Cosenza is a small city in the southern part of Italy and is located at the confluence of the Busento and the Crathis rivers. The population of the municipality is roughly around 70,000; however, the entire urban area is inhabited by over 260,000 people. Cosenza has a rich cultural and historic past; the Cosentian Academy in the city was one of the earliest academies in Europe which makes the city an important one in Italian history.
Attractions in Cosenza
Piazza Del Duomo
The church was originally built in the 6th century and has been rebuilt many times since, last in the 18th century. The Tomb of Isabella of Aragon from 1271 is located inside the church as well a copy of the Madonna Del Pilario of the 13th century.
Piazza Frederico II
This ancient castle, or what is left of it, is the best place to visit in Cosenza to get a good view of the city as well as the mountains surrounding it. The castle was first built by the Normans and was ruined during one of the many earthquakes in the region.
Piazza XV Marzo
This beautiful Piazza is the center point of the city and one of the most beautiful sights in town. In the center of the Piazza is a huge statue of the philosopher Bernardino Telesio and all around the Piazza are historical and architecturally important buildings and landmarks.
Church of San Domenico
The church was originally founded in 1448 and has a combination of renaissance and medieval elements in its architecture. The rose window surrounded by 16 columns is the most attractive feature of the church; the interiors are decorated with several stunning works of art by important artists.
The castle was originally built around 1000 AD by the Saracens and was later restored in the year 1231. The castle is open to visitors who want to explore this architectural marvel; there are several interesting elements in the castle like the original brackets and the arches used throughout the castle which are a good example of the architecture of Southern Italy’s medieval golden age.
Arenella is an area that lies on the right bank of the River Crati. The area has several important ancient landmarks and buildings, the old iron structure here used to be where the old market used to reside. It is now used as a venue for weekly flea market. There are also several churches in the area as well as the national museum.
Open Air Museum
The open air museum is located in the modern part of the city. The museum has placed several modern art sculptures in the street for the benefit of the tourists and the locals passing by and most of the sculptures have been donated by an Italian American entrepreneur. The museum has several interesting art pieces, a must visit location for art lovers.
San Fransesco di Paola
The church and monastery of Saint Fransesco di Paola is located in the Arenella area in the city. The location has several noteworthy art pieces; it has a single nave, an ancient tomb and two 18th century paintings. The church also has a wooden sculpture as well as the remains of frescoes that date back to 1550. The serene atmosphere and the priceless artwork at the church are what makes this church a sight not to be missed for visitors interested in history and art.
Getting to Cosenza
Cosenza can be easily travelled to by bus or train from Rome and Milan as well as the other smaller towns in the region like La Silla. You could also travel to Cosenza by car; it is connected by SS107 to the other towns along the coast. The main train station, Nuova, has several trains that connect Cosenza to the neighboring cities in the area.
Moving Around the City
Within the city the main public transport system that is used by the locals as well as the tourists are the public buses that are operated by Amaco. Visitors can also opt to travel by local train service, Ferrovie della Calabria, to the spots within the city as well as to the smaller towns around Cosenza.
Staying and Accommodation
Cosenza has various hotels and hostels that are suited for all budget levels. Most of the hotels and “pensioni” in the city are all simple and date back to several years and offer the comfort of the home in true Italian style. There are various apartments available to rent as well, for those who plan to stay a little longer in the city.
Eating Out in Cosenza
Cosenza has various restaurants that serve outdoors as well as indoors. The restaurants here serve mainly dishes made from local produce and fresh seafood. Most of the restaurants serve fresh home made pasta and simple fare for which the region is so renowned. The restaurants in Cosenza generally have a casual air about them and the eating experience is that of eating in a family kitchen.
Shopping in Cosenza
One of the best places to shop in Cosenza is Corso Mazzini; it has almost everything that you would want when you are on a shopping expedition. Corso Mazzini is basically a pedestrian street that is lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and currency exchange offices. The shops located here sell a variety of products, both branded as well as locally made. The open air museum is also located here, so you could gaze at the modern art sculptures placed on the road while you shop.
By Irene Tischenko