Calabria offers impressive places! Some of them untouched by man, others changed in a delicate way and full of beauty. Our tour today is a dip in beauty, history and faith. Let´s Visit Papasidero and the Romito Cave and the Sanctuary! Here at Your Travel to Calabria you make the trip of your dreams!!! Are you staying in Calabria? Looking for a hotel? Click here and discover best accommodation options in Calabria!
Video about Parco del Pollino – after 08min:07sec
A little more about Papasidero …
Papasidero is located on a rocky spur of Monte Ciagola, on the left bank of the Lao River and is a small village between the mountains of the Pollino massif. Situated 210 meters above sea level, it is just a few steps from the Mercure Valley and was the favorite center of the Basilian asceticism, in fact, the name derives from the Greek ‘Papas Isidoros’, a Byzantine basilian friar of a Greek Orthodox monastery of the region, the head of one of the many religious communities that populated the valley. This small Calabrian town is a nature reserve in the Pollino National Park.
The beautiful Lao Valley Nature Reserve
Papasidero is the starting point for exceptional nature excursions, except for the most populated part; the entire territory of Papasidero is occupied and protected by the beautiful Lao Valley Nature Reserve, which extends over 5,000 hectares along the course from the river. The Lao River, one of the largest and most intact courses of ecological importance in Italy, crosses half of the reserve, limiting itself naturally to two zones, the wild and fascinating East and the ever interesting Western zone, but with a greater anthropogenic burden and subject to agricultural and pastoral exploration.
Papasidero is a few kilometers from the Tyrrhenian coast, close to the main resorts of the Riviera dei Cedri, such as Scalea, Fuscaldo and Diamante. That made it known by many tourists that go to Papasidero were the human traces dating back to the Palaeolithic period, as evidenced by the discoveries made in the famous Romito Cave, one of the main attractions of this center, a few kilometers further north of the area.
Let’s know the cave…
The charm of the archaeological site of the Romito Cave, the suggestion of the Sanctuary of St. Mary of Constantinople, the adventurous spirit of the Lao River and the genuine taste of food and wine are the main characteristics of Papasidero; we will see in more details in this text.
The prehistoric Romito Cave
The prehistoric Romito Cave is certainly the main attraction for tourists visiting the small medieval village and is one of the most interesting expressions of rock art from the Upper Paleolithic. The Romito Cave in Papasidero remains one of the most interesting things of the Tyrrhenian Cosentino and the human presence in the area has witnessed, from its prehistory, this important archaeological site, discovered in 1961.
The cave is distributed into two environments, a cave, itself, and an outer space. This site has six important Paleolithic bodies, of short stature and numerous stone and bone artifacts. Both, the inner and outer, areas seem to have been a kind of ‘sanctuary’ of funeral rites. On a limestone rock, placed in the entrance of the cave later, you can admire the beautiful graphite of the ox, called Bos Primigenius, which lived 15,000 years ago.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Constantinople
The place is open to the public and accompanied by an ‘antiquarian’ in which some of the finds are on display. The walk takes at least four hours. You have to get to Scalea, enter the city and follow the signs to Papasidero. The Byzantine influence can be documented in the cultural residues of the population, but also in the artistic heritage as one of the Churches that you must visit: the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Constantinople, from the XI-XIII century. Leaning against the stone that rolls on the right bank of the Lao River, in a beautiful natural setting, this sanctuary preserves an important fresco of Our Lady Hodegetria with the child and a wooden statue of the Virgin of the late seventeenth century.
A little bit more…
The construction was made on a Greek cross plan with three naves, and is reached by a bridge built in 1904, by Nicola Dario, on the remains of another (still visible) Middle Age. Other frescoes from the Byzantine period can be seen in the Saint Sophia chapel, a slightly trapezoidal building, which is situated between the ancient houses of the village, in fact the old town of the place, showing a typically medieval urban layout. Above all is the Medieval Castle that dates from the XI-XIII centuries and still has sections of walls and the tower of the changing of the guard.
The castle is presented as a structure built with plowed stones positioned in place with mortar and edge of tuff square stones, fastened with bricks. After the first period, presumably Norman, the castle was adapted several times by works of successive families from time to time, such as Marsico, Alitto and Spinelli; in the 18th century it was transformed by the latter into a palace. The building has an almost rectangular plan, with a semicircular tower, where, originally, it should be the point of connection of the walls.
Map from Papasidero to Romito Cave
How to get to Papasidero?
This small calabrian center is reached by all means of transportation.
1) How to get to Papasidero? BY PLANE
The nearest airport is Lamezia Terme, you can reach the local by bus or rent a car.
2) How to get to Papasidero? BY TRAIN
For those who prefer the train, Papasidero is served by the train station of Scalea, which is 20 km from the town.
3) How to get to Papasidero? BY CAR
To reach Papasidero, take the A3 Sa – RC highway, take the Mormanno – Scalea exit and follow the SS 504.
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IMPORTANT TO KNOW!
Remember that to drive in Italy it is MANDATORY to have the International Driving License, the famous IDP (International Driving Permit). The certificate is not issued in Italian, but it is accepted in English! The IDP lasts 180 days (it depends where you live) and is issued by the Traffic Department of your country (if you have the European Driver License, you don’t need to worry about it!).
- Check with your country’s Traffic Department which documents are required and the rates for issuing the IDP. If you chose to travel by car, be sure to read our Post “Driving in Italy“. It is very important to avoid winning fines for lack of information.
Watch this video: Discovering Calabria with Ana Patricia: tour in Cosenza
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Let´s Visit Papasidero and the Romito Cave and the Sanctuary? Papasidero is located in one of the most beautiful natural settings of Calabria and is surrounded by beautiful chestnut forests. It is the starting point for many hiking trails and mountain biking, if you feel wild nature and adventure sports, in addition, to prehistoric archeology, you just need to make a visit to this small town in Calabria.
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