Calabria: 5 Secret Villages, Part 2

Sharing another 5 secret villages in Calabria to whet your appetite for a little travel to delightful southern Italy…

Calabria villages, southern Italy, Europe
Another 5 secret Calabrese villages

1. Cerisano

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.

Palazzo Cerisale, Cerisano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Palazzo Cerisale

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.

Cerisano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Cerisano alleyways

Apprehension while waiting for the exhibition to start…

Palazzo Cerisale, Cerisano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Image Earth Faces Photographic Exhibition (Photo credit: Concetta Mirabelli)

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.

Read the full post: Image Earth Faces Photographic Exhibition: Cerisano

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.

San Nicola, Calabria, Italy, Europe
San Nicola train station

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…

Malito, Calabria, italy
Roof with a view

…near where the steam train is shunted to turn around for the journey back to Moccone.

San Nicola Silano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Turning the turntable by hand

There’s always time for food and local traditional treats in Calabria – this is an Italian passion, but especially with the Calabrese.

San Nicola Silano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Train stop delicacies

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.

San Giovanni in Fiore, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Aged Medieval steps

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.

Florense Abbey, San Giovanni in Fiore, Calabria, Italy Europe
The Abbey

The abbey’s soaring ceiling and sparse stone walls exude an ambience of solitude and peace while encompassing centuries of history.

Florense Abbey, San Giovanni in Fiore, Calabria, Italy Europe
Grand exit

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.

Museo Demologico, San Giovanni Fiore, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Museo Demologico

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

4. Castrovilliari

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.

Castrovillari, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Fleeting bus glimpse

Quaint streets with vistas to the mountains await a traveller…

Castrovilliari, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Local life

…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.

Castello Aragonese di Castrovillari, Calabria, Italy, Europe

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.

Castrovilliari, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Parts of Castrovilliari are perched high above a medieval wall.

More on this lovely village: Cosenza Day Trip: Castrovilliari, Calabria

5. Lorica

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.

Lake Arvo, Lorica, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Lake Arvo

Spectacular vistas surround postcard-perfect Lorica and exude extremely fresh clean air and marvellous nature walks.

Lake Arvo, Lorica, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Lakeside panorama

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.

Lake Arvo, Lorica, Sila National Park, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Picture perfect

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.

Calabria, southern Italy, Europe
The region of Calabria (Map: Wikipedia)

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.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on Italy at Image Earth Travel.

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33 responses to “Calabria: 5 Secret Villages, Part 2”

  1. Landious Travel Avatar

    It is an amazing place to discover! I ilke it so much …

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes it is and thank you for your comment – much appreciated!
      Have you checked out the first 5 villages?

  2. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    I’ve been to a a couple of these towns. Cerisano is a lovely town! San Giovanni in Fiore is on my list of villages to see- there is so much history there!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It certainly is and hope that you can travel to Giovanni in Fiore soon.
      A lot of villages in Calabria are steeped in history. 🙂
      You may have missed the post on my first 5 villages.

  3. Poorwa Vishwakarma Avatar

    Now I can see why this place is so popular! Nice shots, Nilla!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you and appreciate your comment Poorwa.
      Calabria is a beautiful region of Italy and hope you get to visit one day…

      1. Poorwa Vishwakarma Avatar

        I hope that day comes soon!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        So do I as I’m getting itchy feet, but not possible to plan anything right now.
        How is everything with you?

      3. Poorwa Vishwakarma Avatar

        I’m doing well. Just waiting for my turn to get vaccinated. I think I’ll pass even my last year of school at home, haha.
        How are you?

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Hope that happens soon and that school hasn’t been too hard from home.
        Vaccination in Australia has been quite slow compared to the rest of the world so we’ll see when it’s my turn.
        I’m well thank you. 🙂

      5. Poorwa Vishwakarma Avatar

        Take care and I hope your vaccination goes well.
        Good to know that.

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you and hope it all goes well for you too.

      7. Poorwa Vishwakarma Avatar

        Thank you!

  4. the eternal traveller Avatar

    So much exploring to be done! The last village looks beautiful.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      So true Carol and yes, Lorica is such a beautiful natural area of Calabria. I can see why it’s a popular spot with locals and nationals. Go while it’s relatively unknown to tourists… 😉

      1. the eternal traveller Avatar

        Well, that won’t be for a while. 🙄😊

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yeah same. I have a full time job now so won’t be going anywhere for a while. Australia has got expensive…. 🙁

  5. equinoxio21 Avatar

    Europe is so old, in a nive sense of the word.
    Very nice shots. Grazie.
    Turning the turtable by hand, reminded me of San Francisco in 65-65? As a child watching the passengers turning the cablecar by hand. (Now it’s an employe…)
    All well?

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey Brian, yes it is so old, sometimes hard to fathom for an Ozzie, but then again Aboriginals are 60,000 years old.
      Wow, that would have been great to witness. These days, everything seems to be so mechanised.
      All well here – busy working and renovating. Feels as though there isn’t any time to write. 🙁
      Ok with you? Still travelling to Paris this year?

      1. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Fingers crossed. I will let you know. (And yes, not much time left to do anything… Buon giorno. (Its is dawn for you guys now right?)

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Sounds great!
        Now it’s evening but your comment came in this morning while I was at work. I don’t access my personal sites during work time… 😉

      3. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Sound discipline. 👍🏻

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I thought so too…
        All OK with you?

      5. equinoxio21 Avatar

        All well, thank you. Counting the days… (OMG)

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Lucky you, hope you have a wonderful time. 🙂
        Travel seems out of reach for a while…it’s such a surreal feeling and the first time in my life that the choice has been removed.

      7. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Thank you. ‘Removed’ sounds oh so British as the understatement of the year. With all your travels it must feel like your freedom has been taken away. Can you travel inside OZ? There must be some great places too… (Ayers’ rock to name but one?)

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha, you make me laugh! 🙂
        Feels as though someone has cut off my right arm! Oz holds loads of wonderful places but I’m in the working and saving cash mode now. Only weekends away until I build up time.
        I’ve never been to Ayer’s Rock, nor Tasmania so roll on Oz travel…

      9. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Making a friend laugh makes one’s day. 😀
        I understand your current phase. There are times to spend and times to make money. I hear Tasmania is beautiful too… Plenty to pick from. Though Oz is huge. So week-ends are limited. All the best. Buona… notte, right?

      10. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Very cool and thanks again. 🙂
        Yes, I hear Tassy is gorgeous and must make a point of venturing down there…
        I don’t know, I’ve driven from Brisbane to Sydney on my own in one day – over 900 kilometres with stopping every 2 hours for a break – not so bad. 😉 Think us Australians are used to distances.
        Well, we’re in lock down until Friday evening but think this will be extended.
        Indeed it is notte….bonjour!

      11. equinoxio21 Avatar

        Bonjour indeed. yes, I can imagine you are used to long distances. 900 kms is the length of France from way up North to way down South…

      12. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yes it is and we did a lot of driving in France in Reg the 1997 Fiat Ducato motorhome – loved it and have always loved road trips. 🙂

    2.  Avatar

      Beautiful Calabria!!!!

      1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yes indeed! Calabria is gorgeous. 🙂

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