Reserve borders

//Reserve borders
Reserve borders 2018-11-14T19:02:09+00:00

The three bodies of the Reserve

Valli Cupe Natural Regional Reserve is composed by the three distinct bodies although all of them gravitate around the urban centre of Sersale, located in a central position in relation to the following sites as described below:

  • the Stretch of Valli Cupe trench which embraces Valli Cupe Canyon and Plateau Mountain Raga;
  • the Stretch of Campanaro Torrent which includes the Campanaro Waterfalls, Inferno Waterfalls and many others;
  • the Stretch of Crocchio River which includes the Gorges and Crocchio Waterfalls, the Monolith of Pietraggìallu and majestic trees of Cavallopoli.


Valli Cupe Canyon is a rare geological formation deeply embedded in a substratum made up of polygenic conglomerate – of extraordinary scenographic effect – which originated as a result of the slow digging action exerted by the homonymous torrent, which rises about 700 m above sea level on the southern slopes of Crozze Mount, with the splendid votive Church on the top of it erected at the end of the twenties of the last century and whose northern slope develops directly opposite the historical center of Sersale.

From the first part of its course, Valli Cupe torrent flows in a deep gorge that soon assumes the characteristic deep incision known as Valli Cupe Canyon and it dives into the waters of the Ionian Sea at the town of Sellia Marina after a path of about 15 km. The course of the torrent develops among the lush scrub that surrounds both banks, along the ridges that connect Mount Crozze to the majestic Mountain Raga, a real stronghold of the Mediterranean forest that covers almost entirely the slopes, forming extensive woods for a few hundred hectares. Along the western slope, Mountain Raga is flanked by the river of the same name which leads into Uria River after a path of about 4 km.

Moreover, Valli Cupe torrent is a natural canal that collects the waters of numerous short torrential rods that thickly furrow the sides of the basin. The course of the torrent develops mostly in the territory of the Municipality of Sersale and, in the final part – near the town of Calabricata – it continues in that one of Sellia Marina.

The city quarters –called “contrade” –  along the canyon and a quite large part of Valli Cupe torrent are bordered by an important arterial road, that is to say the municipal road Sersale-Sellia Marina that connects these two centre as well as those of Cropani, Zagarise and Soveria Simeri. This confirms that the ridge that extends from Mount Crozze to Mountain Raga has represented a natural and important link between the hinterland and the coast since the past centuries.

The territory surrounding the tract from Valli Cupe torrent to Mount Raga bears traces of ancient human settlements. Suffice it to say that the impressive remains can still be seen in San Nicola, a locality at the downstream rural village of Tribisina, where there are the remains of an ancient castle and medieval monastery dating back to the Byzantine and Norman-Swabian period. In fact, not far from this tract, the important historical center of Cropani rises with a well-preserved medieval village, the cathedral and numerous enchanting churches. Moreover, on the slopes of Mountain Raga the presence of Basilian settlements is widely documented, so as to make them consider a place of predilection for the construction of famous monasteries, among which we recall those of “Santa Maria della Sana”, “San Basile” and “San Giorgio”. On the one hand, in the areas near the tract aforementioned, the presence of the medieval village of Marcaglione is of considerable interest, although it has been abandoned since more than half a century, and the monastery of “San Lorenzo”, near the village of Cropani. On the other hand, the mighty bridge that crosses Valli Cupe torrent at the rural village of Tribisina is of significant interest from a urban and infrastructural point of view because it is an admirable example of high engineering work carried out during the Twentieth century along the rural road Cropani-Soveria Simeri.

Campanaro torrent arises from the slopes of Mount Spineto (1,434 m above sea level), in the Greco-Carrozzino locality – on the border between the territories of the Municipality of Sersale and the one of Zagarise – right in the heart of the Catanzaro area. After a path of about 15 km, during which it takes the names of Rupa river and Ervaluro torrent – as a result of numerous confluences with smaller ditches – it flows into Uria river that in turn – after about 10 km – flows into the Ionian sea, on the coast of Sellia Marina.

Campanaro torrent flows in a riverbed deeply embedded in the metamorphic rock – mainly gneiss, the bedrock of the “Presila” mountains. It is immersed in the luxuriant Mediterranean and sub-tropical vegetation that characterizes some stretches of the valley which takes the same name. Along its course, it receives more volume of water from numerous small tributaries that little by little increase its flow rate and form a total of 11 jumps and waterfalls which in some cases exceed the height of 50 meters. Apart from these formations, there are also real canyons – like the one called Inferno – that present characters of extraordinary beauty.

Campanaro valley, between the two towns of Zagarise and Sersale, is crossed by an important arterial road, the former highway 109 of the mountain area of Piccola Sila, which connects the area between Catanzaro and Soveria Mannelli with that of Crotone and Santa Severina, joining also all the centers of the Catanzaro Presila area along the east-west axis. In the longitudinal direction to the Campanaro-Uria fluvial axis, however, the connections are guaranteed by the Zagarise-Sellia Marina provincial road.

Campanaro-Uria valley has played an important role since ancient times, as evidenced by the excavations that recently brought to light the remains of an ancient city near Uria river in the territory of Sellia Marina. According to some scholars, it could be the ancient Trischene composed of the three centers of Paleopoli, Uria and Enopoli. In the same valley, rich in ancient factories and interesting road infrastructure like the bridge over Campanaro torrent, interesting archaeological sites can be found – like the ancient city of Barbaro and ancient Florentine monasteries (Santa Maria di Acquaviva) and Basilians (Santi Tre Fanciulli).

The Gorges of the Crocchio River represent the third body of the protected area. They are located in the middle of the river of the same name which in ancient times was called Arocha da Strabone and Plinio il Vecchio. According to a legend, the name derives from that one of a nymph who, after being attacked by a rough shepherd, cried so much to touch the gods that turned her into a river.

Crocchio River rises in Croce di Tirivolo – not far from Gariglione Mountain (1,765 m above sea level.) – at about 1.600 m above sea, from a series of small spring water that give the area the appearance of a marsh (locally called quagmire, “pantano”). Along its course of about 40 km it crosses the territories of the towns of Taverna, Zagarise, Sersale, Petronà, Cerva, Belcastro, Andali, Cropani and Botricello, before flowing into the Ionian Sea, near an ancient coastal defense tower of medieval origin known as “Torrazzo del Crocchio”. It receives the contribution of numerous ditches and minor streams, some of which give substantial water supplies – such as the Spinalba ditch in the upper part of the course and the Nasari River not far from the mouth of Crocchio River.

In addition to the naturalistic aspects which make Crocchio River one of the most interesting fluvial environments of Sila and Presila, it is also important to remember many factories like ancient water mills, a valuable partially destroyed bridge dating back to some centuries ago and numerous traditional and beautiful structures for the processing of chestnuts called “pastillari”. These heritage is part of the history and more specifically the industrial archeology found in the areas bordering the riverbed.

The Municipalities of the Reserve