The Sila National Park is a protected area of about 74,000 acres, a mainly mountainous territory dominated 80% by forests, woods and meadows with an extraordinary biodiversity.
Those who love nature, sports, walks along nature trails, those who want to live closely to nature, history, culture and traditions can have access to this extraordinary environmental heritage guarded by the Park Authority.
The Park includes three areas: Sila Grande, Sila Piccola and Sila Greca, with 21 municipalities in 3 provinces (Cosenza, Catanzaro and Crotone). In the Park there are firs, beech branches that are wonderful and multicoloured of autumn, chestnut, oak and pine forests of larch as high as 50 meters.
The biogenetic nature reserves are nine and, among these, two of which are noteworthy: "The Giants of Sila" (which houses 53 colossal pine larch trees with over 500 years of age and 5 maple trees of the same age) and the Reserve "Golia - Corvo," repopulation and acclimatization area of deer.
Among the typical fauna of the Park there are: the Apennine wolf; a symbol of the Park the roe deer, the deer - recently reintroduced - the wild boar, the hare, the fox, the wild cat, the black squirrel, which is characteristic of the Sila, the eagle owl, the buzzard and woodpeckers.
The Park is the ideal place to relax, stroll on horseback, ride on mountain bikes, walking along pathways, capturing nature’s photography.
During the wonderful white winters it is possible to practice snow sports, to cross the plateau by sled dog and to canoe on the beautiful lakes of the Sila.
Many other sports are practicable: snowshoeing, hiking, sailing, rafting, canyoning, archery, bird and animal watching and horseback riding.
It is possible to visit the ancient villages of the municipalities which are part of the Park, or to enjoy yourself at one of the Adventure Parks of Sila (one in Zagarise, in the province of Catanzaro and the other in Lorica, in the province of Cosenza) hanging from the acrobatic parks trees and surrounded by beautiful forests.
School tourism and social and accessible tourism have a great importance for the Sila National Park: in fact the National Park Authority every year issue a tender for the granting of contributions to cover 90% of travel costs in favour of Educational Institutions, Organizations, Associations and Cooperatives of elderly and disabled people, from all over Italy and abroad, who organize social trips or stays with at least two nights in an accommodation units within the Park.
The Visitor Centre "Cupone", located in the Sila Grande, in the province of Cosenza, created from the adaptation of the spaces around a state-owned sawmill now completely renovated; It is an environmental education centre with nature trails, bird watching, museum, geological garden and a botanical garden accessible to the blind with tables and mp3 audio files that explain the various essences.
The natural history museum is accessible to the blind with a specific path. The centre is wheelchair accessible.
All this, in addition to the adjacent area equipped for picnics along the lake Cecita, makes the Visitor Centre of Cupone one of the busiest areas of the Sila Park.
The Visitor Centre "Antonio Garcea", located in the Sila Piccola, a few kilometres from Villaggio Mancuso in the province of Catanzaro, is the promotion, information and hospitality point for visitors to the Sila.
It is a highly specialized centre of excellence in environmental education within which you can enjoy a series of activities dedicated to the Nature Protection, training, education, the disclosure, the recreation and the research. In the Centre there have been made spaces and trails that allow the accessibility to the natural environment for everyone. Along the educational trail of this centre there is a pathway for users with physical disabilities and a path for the blind.
The museum parts open to the public are various.
In June of 2014, the Park officially became the tenth Italian Biosphere Reserve, gaining the MAB (Man and Biosphere) recognition from Unesco.
But there's more, in 2011 the Sila Park was inserted in the Tentative List (Propositional list) from Unesco, the list of natural sites candidates to become a World Heritage Site.
4 ways to discover the Sila Park ...
5 things to do in the Parco della Sila
The discipline of orienting oneself within nature, of Scandinavian origin, is a new sporting activity that combines fun with learning. It eliminates the fear of loss and the fear of the obstacle, because it teaches, among other things, to consult the cards and use the compass.
Sailing and canoeing
From the larger lakes - Cecita, Arvo and Ampollino - to the smaller ones - Ariamacìna and Passante - all the lakes in the Sila National Park are artificial basins created thanks to dams by dams. Rarely poor in water, they constitute a privileged surface for engaging in navigation. Especially during the summer it will be possible to rent sailboats or surfboards, canoes or paddles.
Gorges in the narrow mountain area of Calabria draw canyons in whose deep watercourses flow from the abundant flow, which become a particular attraction for those who, within the Parco della Sila, want to follow them almost adventurously with their feet in the water, passing between wild and marshy vegetation, waterfalls and waterfalls and overcoming differences in height using ropes and carabiners. The gorges of the Trionto, of the Ortisano, of the Vulganera in its engagement with the Coserie, of the Soleus and of the Simeri, of the Alli and of the Corace, of the Melito and of the Crocchio and still of the Tàcina well lend themselves to satisfy those who put the risk as a moment rewarding for a holiday lived in contact with nature.
In the Parco della Sila, archery courses become a pleasant diversion and an excellent amusement. They combine sporting concentration with naturalistic enjoyment. Immersed in the greenery, in the spaces adapted to this sport, it will be easier to understand and savor the value of the silences of the forest.
Bio and Bird-Watching, Nature Photography
The environment of the Sila National Park offers countless opportunities to observe its rich fauna and, especially, the birds. Squirrels jumping among the branches of the larch pine woods, foxes that escape the company, kestrels, hoopoes, barn owls, buzzards, hawks that soar in the blue skies of the plateau: the subjects for your observations or for your photos will not miss certainly.
The Sila Train is not a common train. Designed to introduce tourists and tourism in "a region to be organized in the region"; a vehicle designed as a tool that, by crossing an area of already suggestive uniqueness, would have transformed it into "one of the most fruitful, most prosperous, of the most beautiful areas of the peninsula", a train that would have brought people and places together of the Sila traveling inside the silane landscape.
On carriages recovered to history, with restored steam locomotives - the old pride of the mechanical industry of the 1920s and 1930s - throughout the year, with multiple trips a day, the Sila Train continues to guarantee runs to the ski resorts , extraordinary routes directed in particular to a public eager to recover in the journey the peaceful atmospheres of a truly still extraordinary habitat, at the rhythmic rhythm of the sounds of the old, indestructible wooden sleepers.
For information, reservations and ticketing: www.trenodellasila.it