Sharing another 5 secret villages in Calabria to whet your appetite for a little travel to delightful southern Italy…
Only hearing of Cerisano because of an invitation from Erika of Piano B – Event Project Management to hold my Image Earth Faces Photography Exhibition in the stunning medieval Palazzo Sersale, this ancient village holds many secrets.
Sharing this great quick video by hallo bunny as it captures the palazzo beautifully.
Founded around the 15th-century BC, this timeworn village is only around 10-kilometres from Cosenza and does not disappoint.
Apprehension while waiting for the exhibition to start…
As with many villages in the summertime in Calabria, during August and into September, Cerisano holds the Festival of Serre. If lucky enough to visit during this time, sections of Cerisano become open-air nooks for theatre, visual arts, classical music, cultural events, jazz, and cinema.
A good reason to visit Cerisano in the hills near Cosenza is that this village is not on the tourist milk-run and to experience an authentic Calabrese village.
2. San Nicola Silano
The tiny village of San Nicola Silano (San Nicola) in Calabria’s expansive Sila National Park, boasts numerous stunning hiking self-guided or guided trails, for varying degrees of fitness levels.
With only around 18 buildings and a handful of locals in the village, the main reason I bumped into San Nicola is during a wonderful action-packed day on a nostalgic steam train trip.
Traversing through the gorgeous national park starting from the Moccone station, this fabulous day ends in San Giovani in Fiore.
Rustic terracotta rooftops set the scene…
…near where the steam train is shunted to turn around for the journey back to Moccone.
There’s always time for food and local traditional treats in Calabria – this is an Italian passion, but especially with the Calabrese.
Read more about this terrific train trip through the humble village of San Nicola: Steam train through the Sila, Southern Italy
3. San Giovanni Fiore
Surrounded by mountains and sitting only a few kilometres from the imposing Montenero Mountain range, San Giovanni Fiore was built by the Calabrian monk Joachim of Fiore. With origins dating back to 1188, this is the oldest, largest, and most populated of the villages in the Sila National Park.
Not the original site of Florense Abbey due to a fire in 1214, a new site near the Neto River Valley was chosen with the Romanesque-style abbey completed in 1230.
The abbey’s soaring ceiling and sparse stone walls exude an ambience of solitude and peace while encompassing centuries of history.
For a minimal entry fee, you can visit the interesting Demographic Museum of Economy. Work and Social Silan History is housed on the ground and first floors (east wing) of Florian’s Saint John in Bloom.
This secret village offers flights, balloon and helicopter rides, private sightseeing tours including walking and biking, and outdoor activities.
Experience more in the village of San Giovanni Fiore: Steam train through the Sila, Southern Italy
Bordering Basilicata and based at the foot of the mountains in the Pollino National Park – Italy’s largest national park – a stunning amphitheatre of soaring mountains and majestic gorges is your introduction to Castrovilliari.
Quaint streets with vistas to the mountains await a traveller…
…until you stumble on the impressive Castello Aragonese di Castrovillari. Completed around 1490 after almost 30 years in construction, this imposing castle was built to curb a rebellious population against foreign rule.
One of the four towers of the Aragonese castle holds a sinister and tragic history.
On the day of my visit to the castle, music in the distance pulls me to a room in the castle’s walls where a maestro is teaching traditional Calabrese folk music on his accordion to two young Ragazzi.
Privileged to be allowed to rest awhile and listen to this precious and memorable encounter, Paolo explains what each song’s meaning is to his students while reciting the lyrics.
More on this lovely village: Cosenza Day Trip: Castrovilliari, Calabria
Just over an hour’s drive from Cosenza, lovely Lorica in Calabria’s Sila Grande – one of Italy’s oldest national parks – offers snow activities in the winter and a cooler climate in the summer to enjoy pristine lakes, picnics, and alluring trekking trails.
Spectacular vistas surround postcard-perfect Lorica and exude extremely fresh clean air and marvellous nature walks.
Take a relaxing boat tour around Lake Arvo before stopping at one of the local Calabrese restaurants for your fill of sumptuous delicious authentic food.
Lorica’s more detailed post: Sila’s Lovely Lorica, Calabria
Where is Calabria?
Calabria is one of those almost unheard of regions in southern Italy that beckons adventurous travellers. Far from the tourist radar, this gorgeous region of Italy is sandwiched between the azure-blue crystal waters of the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas.
If you want to discover more, I share hidden secrets in loads of posts after spending four years in Calabria.
Have you been to Calabria? Leave me a comment and let me know which villages in Calabria you visited or whether you know of the villages in this post. Make sure to check out part 1 of Calabria’s secret villages.