Written by Tolik on 21 Aug, 2004
The Italians call their country south of Naples Il Mezzogiorno – the Land of the midday sun – and for good reason... The history of Cosenza started a very long time ago, 900 BC when a nomad people called Itali came to live…Read More
The Italians call their country south of Naples Il Mezzogiorno – the Land of the midday sun – and for good reason... The history of Cosenza started a very long time ago, 900 BC when a nomad people called Itali came to live there. After the Itali people, near 600 BC, come the people of Brutii that are the founders of the city. It was known to the ancients as Cosentia, and was the capital of Bruttium. It was conquered (338 BC) by Alexander of Epirus, uncle of Alexander the Great. Later it adhered to King Pyrrhus, when he invaded Italy.
According to the ancient historian Strabo, the town very quickly accepted the Magna Greece civilization. Cosentia played an active part in the Tarentine and Punic wars. It led the Bruzi federation and was conquered by Rome in 204 BC (a stretch of a Roman pavement can be seen dug out in Via Messer Andrea). In 218 BC the people tired of Romans was allied to Hannibal and go to the second Punic war with him. But in 202 BC the Romans won at Zama and Cosenza was destroyed, but eventually rebuilt by the Roman Consul Valerius Flaccus. The Romans stayed here up to 300 AD.
First castle, the famous Rocca Brezia, was built on the top of the hill. In 410 the Visigoth king Alaric stormed Cosenza. Struck down by malaria, he was interred here along with his booty, and the course of the river deviated to cover the traces, lending Cosenza a place in history and giving rise to countless projects to discover the hidden treasure (Alaric was buried with his horse and his treasures in the bed of the Busento at its confluence with the Crati).
Then, in the 12th century, Normans constructed a castle that now, considerably rebuilt, is the town hall. The castle was enlarged by the Swabian King Frederic II in the next century. Under Swabian, Angevin and Spanish rule it became the most important town in Calabria and later that in most direct contact with Naples. In the 16th century Cosenza flourished culturally thanks partly to the formation of an Academy and to the work of philosophers such as Bernardino Telesio. Its cultural traditions won the city the nickname of "Athens of Calabria".
Yes, it is a bright beautiful land indeed.
Calabria's first town of any size if you're travelling from the north, is also the region's most interesting town, and makes a useful base to explore the surrounding area. Completely enclosed by mountains - the Sila on the east, the Catena Costiera separating it from…Read More
Calabria's first town of any size if you're travelling from the north, is also the region's most interesting town, and makes a useful base to explore the surrounding area. Completely enclosed by mountains - the Sila on the east, the Catena Costiera separating it from the Tyrrehenian Sea to the west - Cosenza is the meeting point of two rivers, the Crati and the Busento at 238 meters above sea level.
The two rivers form a neat division between old and new Cosenza, with the main drag of the new town, Corso Mazzini, running off north from near their junction.
Most of the things worth seeing are located in the old part, the centro storico , a compact knot of steps and alleys rising up to a sturdy Norman - Swabian castle on Colle di San Pancrazio – the Pancrazio Hill (like the Eternal City, Cosenza was built on the seven hills; other six are Vetere, Guarassano, Venneri, Gramazio, Triglio, and Mussano). You'll want to see the cathedral, rebuilt in 1184 (Isabel of Aragon is buried here). You should visit also the heart of the Old Town centered around Piazza XV Marzo.