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If you plan on exploring the area surrounding Cosenza at all, a car is a must. Although driving within town can be stressful, the highways were fairly calm, but fairly curvy. We rented our car through Avis and got a Fiat Punto, which is a small economy car. A small nimble car is definitely recommended. If you want something bigger, they had a wide range of vehicles.
Be sure to get full insurance on your car as fender benders and door dings are very common.
Even though the staff spoke very little English and we didn't speak much Italian, they were still very friendly.
Directions: It is located beside a main roundabout, the Piazza Maestri del Lavaro d'Italia, which Via Pasquale Rossi runs through. It is on the northwest corner of the roundabout.
Written Jul 7, 2008
Phone: (39) 0984 408470
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”.
Written Aug 21, 2004
The old town is a beautiful place to wander about and it is fairly safe, so there's no problem for visitors to amble to small, winding streets at night. Be careful, however, of the city's dogs. I don't know if they are strays or simply dogs let out at night, but they are VERY territorial and are not at all friendly to visitors. I was cornered by four of them and was sure I would be attacked. I managed to back my way to safety, but it was not a friendly encounter.
Written Jun 7, 2007
City of Cosenza located only 10 km from the Tyrenian Sea and 35 km from the Sila mountains. The city could be a base to explore the surrounding area, particularly the Sila mountains (also called the Sila Massif). Another interesting option - Camigliatello, a classical alpine village, is the most convenient spot for exploring la Sila. It is considered one of Europe's most densely wooded areas, and the most famous woods are the Bosco di Fallistro, just outside of Camigliatello. Here you'll be able to admire the giganti della Sila, trees which are over 500 years old, six feet across and 130 feet tall.
In summer you'll find tons of opportunities for hiking (try the 3-mile climb up Mount Botte Donato for simultaneous views of the Ionian and Tyrhennian Seas); in winter, they say, this is one of Italy's best cross-country skiing areas (the 10-mile run from Monte Curcio to Mount Botte Donato is the most popular). If you're persistent or lucky, you may spot a gray wolf or a golden eagle. Be sure to sample some of the local freshwater fish and, in fall, the abundant wild mushrooms. And if there's time, take a side trip to Taverna, where the church of San Domenico houses seven paintings by Calabria's most famous artist, Mattia Preti.
Written Aug 21, 2004