Pollino National Park

Established in 1990, the reserve contains over 200.000 hectares of uncontaminated nature.  It covers an area including the Pollino, Monte Alpi and Orsomarso mountain ranges and contains 56 municipalities belonging to the provinces of Potenza, Matera and Cosenza. The reserve is extremely rich in monuments and archaeological remains, ruins of ancient buildings, castles and fortresses as well as convents, monasteries, sanctuaries, churches and chapels. The towns in the area are incredibly tied to tradition, with inhabitants maintaining the use of typical costume on special occasions and genuine local cuisine. One of the most common itineraries is that to the Monte la Spina mountain, where you can find spectacular trees known as Pini Loricati: age old pines that over the years have grown in peculiar forms and angles in a beech forest surrounded by pastures where herds still graze freely. The area is renowned for the extraordinary cheeses like those made of cows milk, goats milk and the local caciocavallo. Apart from the uncontaminated, organic food, the local festas are a real treat often celebrating nature like that in honour of the silver fir in Rotonda. Numerous processions take place during the summer months like the one that to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pollino. The strength of the traditions in these areas can be felt in towns like San Costantino Albanese and San Paolo Albanese where local communities still speak in Albanian and have maintained the typical costumes, religion and rituals of their home country.