Located in Calabria in southern Italy with a population of roughly 100,000, Cosenza is both a quaint provincial town and a fairly modernised, tourist-friendly spot.

Once the ancient capital of Cosentia and associated with the Brutii tribe, the settlement was only absorbed into Rome in 204 BC, acting as a vital conduit for communications between Rome and Sicily. The subject of repeated invasions in the post-Empire period, the city was destroyed in the 10th century due to disputes over the town’s ownership between the Lombards and the Saracens. Cosenza would only truly re-established itself centuries later under the aegis of the Holy Roman Empire and, by the time of the Spanish takeover in the 16th century, Cosenza was a centre of Renaissance Humanism, with natives like the philosopher Bernardino Telesio. Passing from Spanish to Austrian and finally Bourbon hands between the 17th and 19th centuries, riots against the latter would prove an important launching pad for the Risorgimento, which finally liberated Cosenza in 1860.

Now loosely divided between the old town down to the River Crati and the modern town in the north, Cosenza is still a thoroughly captivating location, with plenty to see and do for visitors.


Unquestionably the most impressive architectural landmark in the town is the Duomo di Cosenza in the historic centre. Built in 1140, the original cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake later that century and quickly rebuilt. Renovated and augmented over the centuries, the current façade and interior represent a delightful mish-mash of Romanesque, Baroque and Gothic styles. Moreover, contained within are the highly impressive tomb of the 13th century French royal Regina Isabella d’Aragona and a replica of the 13th century Byzantine icon of the Madonna del Pilerio.

Other architectural sights in the town include the 15th century Church of San Domencio and the Church and Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi. Established between the 13th and 15th centuries after the original building was destroyed by an earthquake of 1148, the latter is especially remarkable for the 16th century Chapel of Santa Caterina found inside, which includes works by the 18th century Flemish painter Wilhelm Borremans.

Resting on top of the Pancrozio Hill, the Norman castle of Cosenza was largely developed in its current guise during the 15th century. Although the interior is now bare, the castle is worth a visit simply for the fabulous panoramic of the city and surrounding countryside.

Cosenza is also awash with fabulous galleries and museums. Particularly unique is the open-air Museo all’aperto Bilotti between the Corso Mazzini and the Piazza Bilotti. Alternatively, you can find the National Gallery (focusing on local and regional art) in the Palazzo Annone and the Civic Archaeological Museum in the new town.

The town plays host to a number of annual festivals, some with roots as far back as the 13th century. The most important of these is the Fiera di S. Giuseppe held in March, but the Wine Festival in October is also a delightful occasion.


The main shopping districts in the city can be found across the new town to the north of Cosenza.

An antiques market takes place in the city centre on the second Sunday of every month.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Considering Cosenza’s size, the town is rich with places to eat. Among the many pizzerias, try the Pizza Volante on the Via Popilia or La Castagna on the Via Capoderose. For more regional Calabrese cuisine, Da Armando on Via Monte Grappa and Tulipan on C. da Vadue di Carolei are both decent establishments. You can even find international cuisine like Chinese at Dragon d’Oro in Via Alimena or even something more familiar at the American Bar in Via Roma.

Cosenza also has a number of bars including the James Joyce Irish Pub in Via Cafarone. For somewhere to dance though, check out the Via Roma for the city’s main nightclubs.

However, check out the shows at the Teatro ‘A. Rendano’ on the Piazza XV Marzo if you want something different.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information OfficePiazza MatteottiEx Stazione FerroviariaCosenzaTel: +39 (0)984 236 01Web:

APT Tourist OfficeCorso G. Mazzini, 92/cCosenzaTel: +39 (0)984 274 85


The nearest international airport to Cosenza is Lamezia Terme International Airport, some 75 km away. Buses, trains and taxis can all be used to reach Cosenza itself.

Domestic and international connecting flights are available to limited destinations in the continent.

Ryanair(London-Stansted) use LTIA to and from British destinations.

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