The Park was inaugurated in 1993. It covers an area of 195 thousand hectares and lies in both Calabria and Basilicata. There are two main mountain ranges: the first and most important is the range which culminates in the DolceDorme peak ( 2,260m) and lies both in Calabria and Basilicata; the second area includes the Orsomarso chain on the western side in Calabria. The Calabrian part is rocky and majestic and characterized by crevices and sheer rock faces. The part in Lucania has a more gentle aspect. The Pino Loricato ( Pinus Leocodermis) is extremely interesting and is considered by experts to be a living fossil because of some of its bio-morphological characteristics which are no longer to be found in other living species. It has a thick protective bark formed of overlapping plaques which give it its name: armour-plated. The other most common trees in the area are beech, maple, fir and oak. There are numerous types of animals which are no longer present in other areas. Wolves, otters, deer, wild cats, Royal eagles, vultures, royal owls and many bird species. There are 32 towns within the park area , all with their specific cultural and architectural interest. Sanctuaries, convents, ancient town centres, and castles all offer interesting alternatives to the natural environment. There are religious festivals and folk festivals which allow the visitor to become part of this old and beautiful land.
The town stands on the edge of a deep and mysterious gorge in the limestone formed by the Raganello River (The Raganello Gorge) on the eastern side of the Pollino. It was founded by exiled Albanians and the old buildings can still be seen and are examples of the nationality and culture of the founding fathers which are of great interest to any visitor. Here the famous VAllje are still held. These are traditional dances and festivities. Interesting industrial remains such as wind and water mills and the spinning looms can be seen.
Visit: The Raganello Gorge.v
This is certainly one of the most important and fascinating places in the Pollino National Park. Its very position offers a marvellous panorama which once was extremely important strategically. The view takes in the Valley of the River Coscile and ancient Sybaris. Right at the top of the town stands the Norman castle, now in ruins. But two most important monuments are the Church of San Bernardino, built towards the middle of the fifteenth century by the Sanseverino family and a little further on, the Church of the Maddalena, one of the most illustrious examples of CAlabrian baroque art ( inside ) while outside the architecture is neo-classical. The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul with statues by Bernini is also a must. At the foot of the Serra del Prete mountain (1000m) you can see the remains of the Convent of Colloreto founded in 1545.
Visit: The Castle – The Church of San Bernardino – The Church of the Maddalena – The Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.