The villages of the upper Ionio Cosentino

Enjoy it!TerritoryThe villages of the upper Ionio Cosentino

The villages of the upper Ionio Cosentino


The tour in the upper Ionian area of Cosenza starts from Rocca Imperiale, a village rich in history which, just a few kilometers from the historic center, has a very extensive beach that alternates between sand and rocks. The natural and inviting landscape makes it almost physiological to take a dip, especially in the height of summer. The name is linked to the presence of the Swabian castle that dominates the village. The workers who built it often called the inhabited nucleus “Ri-carcari” due to the presence of the kilns (“carcari” in dialect) where lime and bricks were prepared before starting the construction of the fortress. The current name emerged after the fortress was completed. The turning point came in 1239 when Frederick II chose to populate the area by sending a colony there. The medieval age was quite troubled. Rocca Imperiale was very functional for guarding the plain and changed hands frequently, undergoing continuous sieges. For example, it was set on fire by the Turks in 1644. The area has always been known for the production of lemons that emit a particular fragrance. In August, there is the renowned poetry festival: the winning verses are reproduced on a maiolica plaque affixed to a house in the village.


Roseto Capo Spulico is certainly the most captivating location, the one that lends itself to more photographic shots thanks to its Norman castle overlooking the sea. Among the largest in Calabria, it was built at the behest of Frederick II in the 13th century. According to a series of legends, it is said to have offered refuge to the Templars before departing for the crusades in the Holy Land. The beach is just a stone’s throw away, and the sea is so clean that it was awarded a Blue Flag in 2017. With a few strokes in the water, you reach the “anvil-shaped rock.” The village is known for the production of various typical products such as cherries, soppressata, sausage, extra virgin olive oil, and “pitta” liscia, a type of bread in the shape of a wheel, which was widespread in the past. Among the stone streets and alleys that characterize the village, you can also see the characteristic rose gardens on the hill. In the 19th century, the petals of the flowers were used for the mattresses of the Sybarites.


Its “secca,” about 12 miles from Amendolara Marina and 20 meters below sea level, is said to correspond to the island of Ogigia mentioned by Homer in the Odyssey. Submerged centuries ago and then called Monte Sardo, it was the island where the nymph Calypso kept Odysseus prisoner. The waters, as at that time, have remained clear and crystalline. The village, on the other hand, was already inhabited in the Neolithic period. This is evidenced by some artifacts found on the hill on which Amendolara stands. The territory extends to the Straface stream, a temporary watercourse that forms only in the presence of heavy rains. There are no springs to feed it, but it is one of the phenomena for which it is worth visiting the village.


Trebisacce can be said to have become the economic engine of the entire area. Recently, it has experienced strong tourist and commercial development, and it boasts several agri-food companies specializing in citrus fruits and legumes. Some activities, such as fishing and craftsmanship, are also flourishing. Consequently, the typical seafood dishes and a series of particularly special artistic ceramics benefit. It has 10,000 inhabitants after doubling its population in the last 50 years and has been awarded the Blue Flag for its beaches since 2017. The seafront is characterized by a straight line of palm trees, reminiscent of more renowned places overlooking the Pacific. Restaurants and specialized beach clubs attract tourists and locals alike to face the summer head-on. In the historic center, the Baroque style predominates. The church of San Nicola Mira stands out, a patron saint popular especially in Eastern Europe, testifying to how in the past Trebisacce was an important hub with the East. The name, after all, derives from the Greek Trapezikion, meaning “small table,” and therefore “tableland,” referring to the geographical characteristics of the territory.


For those who love summer and want to relax on the beach, the Villapiana beach is ideal. The part of the municipal territory bathed by the Ionian Sea is a seaside resort surrounded by a vast pine forest, ideal for families and children. The beach is renowned throughout southern Italy thanks to its beautiful white sand, which distinguishes this stretch of coastline. As for the village, in the times of Magna Graecia, the city was known as Leutermia. This name was preserved until the 9th century when it was destroyed by the Saracens along with Blanda and Cirella. It was rebuilt around 1300 and took the name Casalnuovo, which it kept until the decree of January 4, 1863. It was on that occasion that it assumed its current denomination. It is easy to come across, while walking through the streets of the village, the palace of the princes and the two defensive towers in decent condition.

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