A Very Warm Welcome
I knew that Cosenza would be a lot of fun from the many, many Calabrians I know here in Toronto. I didn't realize, however, that I would receive a welcome as warm as the one I did. I came into Cosenza from beautiful but sleepy Reggio and wandered a bit before finding a pension (see my tip about that). The people I met, however, were more than just friendly - they went out of their way to make me feel like a local. It started with the bus ride from the train station, when five 10 year old boys swarmed me and wanted to know where I was from, how old I was, how much I weighed, if I had a girlfriend and how much I could benchpress. It was like a scene from a Fellini movie. This sunny disposition was everywhere - the hotel clerks, the people in shops and bakeries, even the old woman who asked me for a cigarette on the street.
"A Blend of Modernity and Tradition"
Cosenza is a baffling mixture of new and old. The two live so closely together that it is hard to believe they represent two stages in the history of Calabria. The old city is on the mountain while the new one sprawls on the opposite side of the city. Age-old bakeries and shops look onto luxury-good shops. Sometimes, however, Calabrian tradition is rather ominous, as the people of Duisenburg now know. PCI posters urged voters to support the Communists so as not to continue "dying from 'Ndranghetta" (the Calabrian mafia).