DAY 1: Pollino National Park (Rotonda – Basilicata)
This trekkig holiday starts in Rotonda, a small village which is home to the Pollino National Park. We are welcomed with an aperitif and dinner with specialties from Basilicata. We spend the night in a cosy mountain retreat or in comfortable b&b in the old village.
Day 2: From Colle Impiso to Piani del Pollino (1774 m.) In the magnificent scenery of the “Loricati” Pines
After breakfast we reach the starting point for the excursion that from Colle Impiso takes us to Piani del Pollino. We follow the road and go down to the first part of the low plain of Vacquarro and then go up the Frido stream and the beech forest that surrounds the Piani del Pollino where we can eat our packed lunch enjoying the view of the Pines Loricati, the imposing and rare trees are considered living fossils and have survived from the tertiary era. We return for dinner and overnight. Dinner with typical products of Basilicata.
Departure Colle Impiso 1570 m – Distance to / r about 10 km – Difference in altitude 300 m – Duration about 5.30 h ( level easy-medium)
DAY 3: Piano Ruggio – Belvedere del Malvento – Rotonda
After having a good breakfast we leave for Piano Ruggio. A walk through the beech forest takes us to the Malvento panoramic point where we enjoy a breath taking view and admire some specimens of Pino Loricato, the symbol trees of the Pollino National Park. We take a lunch break in the wonderful forest environment with a picnic based on local products and wine, then we allow ourselves a moment of relaxation and breathe the scents of the many medicinal herbs that grow spontaneously in this area. In the early afternoon we go to Rotonda where we take a walk in the historic centre of the city with ascent to the cliff and descent into the Paraturo stream near its waterfalls. We visit the Paleontological Museum where fossil remains of prehistoric elephants and hippos found in the Park are kept. Dinner in a typical restaurant. We then return to our rooms for overnight.
Departure Colle Ruggio 1580 m – Distance to / r 7 km – Difference in altitude about 200 m – Duration about 4 h – ( level easy)
DAY 4: Lavender Park– Local Products and cheeses
Today we leave Rotonda and go to visit the “Lavender Park” where 50 different varieties of this fragrant flower are grown. Lavender is not always in bloom, it will depend on your holiday’s period but we have the opportunity to discover the excellent properties of lavender and visit the laboratory where essential oil is obtained thanks to steam distillation. A guided tour of a local farm , where cheeses and other high quality milk products are produced. We conclude with a light buffet lunch based on typical cheeses and cold cuts, together with local bread and wine. We continue to Civita, a splendid Arbërësh village in Calabria which is part of the “most beautiful villages in Italy” and one of the most important centres of the Pollino National Park. Here we are welcomed to charming b&b in the historic centre overlooking the suggestive “Timpa del Demanio” and the “ Gole del Raganello” one of the most majestic gorges in Europe where you can admire rare birds of prey such as the golden eagle and the griffon vulture. Dinner at a typical restaurant.
Day 5: Monte Sellaro – Santa Maria delle Armi – Sulfur water bath “Grotta delle Ninfe”
Today we head towards Cerchiara di Calabria on the east side of the Pollino massif. Here an excursion to Monte Sellaro, a mountain overlooking the Ionian Sea, awaits us. We conclude with a guided tour of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Armi, an ancient church and monastery from the 1400’s built in the rocky wall at 1015 meters high with a breathtaking view of the coast and the Sibari plain. We have a break with a typical pic-nic lunch. On the way back, If the time and opening hours allow, we take a relaxing bath in the healthy sulfur-rich water of the swimming pool of Grotta delle Ninfe which was very popular since Roman times. Free evening in Civita.
Departure from Santuario di Santa Maria delle Armi 1015 m – Monte Sellaro 1438 m – Distance to/r 7 km – Difference in altitude 400 m – Duration about 4 h – (level medium-easy)
Day 6: Urban Trekking at Matera
In the morning we leave for Matera. During an interesting walk and guided tour we discover one of the oldest cities in the world, the “stone” neighborhoods where a part of the population lived in caves and which have now become luxury accommodation, we admire the rock churches and other beautiful monuments that have made the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site and European Capital of Culture 2019. In the afternoon we have free time to continue exploring the city, have lunch and maybe go shopping or visit museums. Back to Civita for a free evening.
Day 7: Belvedere di Santa Venere e Timpa del Demanio ( 855 m. s.l.m.) – Wine Tour
After a delicious breakfast we move to one of the most scenic trail of the Pollino Park. We hike through a path surrounded by the holm oak forest of Santa Venere. A 20 minutes pleasent walk takes us to a terrace overlooking a unique panorama on the Gole del Raganello. We proceed on the path that follows the mountain ridge among woods of oakes and junipers. It easily happens to see Bianconi and peregrine falcons, for this reason this hiking itinerary is considered a must for birdwatchers. At the end of the path we have to pass through some aerial and overhanging passages that lead us to the top of the “Timpa del Demanio”. We eat our picnic lunch in the open air facing on one side the ionic coast and the plan of sibari and on the other the enchanting village of Civita with the majestic mountains of the Pollino National Park.
We continue to a place called “Conca del Re” to visit a winning award winery. The owner guides us through an exciting “vineyard tour” where we discover this old company and the native vineyards: Greco Bianco, Moscato and Pecorello, Montonico Canino and Dolce, Aglianico and Calabrese. The visit continues in the cellars and ends with a tasting of 6 wines combined with hot and cold signature dishes. In the evening we come back to Civita to spend a relaxing time and to prepare for departure the following day.
Trekking: Distance to/r 4 km – Difference in altitude: 100 m – Duration: 2 h – (level medium-easy)
Day 8: Departure
After an unforgettable journey, we say goodbye to the magnificent landscape and human warmth of southern Italy.