VALLI CUPE REGIONAL PARK

The Valli Cupe Regional Park is located near Sersale, in the Presila Catanzaro area, and is of great naturalistic interest. The area is home to numerous waterfalls and canyons, ancient trees, botanical curiosities and monoliths.
With its enchanting streams and crystal clear waterfalls surrounded by unspoilt nature; canyons that conceal unexpected treasures of biodiversity; a wealth of flora and fauna; breath-taking views over gorges; and cliffs that descend for hundreds of metres it is clear to see why the Park is one of the most beautiful areas of nature in the entire Italian peninsula 
 
The Park is not particularly well-known, but its beauty has earned it the title of "Europe's best kept secret" by Belgian naturalist John Bouquet.

The Park lies between the municipalities of Sersale and Zagarise, just a stone’s throw from the Ionian Sea and the Sila National Park. It is home to numerous natural treasures including a hundred waterfalls, seven canyons, a number of monoliths, ancient trees and fabulous panoramic viewpoints, all of which can be explored via one of thirty paths. You can also discover ancient villages and abandoned sites with close links to traditions, myths and legends of the lost city of Barbaro.

The Valli Cupe Canyon, the only one of its kind in Europe, preserves the very rare European chain fern, a living fossil whose species dates back to 350 million years ago and existed during the age of the dinosaurs.
The path taken to access the Canyon is the same path that, until the ninth century, connected four Basilian monasteries whose remains can still be admired today. These include the monastery of Santa Maria della Sana, one of the fifteen most important monasteries in Calabria, and those of San Giorgio, San Lorenzo and San Basile.
 As you descend towards the bottom of the woodland valley you will be surrounded by typical plants of the Mediterranean scrubland such as the manna tree and the mastic tree, from which the first chewing gum originated.
The Canyon is 8 km long and more than 60 million years old. Besides being the second largest canyon in Europe, its geomorphological structure makes its unique and incomparable in Italy.

The Gole e la Cascata del Crocchio (Gorges and Waterfall of Crocchio) are located outside the town centre of Sersale and can be accessed by passing through a centuries-old chestnut grove. Near the waterfall, you can take in stunning views of the surroundings from the Balconata di Arocha (Balcony of Arocha), which was named after the nymph that, according to some, was transformed into the River Corace and, according to others, into the River Crocchio.
The waterfalls and the water pools are the perfect place to enjoy a refreshing dip on a hot day.
The Cascata del Campanaro waterfall, like the Gole del Crocchio, is easily accessible, even by solo travellers. The waterfall is 22 metres in height, and the purity of its waters is proven by the presence of red algae.
 The Cascata dell’Inferno (Inferno Waterfall), at 27 metres in height, is enclosed by a small canyon that forms a pool of water almost five metres in depth. Legend has it that the water pool goes all the way down to Hell, thus explaining the name of the waterfall.

Equally impressive are the numerous monoliths dotted around the wild slopes of the Calabrian forest, one of the most impressive areas of woodland in the Mediterranean. These stone structures help create an ethereal and alluring ambiance.

The Petra Aggìallu (Bird Stone) monolith is an imposing stone structure, about 18 metres tall, which resembles the shape of a bird’s head.
A rich oral tradition is closely tied to this natural monument. In fact, legend has it that the impressive rock guards treasure beneath it. According to another folk tale, next to the monolith you may catch a glimpse of a hen with a brood of golden chicks.
The Monolith of Misorbo, at around 18 metres tall, consists of two superimposed granite blocks separated by a segment dating back to ancient times. Seen from below, the larger block resembles a human face looking out across the valley of the Campanaro torrent.

Within the Valli Cupe Reserve you will find centuries-old chestnut trees, including the Gigante Buono (Good Giant), which is almost 500 years old and has a circumference of over 8 metres. You will also be able to admire the Giants of Cavallopoli, which take their name from the nearby waterfall, and the Giant Malandrino with a circumference of about 7 meters.

 

Info

Comune di Sersale

Via Roma, 14

88054 Sersale (CZ)

www.vallicupe.it

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