one of the best places to visit in Calabria
The historical center of Fiumefreddo Bruzio is one of the most admired on the Tyrrhenian Coast in the province of Cosenza.
A village appreciated by many tourists and celebrated by artists and TV programs. Many audience reviews have included Fiumefreddo in the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy.
A long story, dating back to Norman conquest
The village was fortified by Norman leaders who arrived in the area in the 11th century, led by Roberto il Guiscardo (the astute), a prominent figure in the Altavilla family (their county was in Northern France).
Simone de Mamistra was a sort of lieutenant and property administrator designated by Normans. It’s important to mention because he’s linked to the story of an important religious building.
The old abbey of Fonte Laurato
In 1201 he donated a decrepit monastery – located in the luxuriant Cent’Acque valley that is at the slope of the giant Mount Cocuzzo (1541 meters) – to the Florense Order.
That was the monastic group founded by the abbot Gioacchino da Fiore, spiritual leader in medieval Calabria.
Gioacchino was a Calabrian philosopher and theologian. Died in 1202 and even cited by Dante Alighieri in the 12th canto of Paradise for his prophetic and interpretative capabilities about history.
Due to the presence of several clear water springs and a particular laurel vegetation, it was called Abbazia di Fonte Laurato. Today it’s a private property that can be visited on request.
The castle of Fiumefreddo overlooking the coast
Fiumefreddo Bruzio boasts a very strategic position, dominating the coast (you can see the end of the gulf of sant’Eufemia).
Walking in the streets of the old town, you can visit the remains of the castle, a sort of big fortified manor that was the residence of the historical feudal lords of Fiumefreddo Bruzio: the Alarcón Mendoza.
There is a double surname because the dynasty was born from the union of two families: Isabella Alarćon married Pedro de Mendoza.
Isabella was the daughter of Fernando Alarcón, military man of great charisma at the service of Charles V and absolute protagonist of the war events that occurred in the first half of the 1500s in Italy.
Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza was a trusted soldier loyal to Fernando.
Painting on the ruined walls:
the art challenge of Salvatore Fiume
The old castle is a monument not to be missed, as it is a wonderful balcony over the sea.
It was also the last bastion in the siege of the Napoleonic French Army in 1806-07; but, above all, you must visit the room that holds the frescoes made by the great artist Salvatore Fiume, twentieth century genius.
Fiume knew by chance the town that became his artistic residence, starting in the 1970s. He already had an international reputation, with his works exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Venice Biennale.
His creativity and his artistic madness changed Fiumefreddo.
The village was pervaded by a ferment of contemporary and nonconformist art, paintings and sculptures that almost scandalized, lively colors and generous female forms that captivated the gaze of the curious visitors.
He was the main character in real live performances, climbing like a tightrope walker on scaffolding and giving a new look to the castle, to the squares and to the churches.
The amazing fresco inside san Rocco’s chapel
Another masterpiece is the fresco on the intrados of the dome of the small church of San Rocco. Fiume was inspired by Goya and represented the saint of Montpellier in the purifying and miraculous action – when he removed the plague in the XIV century, in Italy. The encounter with the infected communities is imagined with a touching expressive force.
Core Calabro tour in Fiumefreddo
You should visit the mother church, which exhibits the masterpieces of Francesco Solimena (St. Nicholas of Bari in glory, which saves the cupbearer boy) and the most famous local painter who is Giuseppe Pascaletti, who lived in the 1700s (a fabulous painting of Madonna del Carmine).
We also recommend to enjoy the panoramic view of Largo Torretta.
Stay there and take the best picture of your travel. You can photograph entrancing sunsets over the sea.