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Agritourism in the Land of Myth

The Province of Cosenza and its Attractions
 
Agritourism in the Land of Myth

If you tell your friends that this year you're going to spend your holidays in Calabria they'll probably say: Great choice, the sea's wonderful!"

Well, how about surprising them by saying: "Oh, really? Is there also the sea?"

For though it's no surprise that Calabria is a popular destination for summer tourism because of its magnificent coast, it has much more to offer than a simple beach holiday.

The origins of the area are rooted in myths that evoke lasting historical memories. Not only rich in traditions and culture, it's also blessed with a delightful climate and enhanced by beautiful landscapes.

This week we'll take you on a trip through the province of Cosenza, suggesting a relaxing holiday at an agritourism, where you'll be free to spend your time as you choose, discovering an area that will definitely not be a disappointment.

The beauty of Cosenza lies in the harmonious bond between its present and glorious past, which is the source and impetus for the innovative projects currently taking place in the city.

The historic centre retains monumental traces of the Bruttii population, who chose Cosenza as their capital in the 4th century BC, and the numerous noble palazzi, squares, churches and convents testify to the town's former power and splendour. The Cathedral from 1100, a Unesco World Heritage site, and the Swabian castle, an imposing residence of Emperor Frederick II, highlight the importance of the city even in later periods. A tasty snack in Cosenza is likely to include the delicious local capicollo (cured neck or shoulder of pork) and the famous Calabrian brawn, accompanied by a typical wheat biscuit.

With its important historical role behind it and facing a future full of opportunities, Cosenza today is involved in significant urbanisation and development projects designed to make it an important centre for tourism.

But let's now move on and visit some interesting places in the province, beginning with Diamante.

Even the name of this beautiful town evokes its precious qualities. Eight kilometres of uninterrupted coastline display a sea of subtly changing colours, while inland the view is embellished with splendid murals made by artists of international fame. The Riviera dei Cedri in a setting of lush vegetation frames Diamante like a jewel, presenting nature lovers with picturesque country paths, such the route from the Corvino stream to the cave of St. Ciriaco where, according to tradition, this saint from Buonvicino retired to pray.

But what would Calabria be without the famous chilli pepper?  Diamante is the right place to taste it in all kinds of dishes because the town is home to the Italian Academy of the Chilli Pepper which organises a festival every September dedicated to the '"red gold", serving pitticelle di rosamarina (fried fish and chilli fritters), delicious salted anchovies and the not-to-be-missed citron granita.

It would be hard to leave Diamante if we didn't have our next stop, Francavilla Marittima, to look forward to. Here we suggest you visit the Museum of Rural Life with its faithful reconstruction of a country cottage where you can see a display of local antique tools, household objects and utensils that look as if they're just about to be put to use.

Only eleven kilometres away lies the charming town of Cerchiara di Calabria, ideal for a relaxing stop to enjoy the sulphurous waters of the Grotto of the Nymphs and the thermal mud known for its therapeutic properties. While in Cerchiara, don't forget to try the famous bread, baked in wood-burning ovens into loaves with a hump on top.

Staying at an agritourism is definitely the most authentic way to experience the province of Cosenza, for then, like the gorgeous plumage of a peacock, it displays every shade and nuance of its range of attractions: art, culture, nature and gastronomy, so that when you return from your holiday here, you can tell your friends that "Yes, there was also the sea…"

 

Did you know that…?

In Calabria, chilli peppers are a deep-rooted passion. It's true that this special food has many beneficial properties, among them its powers as an excellent digestivo: in fact, in the province of Cosenza they prepare a delicious liqueur made with chilli peppers and citron. The chilli pepper is also a powerful antioxidant, and in China it's used as an antidepressant. It certainly lends itself to many recipes in the kitchen, and even in cosmetics as a revitalizing agent for the skin. But the Italian Chilli Pepper Academy, whose honorary members include many celebrities, such as Giorgio Albertazzi, Valeria Marini, Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Licia Colò, has raised the passion for chilli pepper almost to cult status, even creating an online bulletin board where fans can exchange different types of chilli. In addition to this, there is even a Chilli Museum in Maierà, in the province of Cosenza. Guess what the logo is: a capital surmounted by… a large red chilli pepper, of course!

Michela Bilotta


 

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