Sometimes you need to put a distance between you and the chaos of the town to recharge yourself, to delete the stress that, inevitably, everyday life brings us to stock. According to me, the best way to do so is to dive into the nature. So, periodically, I make a trip in the woods of the National Park of Pollino, usually staying in the part of Basilicata.
Not always the final destination is clear: we get on the car with destination Park of Pollino and drive along the Basentano motorway. In front of you several different landscapes run: the sea, then the dry and stark riverbed of the Basento, reduced to a little river during summer, and in a distance mountains with their woods. Then you go up and up, dealing with the hairpin turns that hug the mountain. At a certain point you find yourself plunged in a greenish half-light, surrounded by oaks, rocks covered by musk and breath the lively air that makes you forget about the heat of Southern summer.
This is te place where I come to recharge myself on summer, where I escape the suffocating heat an the city frenzy. It's an easy trip, with the only goal to enjoy a bit the contact with nature. I could write an entire post about this, about how much I love coming back in woods and let me go as when I was a child (well, a bit less, as I always got lost), but I realize that it would be more useful for everybody to give some precise information about the place I visited. Everyone would deserve a day in a place as beautiful as this one.
As I've already said, I stayed in Basilicata. Leaving from Massafra, it takes about 2 hours to get the desired destination.
The first stop is San Severino Lucano, more precisely the Church of Madonna of Pollino.
The peace that reigns in this place is like no other. Perched on the top of the mountain, this place gives you silence, tranquillity, as it should be in a sacred place, and a breathtaking view that I've not seen somewhere else yet. Like in many other places where people have built a shrine, here too, the motor has been the apparition of the Madonna in a cavern.
Stepping down a few steps, entering the wood that coasts the main path, you arrive in front of a little cavern. It's so small that it can host just a person a time. Inside, a statue of the Madonna welcomes the visitor. From a tourist and leisure point of view, there's little to see, but if the goal of the trip is to recharge yourself and to go away from the city din, this is the right place.
Let's continue towards Viggianello. Actually, our destination isn't the actual country, but Piano Ruggio, in the district of Viggianello. Meanwhile, lunch time has come. In these occasions I like bringing staff to do a picnic. Driving along the road you're surrounded by woods, so you just need to choose where to stop. We choose a little place where the only missing things to complete the picture were pixies. We put down our towels on a group of rocks that seems a table sheltered by a big tree, whose shape invites me to climb on it. Obviously, I haven't even tried to resist to this temptation.
After a restoring stop, we continue our itinerary in the woods, meeting cows along the way, which lazily look at the car and move just enough to make us pass, until we reach for Piano Ruggio, eventually. It's a mountain view that makes you think not to be in Southern Italy. In front of us there’s a wide valley framed by mountains and a path that enters a wood. We stop the car and take the path without loosing time. The air is lively, even though it's summer, and once in the wood, you can perceive the life inside it: apparently there's no animal, but you can feel that everything is alive and seems to welcome you. And then you hear cowbells of cows that little far from there quietly graze indifferent.
Coming back we see that some locals have organized some stands with craft products, most of them in wood, and they're glad to give you some information about their land, and a new and cozy B&B, perfect for those who want to spend a weekend in the mountains in contact with the nature. They also provide a bar/restaurant service and we get the chance to warm a little bit with a coffee.
We leave to come back, but stopping in Bosco Magnano, where there is the river Peschiera, in the area of San Severino Lucano. It's a usual stop when we come in this zone. The main goal of this visit is to put our feet in the freezing water. It seems that the massage of the water has often helped in case of sprained ankle, a quite frequent problem in my family: this time it's my turn, so I choose a place where to sit on the bank, off shoes and feet in the water fighting against the freeze. Being a quite tourist area, during the period of high season there are often many people, otherwise, as in this case, it's very quiet and you can stay there hearing the pounding of the water among rocks, the rustle of the wind among leaves and the fresh breeze.
At this point, the day comes to an end and it's time to come back home. It's a visit a bit different from those of which I usually write about: there is no architectural beauty to admire, no delicacy to taste, no story to discover and listen to. This time I wanted to take a pause from all that and to turn towards something that sometimes we forget, from which life bring us far away, nature, that instead has the power to put us in harmony with what sourrounds us.