Diamante, Cosenza - Panoramic view
It is one of the most highly populated provinces of Italy and the eighth for extension. With its 228 kilometres of coast, the province of Cosenza occupies the 44,1% of the surface of Calabria, basically the whole central and northern part of the region.
Calabria's landscape is very unique, characterized by mountains and hills. It goes from the Ionian Coast in the East to the Tyrrhenian shores of the West, from the massif of the Pollino in the North, to the plateau of the great Sila. There are also plains, like the one of Sibari, and big valleys, as for example in Crati. Hilly areas slope down to the North and to the East of the Sila Greca. Everything is characterized by great variety, even from coast to coast and on every massif. The visitor remains disoriented and fascinated at the same time.
The province hosts eight mountain communities: Greca/Destra Crati, Alto Ionio, Pollino, Alto Tirreno/Appennino Paolano, Savuto, Delle Valli/Media Valle Crati, Silana and Media Valle Crati/Serre Cosentine.
The territory of Cosenza, as the rest of Calabria, exhibits signs of the historic transitions since the prehistoric period. On the coast there are still Neolithic sites attesting to human presence. The water flows have been important travel routes since the Magna Graecia and Roman periods. In the Middle Ages this land was conquered by the Byzantines, who brought benefits to the economy of the territory with the introduction of new agricultural techniques, sericultural production, and the promotion of social aggregation. The results are still present in the elegant and refined architecture, as well as those of the Normans, the Angevins, the Aragonese and the Spaniards, who all left their traces in the following centuries.
Cosenza, known as the City of the Bruzi, is one of the most ancient cities of Calabria and is situated on seven hills in the valley of Crati, where it meets the Busento. Due to its cultural past, it was known as the Athens of Italy and today it houses the largest university campus of the nation.
The old city is characterized by steep and narrow alleys and during the last years it is experiencing a renewed vibrancy. The historic centre is one of the most beautiful and ancient of Italy: for the monumental buildings, the manor houses, the urban plan, and the labyrinth of streets around the old buildings and churches.
The cultural activity of the city is developed thanks to the theatre events held in locations like the traditional theatre A. Rendano, the historical Cinemateatro Italia and the Teatro Stabile d’Innovazione of Calabria. The Accademia Cosentina promotes culture, artists and scientists.
The Brettii Museum, officially opened in 2009 in the 15th-Century monumental complex of S. Agostino, represents the cultural center of the city. The Museum of the Rimembranze and the Open-Air Museum Bilotti should be mentioned, too.
Rocca Imperiale overlooks the Ionian Sea, and borders with Basilicata. The inhabited area is dominated by a Fortress, built by Frederick II.
Rende is an ancient roman settlement between the streams of Emoli and Surdo, subsequently developed in the Crati valley; here the Normans constructed the castle and surrounding walls. Corigliano Calabro dates to medieval times, and is dominated by an imposing castle. The ancient district of Ognissanti developed as a stairway upon a hill, characterised by its narrow and suggestive streets.
In Rossano, the Museum of the Liquorice Giorgio Amarelli and the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art deserve a visit, while in Praia a Mare the Museo Comunale shows woks of contemporary artists. Mormanno, on the other hand, still bears traces of its Lombard foundations, perched as a castle on a rocky buttress.
The variety of the landscapes here makes the territory of Cosenza the ideal place for long trekking excursions. The main feature of the fauna is the wolf, who lives on the woody plateau outside the city and is still the symbol for Cosenza.
The trekking routes will lead you to the discovery of small churches and wonderful landscapes that you can admire from charming wooden bridges. The flat, hilly areas are usually used for horse riding. Photography enthusiasts will draw plenty of inspiration to take pictures. During wintertime, organized snowshoe excursions in the mountains are popular, while ski establishments are to be found in the highest areas of the Sila.
The National Park of Pollino offers opportunities to practice rafting and canoeing, especially on the river Lao, among canyons and gorges. During recent years, Nordic walking has become more widespread, as it is a gentle sport suitable for everybody. Canyoning, on the other hand, may be practiced climbing up the Iannello stream, a tributary of the river Lao characterized by many waterfalls. During the excursions, guides provide the rope for rock climbing.
Water parks can be found along the coast, like Odissea 2000, in Zolfara, near Rossano. In any case, the Riviera is well equipped for water sports, from wind surfing to water skiing, as well as for beach volleyball and five-a-side football. Inland, many fairs and festivals offer opportunities to taste typical dishes and discover local traditions.
The culinary specialties of the Province of Cosenza are based on its genuine and simple products. The cuddrurieddri are salted doughnuts prepared for the Immacolata Feast and during the Christmas period. The turididdri are fried Christmas pastries covered with figs and honey, while the scaliddre are sugar-glazed.
The first course offers the pitta 'mpigliata, fresh fusilli, pasta with potatoes (tijeddra), fried potatoes and pipareddre (peppers), broccoli and sausages, lagane and ciciari (thick tagliatelle and chickpeas). Not to forget, the fresh pasta with mushrooms from the Sila. Among the fish dishes, the most famous are fried cod and spaghetti with anchovies and fried breadcrumbs.
The mostaccioli are the typical pastries for the Feast of Saint Joseph, consisting of a focaccia bread made with honey or figs, mulled wine, flour and almonds, in a particular shape deriving from the ancient offerings to the pagan gods.
We also recommend the anise liqueur, one of the most appreciated of the area.
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