The Heart of Cosenza

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The Heart of Cosenza


Cosenza, for years the cradle of culture in the entire south, has been called the Athens of Calabria since antiquity. It is one of the most beautiful cities, rich in art and history, in the entire region, strategically located. Twenty minutes from the Tyrrhenian Sea and about half an hour from the Sila Mountains, it offers its tourists any logistical solution and entertainment according to individual needs. It is spread over seven hills, including hilly areas and valleys, two rivers, and streams. However, Cosenza is not just about culture. It is one of the most innovative, green, and sports-oriented cities in southern Italy. Its inhabitants are highly welcoming, open to influences from other peoples, and socially aware. The old part is charming and still fully medieval, while the new city looks towards the future. How to visit it? By venturing into its alleys and then into its busiest streets starting from the historic center. The sensation you will feel will be that of finding yourself in a miniature European capital, where every service is available to the citizen.


The historic center of Cosenza stretches along the Crati River and climbs on one side and the other of its banks. In ancient times, it was the capital of the Bruttians, as its citizens are still called today, a proud people who vigorously opposed Roman invasions. The original nucleus of the city is not, as often happens, at the center of subsequent urban expansion but on the side. This characteristic makes the hills on which it stands even more fascinating. Old Cosenza develops along Corso Telesio and rises, among alleys and historic buildings, beautiful and full of great charm and legend. It jealously preserves among its walls numerous artistic and architectural beauties, easily visitable with a convenient daily itinerary. Cosenza comes from an extremely radiant past, full of cultural and political fervor. Witness to this are the noble buildings, churches, and the Cathedral. Which itinerary to choose? You can start from Piazza Tommaso Campanella, dominated by the fifteenth-century church of San Domenico, characterized by a splendid rose window and numerous late 18th-century works kept inside. Entering Corso Telesio, the beating heart of the old city, you can admire the Church of the Knights of Malta, Palazzo Tarsia, and the Old City Hall. Craft shops that blend old and new customs will accompany you on your journey. The highlight is the Cathedral, originating from the 11th century, while a short distance away is Piazza XV March, which recalls the insurrectionary movements of March 15, 1844. In the center is the statue of Bernardino Telesio, an internationally important philosopher. On one side, however, stands the majestic Rendano Theater, on the other the Government Palace. In the surroundings also the Cosentian Academy with the Civic Library, one of the most important in southern Italy. Continuing on via Gaetano Argento you arrive at Palazzo Sersale where, in 1535, Emperor Charles V was hosted during a stay in Cosenza. Next to it is the Monastery of the Virgins, where numerous 16th-century pictorial masterpieces are kept. The entire area between Corso Telesio and the so-called Giostra Vecchia, the heart of Renaissance Cosenza, represents an invaluable historical and cultural heritage for the city. At Portapiana, the climb to the Castle begins, another powerful symbol of the city, whose origins date back to the year 1000, during the Saracen domination. The Norman-Swabian Castle of Cosenza, located on the summit of Pancrazio Hill, is built on an artificial rectangular mound, whose orientation refers to the constructions of the Bruttians. It is one of the most seductive in the entire south, recently renovated to attract and accommodate as many tourists and curious people as possible.


Moving from the opposite bank of the Crati, you come across the modern part of the city. The first symbol is the tallest bridge in Europe, designed by the Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava. Cosenza offers its visitors a completely innovative way to showcase its beauties. The Bilotti Open-air Museum extends along the main street of the city (Corso Mazzini) and communicates a simple concept: to make contemporary art a familiar element in the most frequented place. The shopping street has been, in fact, for some years now the privileged venue for an open-air museum of contemporary art: born from the donation made to the city by Carlo Bilotti, art collector, it consists of a path of works by artists such as Giacomo Manzù, Salvador Dalì, Mimmo Rotella, Giorgio De Chirico. Some works are impressive for their timeless beauty. Corso Mazzini itself has become a venue for urban art experiments and periodically hosts installations that do not go unnoticed. The route ends in Piazza Bilotti, once Piazza Fera, which has been transformed and hosts installations and further works of contemporary art. At a lower level than that of the square, the Multimedia Museum of Cosenza was recently inaugurated. If you love sports, it is impossible not to attend a home match of the local football team. In the San Vito-Gigi Marulla stadium, the warmth of the supporters is so engaging that you will return home with a red-blue flag.
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