Hidden Treasures of Cosenza
The history of Cosenza started a very long time ago, 900 BC when a nomad people called Itali, became to live there. After the Itali people, near the 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 B.C.) 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. It 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 Hannibale and go to the second Punic war with him. But in 202 BC the Romans won at Zama and Cosenza was destroyed and rebuilt by the Roman Consul Valerius Flaccus. The Romans stay here up to the 300 AD. First castle, the famous Rocca Brezia, was built on the top of the hill. In 410 Cosenza was stormed by the Visigoth king Alaric. 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”.