Sila’s Uncharted Poverella, Calabria

Deep in Calabria’s Sila National Park mountains, uncharted Poverella is a unique destination, which isn’t known to travellers.

With invitations to meet cousins from Poverella while enjoying a gastronomic Calabrese lunch, how could anyone pass up this opportunity?

Where is Poverella?

The region of Calabria covers the toe of Italy’s boot and is rumoured to be one of Italy’s region that is seldom visited, although this is changing. Poverella is nestled in Calabria’s Sila National Park.

Belonging to the municipality of Rogliano, in Calabria’s Cosenza province, Poverella sees few tourists. Surprising, because Poverella’s surrounding area is nothing short of stunning and an area for nature lovers.

map of Poverella, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Not to mention breathing in healthy, fresh air when visiting, or should you decide to remain and live in Poverella.

Hailed to have the cleanest air in Italy, the Sila National Park also offers fantastic winter sports, treks, summer cool picnic spots – all a mere stone’s throw from Poverella.

Minutes from Poverella is picturesque man-made Lake Arvo in Lorica. Another wonderful destination that can’t be missed and visited briefly on today’s tour, and makes anyone longing to return.

A little on Poverella

Rising 1,225-metres above sea level, the quaint village of Poverella is home to only around 70 locals.

Calabria is renown for its slower pace of life and Poverella enjoys an even slower pace – it’s as though time stands still in this scenic mountain village that is close enough to world-class winter activities but far enough for peace and serenity. Check out these stunning winter photos that my cousin kindly provided for this post…

Poverella is the feminine word in Italian for a poor person. Although, this village is anything but poor. Rather, Poverella is rich in natural beauty and lush soil. The village exudes a close-knit community spirit and everyone looks out for each other.

Lingering lunch and customs

Ancient traditions of preserving fruits, vegetables, and also making Calabrese Sopressa (aged salami) is common, as is home-baking recipes, handed down through family generations. Many locals still make their own delicious pasta at home, which I sampled today for lunch on this gastronomic journey.

Pasta making, Poverella, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Preparation for today’s lunch

Fresh home-made is so much tastier and a sensual experience than shop-bought packet pasta. Several photos of my cousin’s home-made delicious delights that she whips up frequently – patience and time required.

The cold winter months see heavy snow dumped on Poverella and the village is snowed in so, many hours are spent creating sumptuous meals for the family and near-by residents. Another reason for the need to be self-sufficient in this small village.

Family heritage

Of course, when visiting relatives for the first time, family connections are a hot topic. Always fascinated by my family heritage, my cousin’s work on the family tree dating back a couple of centuries is laid on the floor to compare notes.

ancestry, Poverella, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Family tree

Clearly, my cousin completed much more research than I started a while back. Discovering your family roots takes a lot of time as the records are not always available, but good to know the passion of researching our roots is shared by other relatives.

The State Archives in Cosenza restores manuscripts and records dating back to the 14th century, which I was lucky enough to watch the painstaking restoration procedure.

Potato festival

If you visit the Sila during August and the beginning of September, you can participate in the Sila Potato Festival, which is held every year. With only a couple of days left of the potato festival close-by to Poverella in Bocca di Piazza, decide to visit briefly for a taste of what this event offers.

Potato Festival, Poverella, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Official Potato Festival sign

Typically, you can enjoy culinary shows, street performances, local handicrafts, and cultural meetings. Although, a dull drizzly day keeps festival-goers away. There’s not too much happening apart from a few food stalls, offering earthly flavoursome tastings.

Potato Festival, Poverella, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
The 38th year of the festival

Rustic camping is also offered in a field next to the festival for those that wish to remain for the festival’s duration. As it’s summer, it’s not too cold in Poverella, although still quite fresh at this altitude.

Potato Festival, Poverella, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Rudimentary campsite

This region of Calabria is famous for its potatoes and sourced by restaurants around Italy. Parenti – The Land of my Father – is another area where potatoes are grown and renown to be the best in the country. I believe that the soil is optimal but also the clean natural water that cascades from the mountains filling rivers and estuaries also help.

You can say that almost anything grows in Calabria. Amongst a plethora of regional produce and delicacies, Calabria is also famous in Italy for the Peperoncino (hot chilli).

Peperoncino, hot chilli, Lamezia Terme, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Welcoming sign at Lamezia Terme International Airport – around 36-kilometres from Poverella

Getting there

You would think as Poverella is in the Sila National Park – a great area in summer for picnics and also in winter for snow activities – that the region is serviced well with public transport? Not so – you need a car.

Unless you have a car, then it’s difficult and time-consuming to get to Poverella by public transport. A train line to this area doesn’t exist and buses are scarce.

Cosenza to Piano Lago to Poverella, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Typically, a train from Cosenza takes you to Rogliano. A bus is waiting at Rogliano train station to take you on the 23-kilometre-journey to Bocca di Piazza. From here, you need a car for the rest of the trip for the almost 5-kilometres to Poverella.

Today, the Ferrovie della Calabria older-graffitied train (under €2 one-way) leaves from Cosenza Centro train station to Piano Lago, for the 25-minutes on a very pleasant trip.

This train line ends at Marzi, around 40-minutes from Cosenza. Wandering around Piano Lago until my cousin kindly picks me up for the drive through the stunning Sila National Park, I stumble on an ancient well at the train station.

Well, Piano Lago, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Perhaps medieval?

Would love to know more information about this unexpected find at the station.

Leaving Piano Lago on the outskirts of Cosenza, the remnants of city life melts away during the hour’s drive from Piano Lago. The bustle is replaced with quietness as we hug steep mountains on the ascent through lush tall-treed forests to Poverella – Robin Hood country. The air becomes fresher the higher we climb along the narrow winding road, until reaching charming but isolated Poverella.

Leaving Poverella

After a wonderful day meeting many relatives that I never knew existed, an amazing feast for lunch, a brief stroll through the Potato Festival, discovering more of my family heritage, it’s time for the drive back.

Nightfall makes for a much more dramatic descent down the mountain range, but I’m in safe hands as my cousin knows this road like the back of his hand.

Stopping off at Piano Lago to pick up more passengers, we head to Cosenza as I’m not to take the train back to the city in the dark. A lovely day with amazing Calabrese food and warm hospitality!

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts on Italy.

Poverella, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe



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18 responses to “Sila’s Uncharted Poverella, Calabria”

  1. gillmorris Avatar

    Slounds like the perfect day! Love those snowy scenes :)xx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was Gill and wish I could return… 😉 xx

      1. gillmorris Avatar

        You will soon enough! xx

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Hoping so Gill… 😉 x

  2. Monica Singh Avatar

    Beautiful pictures of a snowy landscape. The blog shared good info about Poverella an offbeat traveling destination with detailed info and awestruck landscape

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the great feedback! And yes, this region in Calabria is gorgeous.
      The snowy pictures belong to my cousins so I can’t take credit for those. 😉

  3. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    I adore Sila, it’s the perfect place in any season! I wish it was easier to get to! There is so much I still want to explore there.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      The Sila is such a stunning area in Calabria. I have to explore more also and with so many relatives living there, shouldn’t be too hard. 😉
      I’m sure the Sila is similar to some parks in Canada?

  4. Olympus Mountaineering Avatar

    Calabria is one of my favourite regions of Italy.

    Lovely people, great food, beautiful towns and villages. Reggio Calabria also is a great place to live!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Totally agree but then again, there are so many gorgeous regions in Italy, each unique in its own way… 😉
      Thanks for your feedback!

  5. wetanddustyroads Avatar

    Away from the crowds and still untouched … yes, I’m sure this place must be a real gem to visit. I love the look of that Carnevale pasta 👀.
    The best pasta I’ve ever tasted was in Sicily which was hand made with an amazing tomato sauce. We’ve never been to Italy, but reading your posts here, I can see we will find wonderful tasty pasta there as well.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Indeed and not too far really from Cosenza – a major city.
      I think the Carnevale pasta is my cousin’s creation – she’s an amazing cook!

  6. the eternal traveller Avatar

    This is the kind of place we enjoy visiting – a little different than the usual tourist haunts. How lovely for you to see it with your relations.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      I’m very lucky and just wish I stayed a few days to really experience the village, but also learn how to make pasta.

      1. the eternal traveller Avatar

        Perhaps you’ll go back again one day.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Hoping so… ☺️

  7. Rebecca Cuningham Avatar

    The food and the genealogy look wonderful.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Rebecca! Such a wonderful experience connecting with new relatives and one’s heritage.
      Hope all is well with you an your family.

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