Pollino National Park
flora and fauna + other 4 things to see
The protagonist of today's article is the wider protected area of Italy: the Pollino National Park.
From the Basilicata to Calabria, the National Park of the Pollino includes 3 Italian provinces: Potenza, Matera, and Cosenza.
It is located on the border of the two southern regions above quoted, practically the "ankle" of the peninsula.
The Pollino National Park invites us to the discovery of the wonders hidden among the peaks of Dolcedorme and Cozzo del Pellegrino.
The protected area is constituted by the Pollino and Orsomarso mountains, belonging to the mountainous chain of the southern Apennines, along the border between Basilicata and Calabria.
In this Park, there are some of the tallest peaks of South Italy, some of them overcoming 2200 meters, pleasantly covered with snow.
From the mountains of the Park, you can see the sea and the beaches of Calabria, and particularly the coasts of Maratea, Praia Sea, Belvedere Marittimo and, to the east, those from Sibari to Metaponto.
To know more about the Italian Parks read "13 best Italian National Parks".
National park of the Pollino
flora and fauna
It is a competition of variety and beauty that in which the flora and the fauna of the National Park of the Pollino are challenged.
Let's start with the flora that it is considered unique for quality and vastness in all the Mediterranean, also thanks to the territory and its different climatic conditions.
Endemic and rare species or, vegetables as the maple woods of Monte Sparviere Mountain, in the Ionic slope.
Here you can admire well five different kinds of maple that cohabit, "branch to branch": they are the field maple, the sycamore maple, the Lobel maple, the maple of Hungary, and the Norway maple.
In general, the typologies vary inside the Park of the Pollino due to the altitude: next to the coast, up to the 700-800 ms, the Mediterranean stain reigns with holm oak, juniper, myrtle, strawberry tree, and broom.
Passing to more sandy or rocky zones there is low vegetation denominated "Gariga," or "Mediterranean steppe."
Raising above the 800 ms, up to the 1100 ms, it starts the kingdom of the oaks that coexist in a lot of varieties, at times also sharing their area of the National Park of the Pollino with hornbeam, maple, chestnut tree and with the Neapolitan alder, an endemic variety of Corsica and the southern Apennines.
The fauna of the National Park of the Pollino is as spectacular as the flora, even if it focuses on the bugs' world.
You could discover the Buprestis Splendens, one of the rarest coleopters in Europe and the Alpine Rosalia, a very beautiful and fluorescent Coleopter of blue color.
Passing to the most known mammals, the National Park of the Pollino hosts them in great quantities beginning from the wolf and the wildcat, from the marten, the skunk up to the otter.
And then there are ungulates as the wild boar, the venison, or rodents as the southern squirrel.
And don't forget the bats: until now little research had been done on them, but there are lots of varieties deserving attention.
WHAT TO SEE IN POLLINO
Located at little distance by the border with Calabria, St. Severino Lucano is a small village that attracted my attention because in its outskirts there are a lot of things that you can do.
The Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Pollino
I have spent little time in St. Severino, but it gave me the impression to be the traditional mountain village where life goes slow, everyone knows each other, and they are kind to the visitors.
Not by chance, in a bar, I have found a person that has suggested to me what to do in Pollino in complete autonomy.
I went then to fraction Frazione di Mezzana, where is located the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pollino.
The sanctuary and the shelter reopen in June, but I was able to slip inside the site, from where, just as the bartender had foretold me, I'd be able to admire the mountains.
I know that for who is accustomed to the mountain is nothing special, but for me has been a party!
Mountains attract me for their majesty, for me the vision of the peaks of the Pollino has been to a little bewitching.
Wood Magnano and the Peschiera river
Going back and passing the same St. Severino, I reached one of the more known places of the park: Wood Magnano.
There is no information or road sign, so my suggestion is to ask the locals, it is a popular destination, especially for many lovers of woods' walks.
The symbol of the Pollino National Park is the Pino Loricato (Heldreich’s pine), but Wood Magnano has welcomed me with high beech trees!
I believe that I didn't penetrate too much in the wood, I was alone and a bit scared.
But in its more inaccessible zones, you can meet deer and wild boars, it didn't happen to me.
I just walked near the picnic areas, near the hotel Albergo Bosco Magnano, where I had lunch.
In the area, there are so many agriturismo, restaurants, and hotels.
Anyway, my last goal was to walk along the Peschiera River and see the small fall.
After the long winter months, dip the naked feet in the cold water of the stream gave me a feeling of priceless pleasure!
The silence, the green that surrounded me, it all made me enjoy a few but intense minutes of relaxing.
I hope that my brief story on what I saw in the National Park of the Pollino has piqued your curiosity.
Mine was only a one day trip, but the Pollino National Park has a lot to offer, following I'll list other things you can do in Pollino.
Things to see in Pollino National Park
Serra delle Ciavole
the cemetery of the Heldreich’s pines
One of the more original tracks of the Pollino Park is the one that will bring you to the discovery of the Mountain Serra delle Ciavole, known for the famous "cemetery of the Heldreich’s pines".
A magic place where to admire the majesty of nature and one of the tallest peaks of the park.
The presence of the artistic and imposing forms of the Heldreich’s pines will amaze you.
The gorges of Raganello
a deep canyon for the excursions
Located in the province of Cosenza, in Calabria, and founded in 1987, the Gorges of Raganello are a natural beauty not to lose.
They extend for 1.600 hectares in the Park and are constituted by imposing rocky formations that create a real canyon to cross with guided excursions on rafts and kayak.
From the source of the Lamia to the Bridge of the Devil, you can plow the waters of the Raganello for about 17 km.
If you like hiking read "The top hiking places in Italy"!
The Pollino Mountain
The Pollino Mountain is 2.248 ms in height, it is the second peak of the Park, that also gives the name to the whole natural reserve.
Known for the phenomenon of the glaciation, whose residual is still today present, and for the seasonal snow.
Here the highest summit of the Park with 2.267 meters in height, the Dolcedorme is a real heaven where to relax, in contact with the wildest nature.
Inevitable the excursion of the laver of Fossa del Lupo, one of the more imposing glaciers of the Park, where you can admire the erratic rocks of notable dimensions trapped after the different glaciations.
The national park of the Pollino
In the National Park of the Pollino, there are hundreds of "agriturismi" that will host you.
Allowing you a deserved rest and at the same time the authentic contact with nature and the traditions of this beautiful land.
I'll quote just the best, inviting you to explore all the opportunities of the whole area.
In Rotunda, there is the agriturismo Calivino, really in the heart of the National Park of the Pollino and with a green approach. All it takes is giving a glance online to see that it is a structure that uses local products, natural materials and environmentally friendly.
The national park of the Pollino
where to sleep
If you want to explore other solutions, on the official site of the park there are suggested over 350 structures where to spend the night.
Here some green proposal like the Fattoria di Arieste in Cirella Diamante, the La Garavina in Terranova di Pollino, and the Masseria Cardillo in Bernalda, all in agritourism style, but there is a world to discover.
Resources: the official Pollino National Park Guide