BC201: Hot🌶 Calabria & Zesty 🍋 Sicily
July 24 – August 21, 2021
Scalea – Castrovillari – Camigliatello Silano – Monterosso Calabro – Gambarie – Reggio Calabria – Messina – Taormina – Mount Etna – Catania – Siracusa – Ragusa – Agrigento – Mazara del Vallo – Trapani – Palermo
The first half of this BaltiCCycle tour starts in Calabria, a Southern Italian region nestled among the Apennines, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, far from common tourist paths and usually left unexplored by international travellers. The route that we will follow crosses Calabria lengthwise along the Apennines’ mountains ridge, through four national parks:
- The Pollino National Park, whose high peaks offer a typical mountain scenery. You’ll have the chance to admire the Heldreich’s pine – Pino Loricato, which grows here. This pine is the symbol of this park (“Italus” is 1230 years old!).
- The Sila National Park – as we ride southward, we arrive at one the most important biosphere reserves listed among the UNESCO world heritage sites and the most extended plateau in Europe. Known historically as the “Great woodland of Italy”, this nature preserve is entirely covered in ancient woods and forests. Ah, by the way, there are wolves roaming the area ;). The symbol of this park is the wolf.
- The Serre Regional Natural Park – a group of mountains covered in thick forests, this area boasts many water sources and streams, which suddenly become raging torrents and have created narrow and deep gorges and spectacular rainfalls in time.
- Last but not least, the Aspromonte National Park, which overlooks the two seas that border Calabria, as well as the Strait of Messina, Sicily and the Etna volcano. Yes, Etna! It’s spitting lava on the eastern side at the moment, but we’ll climb it on the opposite side, no worries.
The second part of the ride contours the Sicilian seaside clockwise from Messina (east) to Pachino (south, cherry tomatoes aplenty!) and Trapani (west), until we reach Palermo, touching stunning beauties such as the Taormina Roman theatre, Siracusa and the Temples in Agrigento. Other natural attractions like the Turkish Steps cliff are on the way too. In Sicily you will also have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to start your day with a croissant. A croissant filled with ice-cream. For breakfast. Yes, for breakfast.
Of course it will be hot in the south, especially if you eat lots of chilli peppers trying to imitate the locals in Calabria (indeed the pride of this land is chilli pepper), but there are some tricks that will help, like the shade of ancient forests first and numerous dips in the Sicilian sea after, because you’ll definitely want to bathe in its crystalline waters.
Let’s try, join the ride, and bring a pair of swimming goggles!
The route coordinator: Giulia Brotto, email@example.com