Le Vie della Perla

13 April 2021

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Cosenza, the town with two souls.

Cosenza is a lively town with a heart rich of history but with a modern spirit which carries toward the change.

Panorama of Cosenza historic centre.

It’s divides into 2 parts: its historic part full of traditions and the modern one which continually evolves. The border between these two souls is where the Crati river crosses the Busento river, a suggestive place where the legend tells about the King Alaric (410 A.D.), leader of the Visigoths, who was buried with his tresure, the result of the sacking of Rome.

The King Alaric statue

The church of San Domenico is the point of passage from the ancient part of the town to the modern one, with its adjoining convent and its cloister which now houses the tourism office of the Municipality and the BoCs Art Museum: here there is hosted an exposition of works of art made by contemporary international authors who are hosted at the 27 wooden studio-boxes settled along the river Crati, one next the other.

The Church of San Domenico

The so called “Cosenza Vecchia” (The Old Cosenza) looks like a small village with its alleys and small squares which wind along “Corso Telesio” famous as “The street of the merchants”. This last one is the main street overlooked by ancient noble palaces and small squares once used for the trade.

A view on Corso Telesio

By walking along Corso Telesio, in the middle, we meet the Cathedral listed by UNESCO as “Witness to a Culture of Peace” from 2011 and dedicated to Madonna del Pilerio patron of the town whose portait is housed inside a chapel of Cathedral. At the backside of the church, by going up to the street, we arrive to the Renzelli Café, historical bar once place of meeting of the intellectuals and the bourgeois in 1800s. In the same square there is the Diocesan Museum which hostes the Stauroteca or Byzantine Cross of Frederick II realized at the end of the 12th century by the Norman factory in Palermo.

The Cathedral by night

In the past the town was the capital of the Brettii and Enotri, the ancient populations of warriors (356 BC) told by the archaeological finds that are kept in the homonymous Museum. It was later known as the “Athens of Calabria” for its cultural liveliness. In fact, in 1511 the Cosentina Academy, located in XV Marzo Square, was founded by the humanist Parrasio and reorganized by the philosopher Tommaso Campanella. Some important landmarks faces at this square, where Corso Telesio finishes, such as the “Rendano” Theatre, classical theatre where the liric and poem seasons take place; the Palace of Province, a building dates back to 1500, under which it’s hosted the Regional Winehouse where once was the Santa Maria di Costantinopoli Church; the “Villa Vecchia”, the old public garden of the town with the centenary trees and place where the local people attend during the very hot period. From this square, if you look up towards the Pancrazio hill, you can see the Norman-Swebian Castle recently restored, open to visitors and home to cultural events and congress. On the Triglio hill we find a 1500 building, Palazzo Arnone, once The Court and The Prison but now an important National Gallery where are kept Calabrian and southern works of art from the 1500s to the contemporary age.

The “Alfonso Rendano” Theatre

The “Modern Part” of the town is divided in several districts, starting from those of the Fascist era up to the present days, involved in urban redevelopment projects with spaces and squares that can be used by citizens and tourists, giving to the town an European style. The high street is Corso Mazzini, the salon of Cosenza, pedestrian, where the open air MAB Museum “Bilotti” wind along it with its famous sculptures that an American collector gave to his originally town. These works of art were made by important international contemporary artists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Salvador Dalì. The street is lined by many shops, bars, restaurants and places for the night life giving to the tourist many opportunities to enjoy.

The MAB “Bilotti” Museum


The futuristic vision of the city is represented by the recent bridge designed by the Spanish architect Calatrava named after San Francesco di Paola and by the nearby Planetarium considered the second largest in Italy, after the Milan one, and equipped with cutting-edge technologies.

Cosenza is certainly an interesting tourist destination where you can spend a wonderful weekend-break thanks its good position well connected to the other interesting places in Calabria. In this way you can enjoy its historical-artistic beauties and its food and wine goodness: among the typical dishes of Cosenza cuisine we suggest “the patate ‘mpacchiuse”, fried potatoes in a little strictly extra virgin olive oil that make them attached one to other. For this reason they are called ‘mpacchiuse which means in the local dialect “stuck/attacched“.

Brunella Brusco

The lighted Calatrava Bridge by night

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