Calabria - Places to Visit - Cosenza
The town stands 238 m. above sea level at the confluence of the Busento and Croti rivers in an intermontane valley between the Sila and the coastal range of mountains.
Once a settlement of the Italic Bruzii, it submitted to Rome in 204 BC. According to tradition, Alaric King of the Visigoths died here in 410 AD. and is buried together with his treasure in the bed of the Busento.
After the fall of the Empire, Cosenza was ruled by the Goths, Byzantines and Lombards and, during the 10th century, raided by the Saracens.
In about the middle of the 11th century, it was conquered by the Normans and its history became that of the Kingdom of Sicily. It became part of Italy in 1860.
The town consists of an old quarter on the slopes of Pancrazio Hill on the right side of the Busento River, characterized by a picturesque warren of streets, and a modern area, built to a regular plan, on the other side.
The monuments include: the Duomo (Romanesque, 12th century), with Isabella d'Aragona's fine tomb, the church of S. Domenico (15th century with 18th century additions), the church of S. Francesco di Paola (16th century, with later additions), the church and monastery of S. Francesco d'Assisi (13th-15th century), the castle on the top of Pancrazio Hill, originally a 10th century construction.
The town's economy is still partly based on agricultural products from the surrounding countryside, for which it is an important market, though equally important are activities related to local administration and culture (University of Calabria).
Industry is not a major factor, and the few manufacturing units, generally on a small scale, are engaged in the building materials, textile, paper and wood processing sectors.
Events: Typical Calabrian Products Exhibition, Festa del costume calabrese (every two years, in spring), Premio Sila di letteratura e arte (art and literary award).
Famous People: Aulo Giano Parrasio (humanist, 1470-1521), Bernardino Telesio (philosopher, 1509-1588), Francesco Saverio Salfi (philosopher, 1759-1832), Giuseppe Spiriti (economist and scientist, 1757-1799).
Cultural Institutions: Accademia Cosentina, State Archives, Biblioteca Civica, Museo Civico, Museo dei Vigili Urbani, University of Calabria, Teatro `Rendano'.
In the Province: Castrovillari (agricultural and industrial centre, castle), S. Giovanni in Fiore (Badia Florense), Corigliano Calabro (Basilica of S. Maria del Patire), Praia a Mare (seaside resort), Lungro (Albanian colony), Altomonte (handmade ceramics), Amantea (chess game with fishermen in costume), Guardia Piemontese (Waldensian village, Franco-Provenal dialect).