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Strategically located where the rugged Sila mountains slope down to meet the white sandy coastline, the Calabrian town of Rossano, in the province of Cosenza, welcomes visitors with its natural, historical and artistic heritage and timeless beauty.


History, art and culture of the “Byzantine Pearl” of Calabria

Presumably founded by the Oenotrians, it fell into the hands of the Romans, before passing under Byzantine, Norman and Swabian rule. 

In the Byzantine period, the city experienced great splendour. It became the strategic centre of the Byzantine Empire from 540 to 1059. In 951-952 was the seat of the “Stratego” (military and civil leader) and became the capital of the Byzantine possessions in Italy, known as the “Byzantine”, the “Ravenna of the South”, and the “Byzantine Pearl of Calabria”. A new seat of political, religious and artistic power, Rossano boasted a rich and stimulating environment that influenced contemporary society. It was the birthplace of popes including Zosimus, John VII, Zechariah and John XVI, as well as Saint Nilus, a monk and founder of splendid abbeys, most notably the famous Greek Abbey of Grottaferrata near Rome.


All-Italian art with references to Greece

This fertile substrate, also rich in craft workshops and art shops, led to a flourishing cultural and artistic renaissance, evidenced by the Cathedral of Maria Santissima Achiropita, of great architectural and artistic value. It was there in 1879 that a precious manuscript was found, which undoubtedly made its way to Rossano thanks to some monks who were fleeing from barbarian invasions or the iconoclastic fury that raged in the East between the 7th and 8th centuries: the Codex Purpureus Rossanensis, ancient Gospels recognised by UNESCO as documentary human heritage, kept in the Diocesan Museum. Fourteen beautiful miniatures decorate one of the oldest existing gospel books in the world: 188 sheets of parchment dyed purple (hence why they are also known as the Purple Codices), containing the entire Gospel of Matthew and almost all of Mark. It is a symbolic document of Calabria, a region that was able to bring together the Greek-Eastern and Latin-Western civilisations. 

Near Rossano is an important example of medieval Calabrian-Byzantine architecture: the Church of Santa Maria del Patire (or Patirion), with its stunning floor mosaic.

Guarding the gentle sandy coastline is the Norman Tower of Sant’Angelo, which, with its innovative defensive solutions, provided protection against attacks from the sea. Its star-shaped layout with four diamond-pointed bastions could also withstand sieges thanks to the well, which crossed the entire tower vertically and ensured a water supply to all floors. Today, exhibitions, conferences and theatrical performances breathe new life into its walls. 


Between sweet and bitter tastes: the famous Amarelli Liquorice and its museum

Ranging from the rugged mountains to the sea, Rossano offers numerous opportunities to enjoy a holiday in contact with nature: hiking, biking and trekking itineraries allow visitors to immerse themselves in the great variety of landscapes of the Sila National Park or the Pollino National Park.

The unique microclimate of the area has fostered the cultivation and production of the famous Amarelli Liquorice, exported throughout Europe and the world. 

The Giorgio Amarelli Liquorice Museum displays tools and utensils used to process the liquorice root from which this delicious treat is obtained: clothes, objects and manuscripts tell the story of a family that, for around four centuries, used the roots of the liquorice plants that grow wild on the Ionian coast. The entire late-18th-century complex, with its museum centre and Auditorium, is today the “warm”, beating heart of cultural life.


An embrace of aromas and flavours

While the most renowned product of this area is liquorice, the vast and unique territory also boasts various other products, such as white olive oil, once used for sacred rituals.

This area, which has always been a crossroads of cultures, is home to countless products that enhance the traditional cuisine with aromas that speak of the land, sea, sun, east and west ...making you feel the embrace of the Mediterranean.


87067 Rossano CS, Italia

Call 0983529408 Website

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