The lovely hamlet of Lorica in Calabria’s Sila Grande is probably a destination in Italy that’s not on a traveller’s bucket list, but this is why you must visit…
With relatives in Lorica, this gives me a great excuse to visit this alluring part of the Sila National Park – though I don’t really need an excuse.
Where is Lorica?
To familiarise yourself with Lorica’s position – this map displays the pleasing and unheard-of escape, which lies in Italy’s unique Calabrian region.
Charming Lorica rests at an altitude of 1,314-metres above sea level, in the spectacular Sila National Park.
The village of Lorica experiences cooler climes in the summer and heavy snow during the winter months – great reasons for Lorica’s popularity all year-round. Although sometimes, I believe that Lorica is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets.
Ski resorts offer 24-kilometres of ski slopes, which are served by 5 fully equipped ski lifts…
…and appealing, chalets with open fireplaces, Lorica also offers many adventurous snow activities. Including, long majestic snow treks through the Sila National Park.
The summer months also offer trekking trips on many trails through the stunning natural national park and quaint boat trips around Lake Arvo.
Enchanting Lake Arvo
One of the largest lakes in the Sila National Park, man-made Lake Arvo was built between 1927 and 1931 as part of three lakes in this wild area of the Sila, to generate hydroelectricity. With a perimeter of 24-kilometres, the lake lends itself to many rowing competitions.
Picturesque Lake Arvo is flanked by Swiss-style grand chalets, and also offers camping in the area at various times throughout the year.
If fishing is your passion, then Lake Arvo is brimming with Carp, Perch, Trout, and several other fish-types.
A handful of traditional bars and restaurants dot this pristine lake, including, a well-equipped fuel station the Q8 distributore di benzina that sells local souvenirs.
Pop in for a traditional and delicious bite to eat at the Rifugio Lo Scoiattolo restaurant, while watching the sun recede from the lake with a favourite Calabrese Aperol Spritz.
Scenic boat trip – Lake Arvo
The trip around the 8.7-kilometre-long lake in a small motorised boat provides an interesting commentary on Lake Arvo’s history – while you absorb the serenity and admire the Arvo’s surrounding natural beauty.
Moving slowly around Arvo’s bends while rounding undulating hills and sandbanks, think back to how Arvo’s stones were laid by hand in the early 20th-century – some areas over 20-metres high.
The peaceful 30-minute boat trip exploring and learning a little on Lake Arvo ends much too soon. In the summer months, sun chairs and sun brollies grace the lake’s sandy stretches.
Publishing a splattering of information on the Sila Grande (Sila National Park) in several previous posts, also re-capping in this post as the Sila is such a gorgeous national park to visit.
As the wettest part of Calabria, the spectacular Sila is one of Italy’s oldest national parks and contains 900 species of Flora. Fauna such as the wolf still roams the Sila, but quite elusive.
Believed to have been planted in the mid-17th-century, the ancient Giant Pines of Sila in Cosenza’s province is home to 56 Larch trees, of which some are estimated at 350-plus years old.
The Sila is a hidden precious jewel, nestled in the wild and rugged untouched Calabrian Apennines. An inviting venue to escape the summer’s scorching heat and enjoy a lavish, Calabrese BBQ with friends.
A little on The Apennines
The vast Apennines mountain range joins the Ligurian Alps at Altare, extending 1,324-kilometres (823 miles) to the Straits of Messina in Reggio Calabria, and the origin of the majority of Italy’s rivers.
The highest point of the Apennines ascends to 2,276-metres. Then, descending to its lowest point in Catanzaro’s height of only 250-metres. The Apennines’ range creates a dramatic spine through Italy.
The southern Apennines starts from Pollino on Basilicata’s border cutting through Calabria and mostly covering the region. A region of Italy that’s often missed by tourists and especially, foreign travellers.
Getting to Lorica
As the Sila National Park is such a huge tourist attraction for locals and nationals in the summer to escape the heat and for snow sports during winter, you’d think that Lorica would be well-serviced with public transport. Short answer? No.
If you have a car, then of course, life is much easier. Catching a bus for the 60-kilometre (one-way) trip from Cosenza is ‘nigh impossible during the week, especially during certain times of day or year.
The Ferrovie della Calabria bus line ends at the picturesque Giovanni in Fiore, services Lorica so check the link for ever-changing bus times.
Forget about catching a bus on Sundays. Although the trial run for the bus (€ 4.80 one-way) on Sundays this summer proved popular and is extended until the end of September.
Not sure whether this will continue in the following years. It’s difficult to find updated bus timetables online, and a trip to Cosenza’s Autostazione is your only alternative. It helps if the information booth at the bus terminal is open though.
You may need to change bus at Carmiglatello where another waits, to continue to Lorica. I only changed on the return journey. The second visit to Lorica was brief in a hired car from Rogliano, with overseas friends – definitely much easier.
Why not take an all-day side trip on the fabulous nostalgic steam train trip? This train leaves from Moccone travelling through the Sila, stopping off at mountain villages along the way, to sample traditional delights, before heading to San Giovanni in Fiore.
The steam train doesn’t go to Lorica as there isn’t a train line in that part of the Sila, but it’s definitely worth experiencing this marvellous and fun day trip if you’re in this area.