Get ready to discover all the things to visit and do in Morano Calabro, the splendid gem of Pollino Park.

tickets banner

Morano Calabro is a delightful village in the province of Cosenza, surrounded by the wonderful panorama of the Pollino Park.

And it is thanks to the Pollino massif, which exceeds 2,000 meters abundantly, that this small town has enjoyed extreme good fortune since the time of the Ancient Romans.

And even today, visitors cannot help but be enchanted by the glimpse that this fascinating place offers.

So, let's find out more about what to see and do in Morano Calabro, often called "the Nativity of the Pollino".

Morano Calabro: all the things to visit in its beautiful historical center

morano calabro

The municipality of Morano Calabro, in addition to being listed among The Most Beautiful Villages in Italy and also being awarded the Orange Flag for its environmental tourist quality, is also known for being one of the most famous places to visit beautiful and fragrant lavender fields.

This small village, which spreads out quite scenically on a cone-shaped hill with a beautiful castle at the top, offers many sightseeing cues to those who decide to climb to the top.

In fact, it seems that Morano Calabro already existed in the days of Magna Graecia and that the very name of the village derives from the Greek verb μερυω (merùo), meaning "to gather together."

And, therefore, the historic center of Morano, called "Calabro" to distinguish it from its namesake in the province of Alexandria, in Northern Italy, is the result of the passage of different eras and peoples. The Greeks, the Romans, but also the Saracens, whose raids are recalled annually during the Flag Festival, which we will talk about shortly.

And, of course, we cannot fail to mention the Normans and the Swabians, who left here one of the most important monuments of the town: the Castle.

Let's talk about it a little bit.

The castle of Morano Calabro

morano calabro castle

Just like the icing on the cake, the Castle of Morano Calabro stands on top of the hill.

One of the village's most scenic spots, with a truly spectacular view of the village and the surrounding mountains including, we remind you, the Pollino Massif.

Today the Norman Swabian Castle stands with its fascinating and massive ruins, soaring skyward. It was probably built on the site of an ancient Roman watchtower and was one of the most important castles in the area. A square plan, three stories and as many as 6 towers (of which 2 survive today) with a drawbridge completed the structure.

The churches

things to see in morano calabro

Religious architecture represents one of the most important things to see in Morano Calabro.

Among the most representative monuments is undoubtedly the Archpriest's Church of Santi Pietro e Paolo, whose foundation dates back to the period around the year 1000. It is located a very short distance from the castle and contributes to the village's valuable skyline.

Around 1097 the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Maddalena was also built, later enlarged in the 16th century. The facade is neoclassical in style and was not completed until the 19th century.

The monastic complex of San Bernardino da Siena is a late Gothic-style example of Franciscan architecture. The building has experienced a truly troubled history, partly because of the suppression of monastic orders in the Napoleonic era: today, however, its rooms have been restored and are reviving a new life thanks to meetings and events.

The museums

what to see in morano calabria

Located in the upper part of the village is the Nibbio Nature Museum, which tells the story of the flora and fauna of the Pollino Park. It is a "diffuse museum," set up among the houses surrounding the castle.

MUSAP, Museo Dell'Agricoltura e della Pastorizia (Museum of Agriculture and Herding), tells the story of daily life and the past of Morano Calabro. The museum is fairly recent and features a collection that spans the arts, crafts and traditions of this jewel of the Cosenza area.

What to do near the picturesque town

what to see near morano calabro

The beauty of Morano Calabro is gathered not only in the historic center, but also in its surroundings. We have mentioned the lavender fields but, in reality, the opportunities for excursions and visits are truly numerous.

In fact, among the mountains and hills surrounding the town there is a treasure trove of monasteries, such as that of Colloreto, or hamlets, such as Laino, Civita and Altomonte.

However, we cannot fail to mention two essential things to visit in the area.

The Lavander Park

lavander park calabria italy

Best visited between the end of June and the first days of August, although flowering is usually in July, the Lavender Park in Morano Calabro attracts hundreds of visitors each year.

The park was created in 2007 by a couple who decided to dedicate themselves to the protection of a particular species of lavender that grows wild here, Lavanda Loricata.

It is located in Contrada Barbalonga at about 1,100 meters above sea level.

The Pollino Park

morano calabro natural park

Being inside one of the most important national parks in Italy, it is not possible to leave Morano Calabro without going at least once to discover the Pollino.

Trekking, trails, hiking, cycling: we tell you about it in depth here.

The events

morano calabro things to do

There are indeed many festivals that populate the calendar of Morano Calabro.

One above all, however, is certainly the Festa della Bandiera (Feast of the Flag), which is celebrated every year around May 20, on the feast of the patron saint, St. Bernardine of Siena.

This festival is meant to celebrate the victory over the Saracens that probably occurred in 1096 following the capture and beheading of the invaders' commander.

The "head of the Moor" thus becomes the symbol of the victory and also becomes part of the city's coat of arms.

In recent years, costumed processions and historical re-enactments take place in the splendid setting of the Norman Castle.

What to eat

what to eat in morano calabro

The gastronomic tradition is particularly generous in Morano Calabro.

Cold cuts, wines and the ever-present chili pepper are among the protagonists of the recipes of this land.

Very important is fresh pasta, strictly handmade, among which we name cavateddri (similar to gnocchi), rascateddri (macaroni generally prepared with sausage sauce) and lagane (noodles enriched with beans or chickpeas).

Very famous is stoccu e pateni, or stockfish that is prepared with potatoes and dried peppers.

The dairy tradition is important, producing quality sheep's milk cheeses, including pecorino, ricotta, and caciocavallo.

Among the desserts, there is one particularly famous and prepared during the holiday season: cannaritoli or cannarituli, small cannoli covered with honey.

How to get there

Morano Calabro, Italy

The closest airport is Lamezia Terme (150 km), but Naples (250 km) can also be considered.

By highway, the suggested exits are Morano Calabro-Campotenese, for those coming from the north, and Morano Calabro-Castrovillari for those coming from the south.

In terms of public transportation, on the other hand, one can arrive by train at Sibari (50 km) or Sapri (100 km) and leave from there by bus. In any case, buses are not that frequent, and it is good to make arrangements in good time.

We recommend

We recommend