Where the wind of history blows
Once at the heart of the Aspromonte, the cycle network crosses Fabrizia, the city founded by the Prince of Roccella, Fabrizio Carafa, in the 16th century, which has always been a place of exchange of mountain and sea products. From Passo del Mercante, a pass that in the Magna Graecia era connected the two Calabrian coasts, and the Piani di Zervò, where, among dense beech and conifer forests lies the former Vittorio Emanuele II sanatorium, the route takes you to Canolo, a magnificent mountain village nestled between two canyons in the "Southern Dolomites". The journey continues in the direction of Gambarie, crossing the paths of the brigands that lead to Montalto, the highest peak of the Aspromonte from which you can enjoy breathtaking views over eastern Sicily, the Sila, the Ionian and the Tyrrhenian Seas. Looking towards the sea you can also spot the centuries-old pine forest of Sant'Eufemia di Aspromonte, where Giuseppe Garibaldi was wounded, near a giant tree, in August 1862. A mausoleum was built here in memory of the Italian general. In the direction of the Ionian Sea, instead, there is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Polsi (862 m), known as "A Madonna dâ Muntagna” (the Virgin of the mountains). Here, one of the most heartfelt festivals by the local populations is celebrated, in some unparalleled natural scenery that enchanted the writer and illustrator Edward Lear, who wrote, on his trip to Calabria in 1847: "Without doubt, one of the most remarkable scenes I have ever seen.” The last stretch of the cycle network goes from Mount Basilcò, listed among the most beautiful peaks of the Aspromonte, directly to the sea and the wonderful city of Reggio Calabria. Known as the "place of the wind", this city is one of the oldest in Europe and among the first Greek colonies in Italy, a land that was already inhabited by the ancient populations of Ausones and Oenotrians. Its thousand-year history is embodied by the amazing Riace bronzes that are on display at the National Archaeological Museum, together with many other interesting finds.