Aspromonte, Nature’s Heart in Magna Grecia. Between Nature and Art

Aspromonte is a mountain massif in the Calabrian Apennines in the province of Reggio Calabria, a very picturesque area of this region.
Aspromonte. Photo Pentedattilo Andrea Laurenzano – Reggio Calabria Welcome

Aspromonte – a  mountain massif in the Calabrian Apennines in the province of Reggio Calabria – means White Mountain. Its name dates back to the ancient Greeks who lived and settled these areas, and who admired the snow of the mountains and the waters of its streams (fiumare). Aspromonte is a very picturesque area of this region.

Aspromonte: a very suggestive area of ​​this region.

Its small villages, some of them by now uninhabited, have houses that seem to climb up the rocks. Everything here is reminiscent of Magna Graecia. First and foremost its language, Grecanico, protected by Law 482/1999, along with other Italian minority languages, such as Friulian and Sardinian. 

Aspromonte is a pristine region: with sudden weather changes, offering cool nights even in summer, you are nature’s guest here. Complete silence is sometimes broken only by the howling of the wind or the tolling of church bells. Aspromonte has been covered by the media as the land of ‘Ndrangheta’ and kidnappings, but now it’s time for redemption. The rediscovery of this area is already a fact. Local people are making an effort to change this negative image and ensure that tourists and visitors can dive back into history, as well as into the cradle of Greek culture.

Many revival initiatives revolve around the Aspromonte National Park

Many revival initiatives revolve around the Aspromonte National Park, which covers over 65,000 hectares and comprises some 37 municipalities. Montalto is the highest mountain in Aspromonte with its peak in the municipality of San Luca, a town known for being the birthplace of the writer Corrado Alvaro. Montalto has a series of valleys where streams flow down to the sea. For its geological and geomorphological features this massif is really unique, at least in Europe.

The ancient villages of Aspromonte

Gerace, Bova, Mammola, Africo, Cittanova, and Stilo are some of the ancient villages of Aspromonte. All these places have a rich artistic and food culture, offering a perfect combination of history, art, and nature!

There are many paths for trekking enthusiasts: Cammino del Brigante, Sentiero dei Greci, the path from Montalto to Madonna di Polsi in San Luca, and Sentiero dell’Inglese from Pentedattilo to Staiti. A perfect spot to cool off are the Amendolea Waterfalls, with a breathtaking view of three large waterfalls with crystal-clear water. Visitors cannot miss the true flavours of Aspromonte, including olive oil and chestnuts, salami, piccantino, and mushrooms.

From an artistic and cultural point of view, in addition to the Sanctuary of the Madonna dei Polsi di San Luca, standing at almost one thousand metres altitude and reachable on foot through an archaic-looking path, there is the evocative Cattolica di Stilo, an ancient and extremely charming Byzantine church. Reggio Calabria lies at the foot of Aspromonte, with the National Archaeological Museum where the Riace Bronzes are on display.