There is a modern Cosenza that stretches along the left bank of the Crati, the main river of Calabria, which comes from the western slopes of the Sila to flow into the Gulf of Taranto, near the lakes of Sibari.
Then there is the oldest and most collectible Cosenza that instead climbs up the Pancrazio hill.
Founded by the Bruzi family in the 4th century BC, it is the northernmost of the Calabrian provincial capitals, recognized in 2008 as a city of art.
Of the lands of the Bruzi became capital coming to control the Lucania and most of the lands of the Magna Grecia Calabra. In Roman times, Cosenza became an important commercial crossroads, passing into Lombard hands and later under the Byzantines, later becoming a Swabian duchy.
It was however in the Aragonese period that the city knew what would have been the first important cultural flowering.
It is with the river Busento that the Crati joins the base of the ancient area of the city; the two rivers respectively the western and eastern borders of the most picturesque area of Cosenza, the one that climbs up to the hill that houses the Svevo castle, built by the Saracens on the ruins of the ancient Rocca Brettia.
Authentic treasure of the historic center is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, dating back to the mid-eleventh century, from the facade to three portals surmounted by as many rosettes. The interior has a Latin cross, divided into three naves of eight bays each.
The religious heart of the old city, Piazza del Duomo is set against the elegant Piazza XV Marzo, which overlooks the monument to the Martyrs of 1844, that to Bernardino Telesio, the Palazzo della Prefettura and the Teatro Comunale Alfonso Rendano, which has its roots in the Renaissance, and where the main street of the historic center arrives, that Telesio course that cuts the upper town into two, and which takes its name from the 16th century local philosopher, author of the "De rerum natura iuxta proprio principia".
It is an alternation of beautiful façades, artistic treasures and picturesque ancient Cosenza alleys, which we also appreciate through its beautiful artisan shops, chairs, baskets, hats and artistic ceramics, its local food and wine shops and its wine bars. .
Worth a visit is the Museum of the Bretii and Enotri, set up in the fifteenth-century monumental complex of Sant'Agostino, which offers an interesting collection of archaeological finds from the city and from various locations in the province. Among the treasures of the museum is a sepulchral stele of the late Roman imperial age.
In addition to being one of the most historically important cities of the Italian south, Cosenza is also one of the food and wine capitals of the south.
Among its bars and its restaurants many are the specialties to taste. Dominated by the rural tradition, the local cuisine is a riot of intense flavors. To taste a platter of cured meats and cheeses among which stand out the ham and sausage of Cosenza, the classic brawn of Calabria and the savory caciocavallo della Sila. The appetizers, including the omelette of onions and flour without eggs or the aubergine balls.
Then the fresh pasta, the silani mushrooms, the tasty baccalà alla cosentina, with black olives, peppers, tomato sauce, bay leaf, parsley, salt and pepper and lamb chops, prepared with oil, onion, tomatoes, peppers and olives greens.
Ancient Cosenza is therefore history, culture, architectural treasures, scenographic panoramas but also flavors and scents, essences of a Calabria that the time has changed very little.
Villages not to be missed if you are visiting Cosenza:
Main photo by @yallerscalabria