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Calabria

An itinerary of 10,000 steps to discover the Sacro Monte of Laino Borgo

There are many religious complexes in Italy, dotting the country from north to south. On Calabrian soil, the Sacro Monte di Laino Borgo, in the province of Cosenza, is one not to be missed.

20 October 2022

3 minutes

If you are looking for a quieter alternative to the classic city trips, this is the right place. This is the ideal opportunity to combine a visit to an important religious site with a rejuvenating walk through nature on the nearby trails.

Here is an itinerary of 10,000 steps, to experience, discover and fall in love with the Sacro Monte of Laino Borgo and the surrounding areas. 

1. The town of Laino Borgo is the gateway to Pollino

laino borgo pollino

Set in the natural backdrop of the Pollino National Park, the small town of Laino Borgo is ideally its gateway to the north-west. The name is derived from the Lao river that flows just a short distance away.

It is the starting point for cultural visits and nature hikes, especially during autumn trips to Italy. Strolling through the narrow streets will also lead you to discover tiny churches, fascinating carved stone portals and hidden courtyards.

2. Calabria's Jerusalem: the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Cappelle

gerusalemme calabrese

The most venerated sacred place in the area, also known as the Jerusalem of Laino Borgo, is just a few kilometres from the town centre.

It is a historical pilgrimage destination known as Madonna delle Cappelle, or Madonna dello Spasimo, and sits on the summit of a sun-kissed hill. Its name refers to the presence of 16 tiny chapels built from 1557 onwards. Here, on the third Sunday in September, votive 'cinti' are prepared to be carried in procession for the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

3. 10,000 steps for an itinerary in Laino Borgo

steps sanctuary madonna chapels

A visit to the Sacro Monte of Laino Borgo is an opportunity to take the 10,000 steps per day, considered a panacea for our well-being.

Taking these steps in the midst of nature will certainly be more pleasant, almost cancelling out fatigue and immersing oneself in the artistic beauty of the area and the lush green landscapes of the Pollino.

The village's location is convenient for exploring the nearest trails, almost all of which are under 10 km long.

Whether you love hiking or just prefer some healthy, relaxing walking, here are some itineraries not to be missed.

4. From Laino Borgo to the Iannello torrent

laino borgo torrent iannello

If you want to reach the Sanctuary of the Madonna delle Cappelle on foot, take this straightforward path from the village to the Sacro Monte and then on to the Iannello torrent to return to the village. It is a circular route, just over 10 km long.

5. From Laino Borgo to Laino Castello

laino castle

You will certainly reach your daily 10,000 steps by walking the route between Laino Borgo and Borgo Castello and back. It is 9 km in all.

Along the way you will find ancient wash houses, wonderful views of the surrounding villages and peaks, and discover small caves.

6. The Lao Gorge

the lao gorges

From Piazza Navarro in Laino Borgo, take the small road that crosses the Iannello stream and descend to the left until you reach the municipal wash houses. Here, turn right and follow the tourist signs leading to the Lao river via a wooden bridge.

Feeling adventurous? This is where you can go rafting on the Lao River along the river.

If you prefer walking, continue along the path that runs alongside the river. The scenery is unforgettable. Once at the bottom, you can either go down to the riverbed or, by taking a small path uphill, take the stairs leading to a viewpoint on a rocky outcrop that will give you another view of the gorges. The path, 3 km long in total, is easy and takes about an hour and a half to walk.

Staying fit and exercising has never been easier. Calabria, famously known and appreciated for its crystal-clear sea, reveals another facet, one that blends sacred tourism with natural beauty, to be discovered on foot.