EXCURSION to the little church of S.Niceto
Municipality: Bova Marina
Elevation difference: negligible
Altitude: roughly 200 metres above sea level
Time: 30 minutes
Ordinance Survey Maps: Folio 615 I Bova
At the end of a valley full of green bergamot groves and wedged between the last slopes of the Aspromonte massif, there is a small hill, on top of which stands the little church dedicated to San Niceto.
Dating back to the tenth century, it contains a small aperture used to collect water by means of a terracotta pipe concealed in the wall, which channeled the water down into the church below, used as a cistern. Several parts of the southern wall contain large patches of plaster where it is still possible to see traces of coloured frescoes. In the vicinity, prehistoric remains have been found. In short, this is a site which, though not easily accessed (or perhaps due to this fact) seems to have been at the centre of the world! The location matches the place names, which have remained in use after thousands of years: Mesofugna (place surrounded by mountains) and Priconderi (hard and narrow gorge).
The church can be reached by a steep, unshaded pathway overlooking the Vena Torrent, 2 kilometres north of Bova Marina. The arched aqueduct straddling the Vena for a stretch creates evocative gullies. The entry road is short and bordered by lush cultivations, so much so, that you might even go on foot the whole way, leaving the car at the end of Bova Marina.
Arriving by car
Once you have entered Bova Marina, follow the signs for Bova (Chora tu Vua).
At the side of the stadium, turn left (the right turn continues for Bova, or the centre of Bova Marina) and take the road that enters the valley, amid citrus-fruit and olive groves as well as greenhouses. The trek is short and simple, because you must follow the principle route disregarding the turnings-off leading to the various farms. After about 1.2 kilometres, you reach a fork with buildings and a gate on the left, a ruin on the right. Turn left and drive a little farther on. In a small clearing to the right before a small bridge over the Vena Torrent, you may leave your car.
You need to “climb” over a conglomerate crag from the top of which you will see the remains of a church. Go in the direction of the ruins at the foot of the other side of the crag. Turn right and circle the ruins, passing through some terraced fields, after which you will find a small uphill pathway and a make-shift wooden gate. This pathway is rather steep, but is made easier thanks to steps hacked out of the rock and to railings linked together by wire. It is important to pay attention, especially when descending, because of the unstable ground.
Source: Guida Naturalistica della Calabria Greca– Alfonso Picone – Rubbettino Editore – Collana Parco Culturale della Calabria Greca.