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Cycling tourism

From Orsomarso to the fertile Esaro Valley: between wine cellars and craft shops

cycling route
2 days
Number of Stages

We set out to discover one of Calabria's most authentic territories, following an itinerary that starts on the slopes of the Orsomarso massif and develops in the area of the Fiume Argentino State Reserve, separated from the Pollino chain by the striking Campotenese Plain.

This area, stretching from the southern bank of the Noce River to the Scalone Pass, between Belvedere Marittimo and Sant'Agata di Esaro, is marked by the presence of well-known paths and hermitages. Popular destinations are the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pettoruto and sites of historical and geological interest, such as the Grotta del Romito and the Grotta della Monaca. Leaving the mountains, the route continues towards the Esaro River Valley and encounters rolling hills cloaked in orchards, olive groves and vineyards. The products of this area, which the many farms, oil mills and wine cellars allow you to taste, carry all the strength of this land and offer the palate an infinite harmony of taste. Continuing to the south, you reach Ferramonti di Tarsia, only 60 metres above sea level, where one can visit the Fascist-era concentration camp and the interesting Museum of Memory.

The itinerary finally reaches Bisignano, the town of Sant'Umile, ancient seat of the diocese and principality of one of the most famous dynasties of the Kingdom of Naples, the Sanseverino. The village, a centre with a great tradition of craftsmanship, welcomes you with its luthiers' and ceramists' workshops that are still active today.

Day 1

San Donato di Ninea - Policastrello - Sanctuary of Pettoruto - Grotta della Monaca

San Donato di Ninea - Policastrello - Sanctuary of Pettoruto - Grotta della Monaca

We begin our itinerary by tackling the most mountainous and difficult route, as it has considerable altitude differences, but it will certainly reward us with its breathtaking views.

From San Donato di Ninea (658 m), skirting Policastrello, an ancient fortress town (Polis-Castron) of medieval origins, located about 400 m above sea level, you soon reach San Sosti (360 m), a village that crosses Sentiero Italia U29. Following the SP125 for 3.7 km, we reach the splendid Sanctuary of the Madonna del Pettoruto. Located in a wonderfully impervious position on the slopes of Orsomarso at 600 m above sea level, this highly venerated place of worship has been attracting worshippers from all over since the mid-15th century. From here, the gaze sweeps over grandiose panoramas that taste of authenticity.

Back in San Sosti, we continue towards Sant'Agata di Esaro and from here, in a short time, we reach the site of the Grotta della Monaca and that of Tesauro and the nearby prehistoric mines, counted among the oldest evidence of mining activity in Europe.

Day 2

Sant'Agata of Esaro - Ferramonti - Bisignano

Sant'Agata of Esaro - Ferramonti - Bisignano

From Sant'Agata of Esaro, the track follows the SP263 to reach the town of Scivolenta and continue along the SP115, towards Malvito.

At the junction with the Ciclovia dei Parchi, at km 10, continue in the direction of Pianette di Roggiano on SP123. Here we continue to cycle downhill along the Esaro river, surrounded by the many vineyards and olive groves of this gentle and fertile land.

After passing Roggiano Gravina, we descend along the SP270 to reach Ferramonti di Tarsia (60 m) and, after stopping for a visit to the Museo della Memoria (Museum of Memory), we ascend slightly through a long flat stretch to the historic centre of Bisignano (304 m), home to one of the oldest dioceses in Calabria, the Santuario di Sant'Umile and the ceramists' and luthiers' quarters.

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