If you are a lover of bicycles, nature and sustainable tourism you will certainly not be able to resist the charm of the new cycle path of Lagonegro – Rotonda in Basilicata between the Noce and Mercure valleys; a route that was born on a section of the ancient Calabro – Lucana railway, inaugurated in 1929, abandoned in the 70s and remained unused until today.
Thanks to a project for the recovery and transformation of the railway, the end of the works on the cycle path has recently been decreed and the development of an evocative route that winds between the Lucanian Apennine park and the Pollino park, in an area full of lakes and breathtaking landscapes.
A large project to enhance the area and sustainable tourism development, in a land that lends itself perfectly to being a new tourist hub for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
The ancient railway network
The Lagonegro-Rotonda section was part of the vast Calabro-Lucana railway network, designed to connect four regions and cross seven provinces, whose design origins date back to the last twenty years of the nineteenth century. The purpose of this large and ambitious project was to relaunch the South, but it was only partially realized and set aside starting from the 1970s. The recovery of this ancient path, which extends between bridges, valleys, lakes, parks and panoramic plateaus overlooking the sea, is designed to give a second chance to an ancient project for the enhancement and revitalization of the southern territories, exploiting less conventional tourism. but over the years more and more appreciated.
What to see on the greenway?
The 30 km long route crosses Calabria and Basilicata at a distance of about 35 km from the sea but in a mountainous area full of panoramic points, tunnels, bridges, viaducts that make the area characteristic. at the foot of the Cilento National Park, in the province of Potenza. Since 2007 the municipality has been considered to belong to a protected area where it is possible to admire wild species in nature, such as the wolf and the otter. If you are lucky you can also admire some specimens of wild boar and numerous (harmless) snakes.
Here are some curious places that you can discover along your path:
1) Student Bridge
One of the architectural peculiarities that the territory of Lagonegro boasts is the Viaduct over the Vallone Serra, better known as the Ponte dello Studente, one of the few remaining examples of an arched brick bridge.
The bridge was built in 1915 but soon became an unusable viaduct because it was built in a territory rich in gelogical movements; it currently has a large difference in height and is impracticable but continues to stand upright, majestic and deformed but still photogenic, with a sad story behind it. He owes his nickname to the numerous student suicides he witnessed.
2) The Sirino lake
Continuing along the route and a few kilometers from Maratea and its famous and popular beaches, there is a small, semi-unknown pearl, a natural and unspoiled place. This is Lake Sirino, a natural basin at the foot of the cycle path, a small body of clear water perfect for a regenerating break while pedaling.
According to the legend, still handed down from generation to generation, the lake was born from the so-called divine tear, the anger of the Madonna of Sirino which triggered a storm in reaction to the attitude of two farmers who had decided to work during the day of the festival religious. What remained from that storm was this wonderful but unknown jewel.
Around the lake you will find the Science Museum, some restaurants where you can taste local specialties, b & b and hotels if you want to stop for the night.
Here you can also rent bicycles (including electric ones).
3) Upper Lauria and Lower Lauria
Dieses mittelalterliche Dorf im mittelalterlichen Stil wurde immer in zwei Teile geteilt. Der vom Schloss dominierte obere Teil befindet sich in einer strategischen Position mit einem großen Höhenunterschied gegenüber dem unteren Teil, dem “Borgo”. Zwischen den beiden Stadtteilen befindet sich das alte Viertel Ravita.
In den engen Gassen des historischen Zentrums finden Sie besondere architektonische und skulpturale Details, insbesondere aus Schmiedeeisen, Zeugen der handwerklichen Aktivitäten der Vergangenheit. Es ist nicht ungewöhnlich, auf das Wappen der Stadt zu stoßen, einen Basilisken, der sich unter dem Motto “Noli me tangere” (“Fass mich nicht an”) an einen Lorbeerbaum lehnt, eine Warnung und einen Hinweis auf die Stärke und die Ängste seiner Bewohner.
Das Dorf verfügt über zahlreiche heilige Gebäude wie die Kirche San Nicola, die Kirche San Giacomo, das Heiligtum der Madonna delle Armi und die Eremitage von Sant’Elia.
Wenn Sie dem Pfad folgen, befinden Sie sich vor dem alten Bahnhof von Lauria, der jetzt stillgelegt ist, sich jedoch in einer sehr charakteristischen Position in der Nähe einer Brücke befindet.
4) The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso
Reaching Castelluccio, with a detour of about 8 km you can get to the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Soccorso, a place of worship located over 1000 meters from which you can see a breathtaking landscape. Inside the Sanctuary there are numerous works of art, including The Eternal Father (1580) by Antonio Stabile and some carved sculptures of the seventeenth century.
5) The helical tunnel of Castelluccio
Surely the most particular engineering work in Basilicata, as well as the only one in the world, that you will have the pleasure of going through during the tour on the Lagonegro-Rotonda cycle path! It is located in the municipality of Castelluccio which, as in the case of Lauria, presents a clear division between the upper and lower part, with a difference in height of over 200 meters. The gallery was conceived in the first twenty years of the twentieth century to connect the two parts of the city by digging into the rock and lengthening the path in a very small space. It is a rare example of industrial archeology.
Useful tips for taking a cycle route
A definitely useful tip is to travel with bicycle lights. The cycle path was in fact recently completed and there is still no lighting, especially inside the tunnels. The longest tunnel that can be encountered is 1.6 km, between Lake Sirino (Nemoli) and Pecorone.
Another tip is to always carry warm clothing in your backpack, because being a mountainous area it could be cold, in winter the area is filled with snow.
The last tip is to take some time to make the route to enjoy every corner of your journey. If you have a few days, you can stop and rest along the way, there are numerous accommodation facilities within the villages and even a spa village at the end of the cycle path.
Why choose the Lagonegro-Rotonda route?
Süditalien ist in jeder Ecke wunderbar, wird aber im Hinterland immer noch wenig geschätzt. Der neue Radweg entlang des Greenway bietet eine neue Art von Tourismus, naturalistisch, wirtschaftlich und ohne Auswirkungen die richtige Richtung, die wir einschlagen müssen, um unseren Planeten zu schützen. Radfahren auf den Hängen der Gipfel des Sirino-Massivs, Überqueren von zwei Parks und zwei Regionen, Radfahren über alte Viadukte, lange und abenteuerliche Tunnel auf nur zwei Rädern werden sicherlich ein Erlebnis sein, das Ihnen in Erinnerung bleiben wird!