areas in Italy. It is in southern area of Basilicata, in the province of Potenza, and extends into the neighbouring region of Calabria and all the way down to the Tyrrhenian Sea in the province of Cosenza.
The Park is ideal for those who love trekking and hiking, for those who thrive on having direct contact with the wildest and most uncontaminated form of nature, for mountain climbers and rafting enthusiasts, for those keen on extreme canyoning and for all those who want to discover an isolated territory whose silence is broken only by the sound of the wind rustling the leaves of the trees or experience forgotten tastes and emotions.
Visiting the Pollino National Park is an unforgettable and unique experience. You will have the pleasure of embracing a wild and uncontaminated natural environment; you will discover the ancient culture of the kind and reserved local population and savour the taste of real flavours.
The Pollino is home to the Loricato Pine (Pinus heldreichii), a tree species that grows only on high mountain areas. It has been chosen as the National Park’s emblem as this is the only place in Italy where it grows.
The part of the Park that lies within Basilicata is divided into four main valleys: the Mercure Valley, the Frido Valley, the Sarmento Valley and the Sinni Valley. The Raganello Valley and the Coscile Valley can be found in the Calabrian side of the Park. The Park offers a range of fascinating scenery, with vast uncontaminated areas that vary depending on the altitude.
The Pollino National Park is littered with numerous inhabited areas, all of which are small mountain villages that preserve age-old local traditions. One tradition worth noting is the Tree Festival that takes place in Viggianello, Rotonda, Castelsaraceno and Terranova di Pollino. The festival represents the wedding between two trees that are cut down and placed in the centre of the village. There are numerous communities in Basilicata and Calabria that have Albanese origins.
The villages in Basilicata are Calvera, Castelluccio Inferiore, Castelluccio Superiore, Castelsaraceno, Castronuovo di Sant’Andrea, Carbone, Cersosimo, Chiaromonte, Episcopia, Fardella, Francavilla in Sinni, Latronico, Lauria, Noepoli, Rotonda, San Costantino Albanese, San Giorgio Lucano, San Paolo Albanese, San Severino Lucano, Senise, Teana, Terranova di Pollino, Valsinni and Viggianello.
The villages in the Calabrian area are Acquaformosa, Aieta, Alessandria del Carretto, Belvedere Marittimo, Buonvicino, Castrovillari, Cerchiara di Calabria, Civita, Francavilla Marittima, Frascineto, Grisolia, Laino Borgo, Laino Castello, Lungro, Maierà, Morano Calabro, Mormanno, Mottafollone, Orsomarso, Papasidero, Plataci, Praia a Mare, San Basile, San Donato di Ninea, Sangineto, San Lorenzo Bellizzi, San Sosti, Sant’Agata di Esaro, Santa Domenica Talao, Saracena, Tortora and Verbicaro.