Must visit Cosenza and the surrounding villages
Visiting Cosenza leads to the discovery of a city where ancient and modern architecture coexist in harmony.
There are streets and places that bear witness to a past full of historical events.
You realize it by wandering among the large buildings of the historical centre, or among the places that tourists must absolutely see, such as the cathedral and the imposing swabian castle.
But there is also the wonderful modern Cosenza, with the beautiful promenade of Corso Mazzini, the best known shopping street.
Brettii foundation, the clans that ruled before the Romans
The name Bruzio (Brutium), referring to a large part of the Cosenza area, dates back to the Roman period. It’s due to the Brettii tribes that came to occupy these lands, one hundred years before the Roman Empire.
The Brettii were skilled with weapons and had a solid pastoral culture. They separated from the Lucanians in the fourth century B.C. and settled in the valley of the Crati river as shepherds, exploiting the countless forest resources in the area.
Cosenza became the capital of the Brettia Confederation.
We recommend a guided tour of the welcoming Brettii and Enotri Museum. It is located in the sixteenth-century monumental convent of saint Augustine, friars once lived there.
Cosenza, Calabrian capital of the cultural tourism
Cosenza is often represented as the Athens of Calabria.
This happens because it was the home of illustrious thinkers, the philosopher Bernardino Telesio above all.
The statue of Telesio stands out in XV marzo square, in front of the Alfonso Rendano theatre. Rendano was a talented musician between the 1800s and 1900s.
The city is full of tourist attractions and we suggest a full day urban trek, starting from the old part and ending down in the most beautiful pedestrian street in Calabria, which is Corso Mazzini.
This popular street is also a contemporary art runway. It hosts fine and eccentric installations – the acclaimed MAB, Bilotti open air museum, an amazing collection of works donated by the patron Carlo Bilotti.
In the historical centre, a guided tour in the rooms of Palazzo Arnone, which houses the National Gallery, is highly recommended.
It is a rich display of paintings – art masterpieces from 1500 to 1900, especially by leading artists in Southern Italy.
Corso Telesio in the old city of Cosenza
Walking along Corso Telesio you will come across the majestic cathedral, rebuilt in the 13th century.
It houses a chapel with the venerated icon of the Virgin of Pilerio, a nursing madonna that has a Byzantine stylistic derivation. It is a panel painting dating back to the 12th-13th century.
In the diocesan museum you admire the Stauroteca, it is a reliquary cross containing a fragment of the True Cross of Christ, according to the tradition donated by Frederick II of Swabia in 1222.
The wide valley of Crati river (91 km long) is the first waterway in Calabria.
This is a land blessed by gods of fertility, agriculture and livestock.
This is a wealthy place, you can visit several farms and dairies.
This rich land used to be an imperative stop for all the merchants travelling from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian one (and the way back) in ancient times.
Let’s think about the trade between the glorious Sibari – one of the “stars” of Magna Graecia, and its Tyrrhenian sub-colonies.
Some tours around Cosenza
First, we suggest you to discover the peak of Cocuzzo. You walk up the mountain that rises above the towns of Mendicino and Cerisano, that Mount Cocuzzo which in the past was mistaken for an extinct volcano.
In Mendicino take a trip to the Silk Dynamic Museum in the historical Filanda Gaudio, an industrial archeology (spinning mill) that has been recovered in a precious way.
University of Calabria
The city of Rende, together with Cosenza, forms one of the largest urban agglomerations in the region.
On the Arcavacata hills a sort of long “pier” acts as a skeleton for the reddish ‘cubes’ of the University of Calabria, a great school architecture that is inspired by spaces and layout of a USA campus.
Unical is the largest sharing centre of knowledge and cultures available in Calabria.
Close to the town of Luzzi, the former Cistercian abbey of Sambucina does not cease to amaze historians of architecture and art.