The Sila National Park, a UNESCO heritage site

Sila is a vast plateau of the Calabro Apennines that extends for 150,000 hectares across the provinces of Cosenza, Crotone and Catanzaro, divided from north to south into “Sila Greca”, “Sila grande” and “Sila piccola”.

The climate of the Sila varies with the variation of altitude. At a lower altitude, the climate is Mediterranean: in summer the temperature is about 26-27 degrees with little rainfall, in winter the temperatures are between 2 and 6 degrees, even with abundant snowfall; instead from 1000 meters onwards the climate is mountainous, with low temperatures and short summers.

The Sila is the wettest part of Calabria, where there are the main lakes and rivers of the region. The main rivers are the Crati river and the Neto river, the two longest and most important rivers of Calabria. The Silane lakes, all of artificial origin, are Lake Cecita, Lake Ampollino, Lake Arvo and Lake Ariamacina. Sila preserves a floristic heritage of great scientific value. The Sila flora is made up of more than 900 species. Some of these are exclusive to the Calabrian reliefs such as the Calabrian Soldanella and the Calabrian Luzula, others are exclusive to the southern Apennines such as the maple of the Acer lobelii variety and still others are exclusive to the Calabrian-Peloritan Apennines such as the “Rosa viscosa”.

The Silan area is home to the typical fauna of the Apennine areas. The wolf is still present, despite the persecutions, the disappearance of its ideal habitat and the rarefaction of the wild mammals that constitute its food base. The wolf, protected by law since 1976, was in danger of extinction in past decades, but thanks to the institution of the Calabria National Park it was possible to re-colonize this carnivore both inside and outside the protected area. Other mammals currently present in Sila are roe deer and red deer. The deer had become extinct at the beginning of the last century and for just over a decade it has been present in particular in the Sila grande, thanks to the reintroduction carried out by the State Forestry Corps. The roe deer, on the other hand, has been the subject of a repopulation action in the past years and today it is present on all sectors of the plateau. There are also wild boar and hare, both the Italic and the common species.

In addition to its natural beauties, the Sila also has gastronomic specialties, such as caciocavallo Silano and provola Silana. Then there are the local cured meats: the soppressata, the sausage, the ‘nduja: a wide range of products, including oil and chilli.

The Sila has been recognized as a UNESCO heritage site and as the purest area in Europe for its uncontaminated and fascinating territory. At least once you should go and visit this beautiful area full of wonders and taste the typical local organic products that give guarantees to the consumer.

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Francesco D’Auria


II A – Furci Siculo


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