Thursday, March 3, 2011

Out of Calabria--Monte Sirino

We headed to the mountains last week. We were curious about snow conditions and we both kind of miss being in the mountains and woods. Just 1.5 hours NE of our home is the Monte Sirino area. We live in the northern-most part of Calabria so 1.5 hours gets us into the Region of Basilicata, Province of Potenza. You really need a good map. These are back roads. Sirino is accessed from our side via the town of Lagonegro, or from Lauria and you can make a leisurely loop around the area on good roads. The roads would, however, be dicey when snow-covered and chains or 4WD would be prudent.

I was here last spring when the Monte Sirino ski area was closed. This time it was open and we stopped for a look and for lunch. The top of the ski area is in a saddle between Mt. Sirino--Elevation: 1907m/6256ft, and Mt. Papa 2005m/6578ft. We learned that Sirino is located on the southern end of a brand new national park, established December 2007.  
This is the Parco Nationale Appennino Lucano Val D'Agri Lagonegrese. Say that as fast as you can with a mouth full of pasta. 

It is a bella area and from various points you see the mountains extending to the north, and to the south near the Sila park. It still amazes us to find the center of Italy to be so rugged.
The little ski area is a family area similar to where I learned to ski in Ohio 50 years ago, but a lot prettier. Sirino has 4 surface lifts and 1 chairlift, mostly intermediate piste, and boasts a restaurant with good food. Try a full lunch for two at an American ski area for just €20. You would spend that much for a candy bar and soft drink at Vail, Colorado. BTW, the snow gods have not smiled on Southern Italy this year as there was only 1/2 meter (18") of snow at the area, but plenty for a little fun. Prices are reasonable and they have rental skis and snowboards. The latter would be a challenge on the surface lifts.

Near the ski area, there are marked and signed trails for trekking in the summer that I will recommend to people willing to make the drive. The hills are covered by a beech-alder type forest and when we took Vince for a walk below snowline, we found some amazing old growth chestnut trees.
See you in the Mountains,
Guido

2 comments:

  1. I think it is great that wherever one lives in Italy that most people have mountains within a couple of hours drive, snow fun in the winter if we are lucky and cool fresh air in the heat of the summer. Are the trails open all year round for hiking?

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  2. Hi LLM,
    I suppose with the amount of snow, too much for walking and not enough to cross-country ski that you might do alright with snowshoes. But we would have to get to know the trails in summer before we would try in winter.

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