Raganello Valley: the Land of Fast Streams and Slow Life

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I am in love. In love with the raggedy, wild, breathtakingly beautiful Raganello Valley in Calabria. During our blog trip Calabria we discovered the stunning beauty of the Raganello gorges, pine and beech forests, the lovely narrow old streets of Civita and San Lorenzo Bellizzi, the generous people who are passionate about their land.

The Raganello stream starts from a little spring in the mountains with cold and tasty water. It is hard to believe that this sweet little creek some kilometres down turns into a roaring beast that carves its way in the mountains and created sheer walls of rocks.

timpe

The timpe of the Raganello Valley

goats

Traffic jam Calabrese style

Apart from the dramatic gorges this part of the Pollino National park boasts the timpe, that’s how the locals call high rock formations with steep vertical walls. They all have their own names and form a unique landscape that this territory is famous for. Although, perhaps, the word ‘famous’ is a tad of an overstatement. The Raganello Valley is a true off-the-beaten-track destination that remains unspoilt by the mass tourism and virtually untouched by the fast pace of modern life. Time runs slowly here. Goats and cows are milked by hand, the local bread is baked for long hours in wooden stoves, the delicious sheep cheese is matured patiently and the people here walk without a hurry up the steep narrow streets and say “hello” to strangers.

st ann's church

Sant’Anna’s church near San Lorenzo Bellizzi

In fact the only fast thing we, bloggers, experienced here was Raganello rushing down the 13 km long canyon. We followed its course during our canyoning adventure and felt in awe of its mighty force and beauty. Every day we took 2-3 hours to eat lunch not only to enjoy the delicious local food but also to talk  to our guides, amazing and passionate people, who chose the life away from the noise and rush of civilization.

donkey

Traditional means of transport

cheese making

Slow cheese making at a farm

For the next few weeks I will be telling you stories about my adventures and wanderings in the beautiful land of the Raganello Valley and its people.

All photos are subject to copyright.

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