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Cosenza - Calabria - Discover Italy

  • Description
  • What to See
  • What to Do
  • What to taste

It is one of the most populated provinces in Italy and the eighth for extension. With its 367 miles of coast, the Province of Cosenza occupies 44.1% of the surface of Calabria, essentially the entire central and northern part of the region.Calabria's singular landscape is characterized by mountains and hills. It runs from the Ionian Coast in the east to the Tyrrhenian shores in the west, from the massif of Pollino in the north to the plateau of Sila grande. There are also plains, like the one of Sibari, and big valleys, as for example in Crati. Hilly areas slope down to the North and to the East of the Sila Greca. Everything is characterized by great variety, even from coast to coast and on every massif. The visitor remains disoriented and fascinated at the same time.

The Province hosts eight mountain communities: Greca/Destra Crati, Alto Ionio, Pollino, Alto Tirreno/Appennino Paolano, Savuto, Delle Valli/Media Valle Crati, Silana and Media Valle Crati/Serre Cosentine.The territory of Cosenza, as with the rest of Calabria, exhibits traces of history, beginning with the prehistoric period. On the coast are Neolithic sites attesting to human presence. The water flows have been important travel routes since the Magna Graecia and Roman periods. In the Middle Ages, this land was conquered by the Byzantines, who brought benefits to the economy of the territory with the introduction of new agricultural techniques, sericultural production, and the promotion of social aggregation. The results are still evident in the elegant and refined architecture, as well as those of the Normans, the Angevins, the Aragonese and the Spaniards, who all left their mark in the following centuries. 

Scalea, CosenzaCosenza, known as the City of the Bruzi, is one of the most ancient cities of Calabria and is situated on seven hills in the valley of Crati, where it meets the Busento River. Due to its cultural past, it was known as the Athens of Italy; today, it houses the largest university campus in the nation. 

The old city is characterized by steep and narrow alleyways and, during recent years is experiencing a renewed vibrancy. The historic center is one of the most beautiful and ancient of Italy, for its monumental buildings, manor houses, urban plan, and labyrinth of streets around the old buildings and churches.

The city's cultural activities are well-developed, thanks in part to theatrical events held in locations like the traditional Teatro A. Rendano, the historical Cinemateatro Italia and the Teatro Stabile d’Innovazione of Calabria. The Accademia Cosentina, as well, promotes culture, artists and scientists.The Brettii Museum - officially opened in the 15th-Century monumental complex of Sant'Agostino in 2009 - represents the city's cultural heart. Included in Cosenza's cultural endowments are the Museum of the Rimembranze and the Bilotti Open-Air Museum.

Then Rocca Imperiale overlooks the Ionian Sea and borders with Basilicata. The inhabited area is dominated by a Fortress, built by Frederick II.Rende is an ancient Roman settlement between the streams of Emoli and Surdo, subsequently developed in the Crati Valley; here the Normans constructed the castle and surrounding walls. Corigliano Calabro dates to Medieval times, and is dominated by an imposing castle. The ancient district of Ognissanti developed as a stairway upon a hill, characterized by its narrow and evocative streets.

In Rossano, the Giorgio Amarelli Museum of Liquorice and the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art deserve a visit, while in Praia a Mare the Museo Comunale displays works by contemporary artists. Mormanno, on the other hand, still bears traces of its Lombard foundations, perched as a castle on a rocky buttress. 

Crati, Cosenza | Source: WikicommonsThe variety of the landscapes here makes the territory of Cosenza the ideal place for long trekking excursions. Its iconic animal is the wolf that lives on the woody plateau outside the city and is still the symbol for Cosenza.

Trekking routes lead to the discovery of small churches and wonderful landscapes that can be admired from charming wooden bridges. The flat, hilly areas are often exploited for horseback riding. And photography enthusiasts can find plenty of inspiration. During wintertime, organized snowshoe excursions in the mountains are popular, while ski establishments are located in the highest areas of the Sila National Park.

The National Park of Pollino offers opportunities to practice rafting and canoeing, especially on the River Lao, among canyons and gorges. During recent years, Nordic walking has become more widespread, as it is a light and easy sport suitable for everybody. Canyoning, on the other hand, may be practiced climbing up the Iannello stream, a tributary of the Lao that is characterized by several waterfalls. During the excursions, guides provide rope for rock-climbing.

Water parks can be found along the coast, like Odissea 2000, in Zolfara, near Rossano, and the coastline is well-equipped for water sports, from wind surfing to water skiing, as well as for beach volleyball and five-a-side football. Inland, many fairs and festivals offer opportunities to taste typical dishes and discover local traditions. 

Fusilli and peperoncino, Cosenza The culinary specialties of the Province of Cosenza are based on its genuine and simple products. The cuddrurieddri are salted doughnuts prepared for the Immacolata Feast and during the Christmas period. The turididdri are fried Christmas pastries covered with figs and honey, while the scaliddre are sugar-glazed.

An example of a first-course dish is the pitta 'mpigliata, fresh fusilli, pasta with potatoes (tijeddra), fried potatoes and pipareddre (peppers), broccoli and sausages, lagane and ciciari (thick tagliatelle and chickpeas), and fresh pasta with mushrooms fromSila. Among the fish dishes, the most famous are fried cod and spaghetti with anchovies and fried breadcrumbs.

Mostaccioli are the typical pastries for the Feast of Saint Joseph, consisting of a focaccia bread made with honey or figs, mulled wine, flour and almonds, in a particular shape deriving from ancient offerings to the pagan gods.

We also recommend the anise liqueur, one of the most appreciated of the area.

Cosenza - Wikipedia

ComuneCategory:Articles containing Italian-language text in Calabria, Italy

Cosenza (Italian: [koˈzɛntsa] About this sound listen (help·info)) is a city in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. The city proper has a population of 71,000; the urban area counts over 268,000[1] inhabitants. It is the capital of the Province of Cosenza, which has a population of around 735,000. The demonym of Cosenza is cosentino in Italian and Cosentian in English.

The ancient town is the seat of the Cosentian Academy, the second academy of philosophical and literary studies to be founded in the Kingdom of Naples (1511) and one of the oldest in Europe. To this day, the city remains a cultural hub in Southern Italy, with several museums, theatres, libraries and the University of Calabria.

Geography and Climate[edit]

View of the Old Town in the snow The River Crathis in Cosenza

Located at the confluence of two historical rivers, the Busento and the Crati, Cosenza stands 238 m above sea level in a valley between the Sila plateau and the coastal range of mountains. The old town, overshadowed by its Norman castle, descends to the river Crati. The modern city lies to the north, beyond the Busento, on level ground.

Almost completely surrounded by mountains, Cosenza is subject to a microclimate scarcely influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, with cold winters and hot summers.



The ancient Consentia, capital of the Italic tribe of the Bruttii, was a bulwark of the Italic people against the Hellenic influences of the Ionian colonies. It was in this province that the Battle of Pandosia was fought, in which a small Italic army composed of Bruttii and Lucanians defeated Alexander the Great's uncle, Alexander of Epirus. Over the centuries, Cosenza maintained a distinctive character, which marked it out among the cities of the region. Under Emperor Augustus it became an important stopover on the Roman route via Popilia, which connected Calabria to Sicily. During the Roman Empire, although merely a colonia, the town benefited from municipal privileges.

Alaric's legendary tomb[edit]

In 410 AD Alaric I, king of the Visigoths sacked the city of Rome and became the first foreign enemy to capture the city in over 800 years. After leaving Rome, Alaric had amassed a great amount of treasure from his conquest of the city.

According to the Gothic historian Jordanes,[2] After sacking Rome Alaric left and headed south with his troops until reaching the area of Cosenza, where he died. No one is certain how this happened: Some believe he contracted a disease that took his life, while others feel that his death came from an attack by enemy forces. In any case, his troops honored their king by burying him in a tomb in the city. His burial place is said to have been at the confluence of the Busento and Crathis rivers. A horde of slaves were used to divert the water from the Busento, allowing them to dig a tomb large enough for Alaric, his horse and all of the treasure amassed from his conquests in Rome. Once the tomb was completed, the river was returned to its bed and the tomb covered with water. Then, to ensure that no one would reveal this location to anyone, Alaric's troops killed all of the slaves.

In the centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, several towns in the Cosenza province, most notably Rossano, refused to acknowledge the new governments of the Visigoths. Instead, they used their fortune of having strong city walls and small Roman garrisons to hold out for centuries as semi-independent enclaves of the still existent Eastern Roman Empire in Italy. For that reason, Cosenza was viewed as Byzantine territory until the invasion of the Germanic Lombards in the 560s.

Norman, Hohenstaufen and Angevin period[edit]

Bitterly disputed between the Saracens and the Lombards, the town was destroyed, then rebuilt around 988; only to be ravaged again in the early 11th century. In the attempt to escape the devastation, the population left the town and sheltered on the surrounding hills where they built some small hamlets (still denominated casali).

By the first half of the eleventh century, Lombard Calabria became a feudal dukedom of the Normans, with Cosenza as capital. The town soon rebelled against the rule of Roger Guiscard and was only recaptured after a long siege. Subsequently, under the Hohenstaufen rule, the town became the seat of the Court of Calabria (Curia Generale). The Emperor Frederick II had a particular interest in the town: he promoted construction and economic activities, organising an important annual fair.

Subsequently, Cosenza fought bitterly against the Angevin domination, supported by the clergy. While the uprising spread through the valley of the Crathis, the town was involved in the see-sawing fight between Angevins and the Crown of Aragon. In 1432 King Louis III of Anjou settled in the castle of Cosenza with his wife Margaret of Savoy. When he died untimely, in 1434, he was buried in the Cathedral.

Spanish domination[edit]

In 1500, in spite of resistance, Cosenza was occupied by the Spanish army led by Captain Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba. During the sixteenth century the town experienced a period of expansion as the seat of the Viceroy of Calabria. At the same time its cultural importance grew thanks to the foundation of the Accademia Cosentina; among its most renowned members were Bernardino Telesio, Aulo Gianni Parrasio, the Martirano brothers, Antonio Serra and others. In 1707 the Austrians succeeded the Spanish in the Kingdom of Naples, followed by the Bourbons. After the proclamation in 1799 of the short-lived Parthenopean Republic and a vain resistance, the town was finally occupied for the Bourbons by Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo’s Lazzari; Cardinal Ruffo was native of the province of Cosenza.

Modern age[edit]

From 1806 to 1815 Cosenza fought hard against French domination. Cruel suppressions characterised that period and in 1813 the town, a cradle of the Carbonari secret societies, saw many rebels executed. The local riots of 1821 and 1837 heralded the Risorgimento. They were followed by the uprising of 15 March 1844, which reached its climax with the “noble folly” of the Bandiera Brothers, who were executed together with some of their followers in the Vallone di Rovito in Cosenza. In 1860, some months after the rapid and overwhelmingly heroic deeds of Garibaldi’s troops, a plebiscite proclaimed the annexation of Calabria to the new Kingdom of Italy.

Main sights[edit]

Church of San Domenico[edit]

Founded in 1448, the church combines Renaissance and Medieval elements. Its most interesting feature is the rose window defined by 16 little tuff columns. The wooden portal (1614) is inlaid with floral motifs, figures of saints and coats of arms.

Inside the church are works by the Cosentian painter A. Granata (late 18th century): Santa Rosa, Santa Caterina, San Ludovico, San Giacinto and San Domenico. The high altar is made of polychrome marble (1767). In the transept, there is a Deposition and a San Vincenzo Ferreri (late 18th century, anonymous). The sacristy is noted for its ribbed vault, a double lancet window with a narrow arch and a wooden choir installed in 1635.

The Cathedral[edit]

The exact origins of the Duomo are unknown; it was probably built during the first half of the 11th century. An earthquake destroyed the cathedral on 9 June 1184, and rebuilding was completed by 1222 when the cathedral was consecrated by Emperor Frederick II. At some point during the first half of the 18th century the church was covered by a baroque superstructure which obliterated the original structure and its works of art. In the first half of the 19th century the façade was transformed in neo-gothic style, which completely changed its character. At the end of the 19th century, Archbishop Camillo Sorgente entrusted the work to Pisanti, who recovered the original old arches and the ancient structure of the church. In the 1940s the work was finally completed. In the transept is the tomb of Isabella of Aragon, wife of king Philip III of France. A long aisle links the Duomo to the archbishops' palace, the Palazzo Arcivescovile, which houses an Immacolata by Luca Giordano. One can also admire the rare and precious Stauroteca, a gift from Emperor Frederick II to the Duomo upon consecration. The work was produced in the royal goldsmiths' workshops, better known as “Tiraz”, in a cultural environment which blended Arabic, Byzantine and Western cultural elements.

On 12 October 2011, the Cathedral of Cosenza received the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site for being "Heritage Witness to a Culture of Peace".[3][4] This is the first award given by UNESCO to the region of Calabria.

Monastero delle Vergini[edit]

In via Gaetano Argento stands the "Convent of the Virgins". The external part of the main entrance is made of decorated tuff, while the internal part is carved of wood. The convent contains a 16th-century painting of the Annunciation. In front of it, is the 13th-century Madonna del Pilerio attributed to Giovanni da Taranto, while on the walls are four other anonymous 16th-century paintings: the Visitation, the Circumcision, the Adoration of the Shepherds and the Adoration of the Magi. In the apse is the altarpiece Transit of the Virgin (1570). The cymatium houses a painting portraying the Coronation of the Virgin, while at the base of the two columns are paintings, attributed to Michele Curia, the "Master of Montecalvario", of two unidentified saints. The wooden choir dates to the 17th century.

Giostra Vecchia[edit]

In the fifteenth century, at Palazzo Falvo the Renaissance was introduced at Cosenza, in the Giostra Vecchia. Here are located the church and monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi. The Latin cross plan has a nave and two aisles. In the nave stands the impressive high wooden altar built in 1700. Above it is a painting by Daniele Russo representing the Perdono d’Assisi (1618). The left aisle is home to a wooden 17th-century crucifix, the altar of the Madonna della Febbre and the statue of the Madonna with Child, in marble, dating to the 16th century. The sacristy has a painted wooden ceiling, a wooden armadio representing episodes from the Passion of Christ and pictures of saints and Franciscan monks. The stone arch is characterized by the painting of St. Francis of Paola, while on the walls are some frescoes dating to the beginning of the 15th century.

Hohenstaufen Castle[edit]

Palazzo Arnone, National Gallery The Bather, by Emilio Greco

The Castello Svevo ("Swabian" or Hohenstaufen Castle) was originally built by the Saracens on the ruins of the ancient Rocca Brutia, around the year 1000. The castle was restored by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, adding the octagonal tower to the original structure, in 1239. According to tradition, his son Henry lived in this castle, as a prisoner at his father’s command. Louis III of Naples and Margaret of Savoy married in the castle and they both settled there in 1432.

All signs of the ancient Saracen structure have now disappeared. In the internal cloister, the modifications made by the Bourbons in order to convert it into a prison can also be seen. The entrance-hall is covered by ogival arches with engraved brackets. A wide corridor is dominated by some fleur-de-lis from the House of Anjou coat of arms. They are engraved on the ribbed Hohenstaufen arches.

Spirito Santo[edit]

The church of Sant'Agostino, also known as the Spirito Santo, was built in 1507 by the Augustinians. The original portal has several inscriptions in Gothic characters. The interior has a series of paintings from the eighteenth century. Further on a narrow street leads to the so-called “Area of the Bandiera Brothers”, the Vallone di Rovito. Here, the insurrectional patriots of 1844 were executed by a firing squad.

San Francesco di Paola[edit]

In the Arenella, are the Church and Monastery of Saint Francis of Paola (1510). The interior, with a single nave, houses the tomb of Ottavio Cesare Gaeta. On the right wall, are two 18th-century paintings: a Sacra Famiglia and Madonna con San Francesco e Sant’Agostino. On an altar is a wooden statue of Saint Francis of Paola; while on the left side of the nave, on another altar, is a wooden statue of San Michele Arcangelo. The Madonna with Child in Glory and Saints Paul and Luke (1551) was painted by Pietro Negroni. In the apse, a 16th-century triptych made by Cristoforo Faffeo represents the Madonna and Child in glory with saints Catherine and Sebastian. At the back of the altar is a wooden choir built in 1679 by M. Domenico Costanzo da Rogliano. On the wall of the sacristy are remains of frescoes dating back to 1550-1600. On the vault are some pastels representing scenes from the life of the Saint from Paola.

San Salvatore[edit]

The small church of San Salvatore serves the parish which professes the Byzantine-Albanian faith. Inside the nave are a wooden ceiling, some frescoes of the Apostoli, of the Salvatore and of the Madonna, as well as a splendid iconostasis.

Open Air Museum[edit]

In the modern part of Cosenza, in an area stretching from the pedestrianized Corso Mazzini to Piazza Bilotti, lies the open-air "Museo MAB" (Museo all'aperto Bilotti). The museum hosts a wide range of modern art sculptures that stand in the street for residents and tourists. The sculptures were donated to the city by the Italian-American entrepreneur and art collector, Carlo Bilotti. They include Saint George and the Dragon by Salvador Dalí, Hector and Andromache by Giorgio de Chirico, "the Bronzes" by Sacha Sosno, The Bather by Emilio Greco, The Cardinal by Giacomo Manzù and various marble sculptures by Pietro Consagra.

Museums and cultural institutions[edit]

  • National Gallery - Palazzo Arnone
  • Civic Archeological Museum
  • Remembrance Museum
  • Bilotti Open Air Museum
  • Rendano Theatre
  • Morelli Theatre
  • Acquario Theatre
  • Cosentian Academy
  • University of Calabria
  • State Conservatoire
  • State Archive Library
  • Civic Library
  • National Library
  • District Library
  • Children's Library
  • Antonio Guarasci Foundation Library
  • Calabria Jazz Centre Recordings Archive
  • Theological Library (Seminario cosentino)
  • Cultural and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage Archive

Events and festivals[edit]

  • Fiera di S.Giuseppe - March
  • Festival delle Invasioni - July
  • Festa del Cioccolato (Chocolate Festival) - October
  • La sagra dell'uva e del vino (Wine Festival) in Donnici - October

Notable people[edit]

  • Joachim of Fiore (theologian, c.1135-1202)
  • Aulo Giano Parrasio (humanist, 1470–1521)
  • Bernardino Telesio (philosopher, 1509–1588)
  • Pietro Negroni (painter, 1505–1565)
  • Antonio Serra (economist, late 16th century)
  • Sertorio Quattromani (philosopher, 1541–1607)
  • Francesco Saverio Salfi (writer, 1759–1832)
  • Nicola Misasi (writer, 1850–1923)
  • Alfonso Rendano (pianist, 1853–1931)
  • Alessandro Longo (composer, 1864–1945)
  • Pietro Mancini (politician, 1876–1968)
  • Fausto Gullo (politician, 1887–1974)
  • Stefano Rodotà (politician, born 1933)
  • Maria Perrotta (pianist, born 1974)
  • Stefano Fiore (footballer, born 1975)
  • Maria Perrusi (Miss Italia 2009)
  • Giovanni Ventriglia (noto business man: 30L in macroeconomia)

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Cosenza is twinned with:


  • Statue in the Old Gardens

  • UNICAL University located in Rende near Cosenza

  • Interior of the Rendano Theatre


External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cosenza.

Cosenza Photo gallery

at Panoramio

Cosenza, Calabria, Italia

Donnici Inferiore, CS, Calabria

Cosenza.Open Air Museum

veduta di cosenza by claudio

Rende-az új templom

Cosenza al tramonto


ITALIA Autopista Salerno-Reggio Calabria, Cosenza

Piano Lago-hegyek

San Pietro in Guarano

Scorcio di Celico

Università della Calabria Rende

metanodotto algerino sul Monte Cucuzzo

Neve parcheggio sede RAI

Santuario di Santa Maria

uscita autostrada Cosenza Nord

Calabria - la neve a Cosenza

Cosenza - Panorama

Chiesa San Domenico


Stadio San Vito - Cosenza


Carolei - ss278

Pedace visto da est

Figline Vegliaturo : chiesa matrice

Aprigliano, Agosto, Petrone, Vico

Domanico - ss278

San Maria del Soccorso: Abbazia Florense, fondata dall'abate Francesco di Notargiovanni nel 1530

Calabria Italie

Carolei - ss278

Clinica La Madonnina

Viale dei Giardini - Rende


Panoramica ponte di Carolei

Via Don Minzoni - Commenda - Rende


Santuario della Madonna del Carmelo

alberi sulla strada

Contrada Don Titta (SS107) vista dai Longeni

Liceo Scientifico Scorza

Rende Paese

Canyon dell'Alimena

Panoramica Università della Calabria - Rende

Carolei - ss278

Sila Calabria i colori dell'autunno

Case abbandonate

Vadue - SS278

Magli from Trenta

Photos provided by Panoramio. Photos are under the copyright of their owners.

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