“Old Calabria” is the title of a travel journal by Norman Douglas, a British writer and journalist, published in London in 1915 after his long permanence (from 1907 to 1911) in Calabria. For a few years now, it has also been the name of a theme park created by Fondazione Napoli Novantanove and based in Camigliatello Silano (province of Cosenza). As is en the website of Oldcalabria Park® , the project is «aimed at the diffusion of knowledge on this region, including its inland areas, by promoting its cultural heritage and natural beauties and shedding light on its customs and traditions».
Drawing inspiration from the accounts of many Italian and foreign travellers – such as Edward Lear, Francois Lenormant, George Gissing, Alexandre Dumas, Vivant Denon, Henry Swinburne – who, from the 18th century on, undertook trips to the South of Italy (and especially to Calabria) to follow the Grand Tour custom, Oldcalabria Park is a cultural itinerary for the promotion of artistic and natural beauties of this 200-kilometres territory stretching through the province areas of Cosenza and Crotone, from Mount Pollino to Capo Colonna.
Its mission is quite clear: «We will follow the tracks of the biggest Magna Graecia settlements and of Byzanthine religion, which is still present on the territory in the form of churches, hermitages, caverns, fairs and vernacular varieties. We will keep our eyes cast over the most recently found artistic treasures on our path. We will visit the old workshops of local craftsmen that have survived the test of time and admire the items still on display: woven fabrics, rural ceramic artifacts, interwoven canes. And we certainly won’t neglect nature, that in Calabria gives off the perfume of bergamots and oranges, has the silvery tinge of olive trees, shows itself in the tangled shapes of the Mediterranean scrub, gives refuge to wayfarers in its grottos and gullies, surrounded by snow-white shores and navy blue seas».
The Museum “La Nave della Sila”, also known as the Narrative Museum of Emigration, is part of the itinerary. Just like the park, it has been founded by Fondazione Napoli Novantanove, with the purpose to «make a valuable contribution towards filling in a memory gap in a region where the drama of emigration was more significant than elsewhere».
The Park also organizes educational workshops for the students of Elementary, Middle and High schools and sets up cultural meetings and conferences during the summer.
Transportation and directions:
BY CAR: from Cosenza, follow superstrada Silana – Crotonese 107 (route 107, which goes from the Silan area to Crotone), towards Spezzano della Sila. Drive past Celico (allegedly Gioacchino da Fiore’s hometown), Spezzano Piccolo and Spezzano della Sila. Keep driving towards Camigliatello. To reach La Nave della Sila (which is located within the precints of Oldcalabria Park): take the Camigliatello exit and reach the town. Once you have reached it turn left and keep driving on S.S. 177 (State Route 177) for 1.5 km. Once you have reached a district called Forgitelle, turn left and take a narrow unmetalled street. Keep driving on it for about 500 metres until you reach the small bridge on river Camigliati. Then you will see the entrance gate to the park.
Streetname to enter in GPS devices: Località: Via Camigliati – Camigliatello Silano.
BY PLANE: the park is 45 minutes away from the airport of Crotone, 1 hour from the airport of Lamezia.
BY TRAIN: take an eurostar train to Paola and transfer to Cosenza.
BY BUS: the SIMEC line from Roma to Camigliatello runs daily.
Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 2.00 pm and from 3.30 pm to 6.30 pm
everyday – except August 15 – from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and from 3.30 pm to 7.30 pm
Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 2.00 pm and from 3.30 am to 6.30 pm
The visitors centre is located at Torre Camigliati.