NATURE TRAILS

A corner of paradise in Calabria

Our Friends the Animals

The Deer

A small group of cute deer, which are typical of our “Mediterranean” and Apennine forests,  over an 11,000 square meters area, within a cork grove.

The deer has wide, cylindrical and flat antlers, also known as “palco”. Male deer are approximately150cm long and weigh up to 100 kg; female deer are slightly shorter and weigh up to 60 kg. Fur colour can vary according to the season: from reddish brown with large white spots (particularly evident and numerous in youngest animals) in summer, to dark brown and grey, with no white spots, in autumn and spring. Deer are quite sociable and they can live up to 15-18 years, feeding on grass, leafs, bushes, gems, as well as fruits from trees.

Distance from trail: 500 meters
Length and duration of the walk: 600 meters – 30’
Difficulty: very easy

Donkeys, Tibetan Goats and Horses

A small gravel path, partially running around a fence which encloses a small lake, a donkey family, a group of dwarf (or Tibetan) goats, and a horse, peacefully living together with further “visitors”, such as hares, hedgehogs, and small birds. The trail is open to both adults and accompanied children.

Donkey is the common name of Equus asinus, an ungulate belonging to the family of Equids. These animals are generally curious, strong, stubborn, patient, sociable and inclined to be docile, discreet and tender when gently treated. It is not a demanding species, which is happy with forage, grass and hay and can easily live up to 30 years.

Tibetan goats are small but relatively muscular and, despite their name, they originate from Somalia rather than Tibet. Both male and female specimens have short and thin horns; they are quite energetic and enjoy running and jumping on rocks, as well as on the trunks of dry trees. They feed on leafs, brambles, young plants, gems and soft bark.

The horse is a medium-large size mammal, belonging to the family of Equids. It is particularly human-friendly and useful for fun, sport, work, farming and for several activities having ludic or therapeutic purposes: these led to different ways of riding and driving horses with the aid of appropriate horse harnesses. Horses are classified in over 300 breeds, according to their physique and character (cold-blooded, cross-breed, and the so-called thoroughbred).

Distance from trail: 200 meters
Length and duration of the walk: 300 meters – 20’
Difficulty: very easy

Rabbits

A wide fence that encloses cute rabbits of different breeds and colour (rabbits, such as hares, are not rodents, but they belong to a specific order: lagomorphs).These sweet animals have diversified behaviours, being playful and sociable, and they can be observed while eating spontaneously growing grass.

The dwarf rabbit is a small mammal characterized by a compact and round body, short legs, a short tail adherent to the body, and a wide forehead with big eyes. Its small size, sociability and cuteness make it a perfect company. Rabbits usually live in groups: they like running, digging holes to hide and give birth, and nibbling and exploring everything. They are crepuscular animals, spending most of their time underground and generally going out early in the morning or late in the evening in search for food.

Distance from trail: 200 meters
Length and duration of the walk: 50 meters – 5’
Difficulty: very easy

Paths

Water birds and the Orchard

This agro-naturalistic trail runs for approximately 25,000 square meters and is suitable for both adults and children, on a mixed ground hosting ducks, geese and other animals. The core of the walk is dominated by a pond which hosts big carps (Cyprinus carpio), water turtles (Trachemys scripta), Frogs (Rana sp.), Toads (Bufo bufo) and, occasionally, the Natrix natrix, an innocuous snake looking for amphibious.

The lake is up to 5 meters deep and 20 meters large: its perimeter is enclosed by a fence and net, aimed at keeping predators away. This scenery is surrounded by a mixed orchard, offering season fruits that can be harvested and enjoyed on site.

The family of anatidae is composed by approximately 145 species of water birds distributed throughout the world: these have different size (from a few hundred grams up to twelve kilograms, i.e. the Royal Swan) and completely different habits.  This species not only comprehend proper ducks, but also swans and geese, as a number of migratory birds that travel thousands of kilometers every year, at the end of winter, from South to North: here they build nests and feed their newborns. Their return journey starts later on, at the beginning of autumn.

The ancestor of the domestic ducks, such as the pure white “Pechino” duck living in the pond, is the Mallard (Anas platyrynchos), also known as “Capoverde/Greenhead”, because of its bottle-green coloured neck, surrounded by a white collar, which is a typical male trait.

Geese differentiate from ducks because of their stronger and heavier body, longer neck and a more terrestrial attitude. They prefer to get food by grazing in search of vegetables, using the thin blade of their beak. These birds use to live in group, especially outside their reproductive season; their main representative is the Wild Goose (Anser anser), which is grey-coloured with a pink-orange beak: it is the ancestor of the domestic goose, together with the Asian Swan-Goose (Anser cygnoides). Geese are strongly monogamist and, differently from the Mallard, the male is generally involved in breeding.

The mixed orchard is composed of different species: apple-trees, pear-trees, plums, pomegranate, mulberries, cherry-trees and figs. Plants are ordered in rows at a distance of approximately 3-4 meters, and their ages vary from 2 to 15 years: as a consequence, their reproduction cycles are different. The orchard management is based on a combined system. Interventions against any possible fungus or insect-inducted disease are based on different expedients: plant medicines that are non-toxic for men and insects; selective plant medicines (only acting on specific insects), which can be easily denatured by the biochemical action of air and ground; the use of particularly resistant harvest varieties; a higher attention and the elimination of infected plants.

Distance from trail: 300 meters
Length and duration of the walk: 600 meters – 30’
Difficulty: very easy

Medicinal Plants

A trail to the discovery of medicinal plants and herbs. You will find more than 40 varieties, from the commonest ones such as laurel, mint, and rosemary, to the less known santoreggia, chervil, and santolina. An inebriating experience, rich in fragrance and scents, both for adults and children.

In the past, the knowledge of plants was fundamental for ancient medicine, as it represented the only possible solution for the treatment of illness.  Over time, all the plants and herbs used in chemical officine (ancient medical workshops) have been called officinali. Ancient chemists were aware of the techniques of plant preparation techniques, processing (oils, unguents, fragrances, herbal teas etc.) and preservation, which they adopted to prepare medicinal remedies, cosmetic products and fragrances. Nowadays, “medical herbs and plants” are not only used to preserve the health and wellness of men and animals, but also for the preparation of food or chemically processed for the productions of spirits, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, medications and household products.

Distance from trail: mt 200
Length and duration of the walk: mt 50 – 20’
Difficulty: very easy

Popilia is… Agriculture too!

Within a 140hectar land owned by Popilia, a wide area is destined to farming. Land is worked according to the principles of sustainable farming, as a means to obtain natural products, partially employed for the preparation of the dishes in the Resort’s Restaurant (for example, extra-virgin oil and fruits) and for the Callipo jams and compotes of the “Dalla nostra terra” line. Guests will have the chance to enjoy fresh fruits by harvesting them straight from plants.

Figs grove

Species: Ficus carica sativa (domestic I)

Previous figs grove: 2 ha – n° 400 piante

Actual figs grove: 4,5 ha – n° 1200 piante

Olive grove

Species: Olive (Olea Europaea var. carolea)

Previous olive grove: 11 ha– n° 2600 piante

Actual olive grove: 8,5 ha – n° 2460 piante

Orchard

Specie: Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina var. goccia d’oro)

New plantation: 0,5 ha area – n° 150 plants

Species: Cherry tree (Prunus avium var. ferrovia)

New plantation : 0,5 ha area – n° 150 plants

Specie: mixed (apple tree, pear tree, prune, lotus, figs, cherry tree, pomegranate, mulberry, peach)

0,35 ha– n° 100 plants

Specie: pomegranate (Punica granatum var. wonderful2)

New plantation: 2 ha– n° 1200 piante

Woods

Species: Secular Cork Oak and Mediterranean Scrub – c. 44 ha area

Cork oak, holm oak, durmast, arbutus, myrtle, lentiscus, Erica arborea (tree heath), Smilax etc.

Lentisco, Erica arborea, Smilace ecc.

Pine grove

Species: Domestic or umbrella pine (Pinus pinea), Maritime (Pinus pinaster), Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) – c. 2,5 ha area

Arable land

Species: Species: oat, barley and wheat – c. 2,5 ha