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From Marina to the GiantBASILICATA


From Marina to the Giant

Article published in Speciali di Motociclismo magazine in 2002.

An itinerary that revolves around the Pollino National Park, on spectacular roads that lead to villages perched on inaccessible mountains.

Read the story published in the magazine.

The marina of Maratea is the only Lucanian outlet to the sea on the Tyrrhenian Sea, compressed between Campania and Calabria.

30 kilometers scarce to look out over what is one of the most panoramic points of the Gulf of Policastro, where, thanks also to the conformation of the coast, rough and narrow, the damage clearly visible even a short distance from here was prevented by a reckless speculative aggression .

But the absolute and undisputed protagonist of this itinerary is the giant of the Apennines, that Mount Pollino, the extreme limit of demarcation between Basilicata and Calabria.

So once you have paid the right attention to the town that is perched on the slopes of Monte San Biagio, with its narrow medieval streets, between old houses and ancient churches, it is immediately road, it is immediately the first step of the path, the Passo della Colla, which permanently hides the view of the sea.

The narrow valley of the Noce is crossed to go up to Lauria, characteristic for the eighteenth-century wrought iron railings that decorate houses and palaces.

A buttress of the Serra di Sant’Elia divides the town into two agglomerations, Lauria Superiore, called the Castle and Lauria Inferiore, called the Borgo.

The road continues to climb in a rocky landscape, and as soon as you cross the Prestieri pass, there it is in the background the Pollino block.

On fine days the glance is truly remarkable.

We officially enter the protected area, descending towards the town of Castelluccio which is also divided into upper and lower.

The first in an impregnable position on a terraced slope, scenically arranged on the underlying state road that touches the lower village. Observing the steep slopes of the Cozzo Pastano on which it is built, one can well understand the reason for the failed attempt by the troops of the Neapolitan Republic in 1799 against the Bourbons barricaded within the city walls.

But now the protagonist becomes the street: in Rotonda there are 2 possibilities both worthy of attention.

The first follows the road to Viggianello and then San Severino Lucano with good asphalt, skirting the Tyrrhenian side of the massif; the second by climbing directly on it, with a road that is certainly not always in excellent condition but absolutely spectacular in its scenography.

The road is not well signposted, but once you have taken the detour just after Rotonda, ask in the village, perhaps it is better, keep the main road for Coppola di Paola, climbing towards the Serra del Prete.

Have you arrived in S. Severino? Well you are not lost.

But let's think about avoiding the ss653, the Sinnica, then left to Episcopia and then up to Chiaromonte and Senise. How does the road look to you?

After Senise, on the right, the homonymous dam, inaugurated in 1983, is clearly visible and represents one of the largest clay works in Europe.

But now psychologically prepare for the visit of Colobraro, the "sentinel of the Val D’Agri", located at 630m above sea level, on a rocky spur at the confluence of the Sinni and Sarmento rivers.

Climb to the top of the village where the ruins of the castle lie, and open your gaze. The view, if the weather assists you, is immeasurable, the horizon runs at 360 °: beautiful.

To avoid taking the same road, in the village, turn left, and descend towards Valsinni, only 5 kilometers but immersed in flowery meadows and with a view that remains moving for its spectacularity.

After Valsinni, pay attention up to San Giorgio Lucano, probably the worst 20 kilometers of the entire itinerary, with bad asphalt, holes and gravel in the curves, a real crap.

However we are in the Sarmento valley with its Albanian colonies where traditions, ancient customs and dialects still survive today, which have been handed down since 500, when a colony of refugees settled in the valley due to the Turkish conquest of the Peloponnese which forced them to exile.

We are almost at the end. Tired? Let's take the last detour: San Paolo Albanese, Shen Pali is the smallest town in the region.

Here you can still see the older women, during the summer, sitting on the steps of their homes, dressed in the typical Albanian costume, with white blouses adorned with lace, long skirt and apron.

All that remains is to go back down from where we arrived to arrive in a few kilometers in San Costantino Albanese, Shen Kostandini, with its bilingual signs, the ideal starting point for excursions in the eastern part of the park.

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