Among the alleys of a small village are often hidden all aspirations, joys and sorrows of a people who has seen the world surrounding them changing, while their village was always the same. Through the streets, ceremonies linked to ancient traditions have been held, in the squares families met which now are one, and competitors who today work together. Every bric is part of a collective story that developed with the inhabitants.
San Lorenzo Bellizzi is a small hamlet in Calabria, Southern Italy. It lies beyond the Raganello Gorge, in the eastern part of Pollino National Park. Here the Calabrian hospitality is such that it is said that ‘nobody ever suffers thirst or hunger in San Lorenzo’.
During a long time, the local people mixed up with the neighbouring communities and exported their ancient traditions. Nowadays there are few people in the Raganello Valley who can’t say they have some roots in San Lorenzo.
Today the village is parted in two distinct areas. The old San Lorenzo is threatened by landslides and in the last 20 years the population has been gradually moved to the new quarters in a suburb called Sgrotto. The old town is often deserted and only some traditional celebration take the people back on the streets. Erosion and neglect are downgrading this part of San Lorenzo.
To preserve its rich history, mayor Antonio Cersosimo came up with a plan: selling the old houses for a very low price – sales start from 1500 euros for the humblest buildings – and an agreement with the new owner for reconstruction and conservation.
The incredible sights over the Raganello Valley which are enjoyed from San Lorenzo, and the charming feeling that this small community has to offer already attracted several new inhabitants, coming from all over Italy and even from Europe, looking for a holiday house or a complete new way of living. The quiet of this place and the idillic landscapes of Pollino National Park are already enough a temptation, but it’s during its celebrations – as on August 10, Saint Lawrence’s Day – that the village shows the best part of its music, flavours and traditions.
Where is San Lorenzo Bellizzi?