Housesitting in Rogliano, Southern Italy

January – September 2017

With an invitation to housesit for a week in Southern Italy’s Rogliano, it’s a chance to see more of untouched and spectacular Calabria.

Calabria’s Sila National Park is home to sweeping hills in the gorgeous undulating Savuto Valley and the quaint village of Rogliano lies snugly surrounded by the valley.

Not many foreigners visit Calabria so you can escape the hoards and experience the warm Calabrese hospitality on your visit.

It also helps that when you have wonderful friends that live in Le Manche – only a mere couple of kilometres up a steep hill from Rogliano, which makes visiting Casa Maria, a highlight in anyone’s stay.

Delightful housesitting in Rogliano

More like a country resort or retreat, complete with a lovely pool, who wouldn’t stay and enjoy housesitting at Casa Maria?

As our friends are taking a break for a week in Sicily, we are staying at their beautiful home looking after their menagerie: 2 cats, 2 dogs, a pony, a peacock, chickens, rabbits, bunnies, and 2 goats.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Housesitting – home for a week

Apart from the chickens and rabbits, all the animals have names of course and are like children.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Another view, another season

After seeing the guys off in the morning, we are left to our own devices and hope like hell that we won’t lose any family members, whilst Under New Management.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Divine ever-evolving oil painting

Warned of his trick in advance, Rocky the older dog is feeling sorry for himself at being left behind. And so, feigns a limp (an old car injury) for a little while, before realising his attempt does not make a difference on the new management.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, dog
A sleeping Rocky

Sally, the younger dog, is an affection tart and doesn’t care who gives her loads of affection or food for that matter – it’s all the same to her, the little cherub.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, dog
Sally waiting for more cuddles…

All the family members have their own great and cheeky personalities, which we have grown to know and love over the week.

Bruno the miniature pony, is full of mischief when not being fed. Although during feeding time, nothing can stop him from his eating mission – and I can brush him without any problem, whilst he slowly munches away at his food. Although, I discovered rather alarmingly, that he is a frisky little devil in the afternoons and dusk…I won’t go into that little issue!

Pony, Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Bruno’s all-seeing eye

The house-sitting week passes much too quickly as we indulge in copious amounts of puppy and animal love not to mention exploring Rogliano.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
More animal love…

Many trips to Rogliano throughout this year to catch up with friends, continue on a wonderful steam train trip (Il Treno della Sila) through the Sila National Park, and a bus trip to the Amalfi Coast.

Loads of fun and a great way to see Italy. Not to mention the scrumptious food that’s either prepared for us at Casa Maria or enjoyed when venturing to Rogliano’s great and inexpensive restaurants.

Food in Santo Stefano

As Santo Stefano is only the next village over from Rogliano so not too far, decide to sample some of the delights also on offer in this tiny village.

Il Nuovo Cacciatore Ristorante e Pizzeria

On Via Nazionale, 15, lies this wonderful and loud large family restaurant. Don’t expect a quiet tête-à-tête romantic dinner here – it won’t happen.

The food is excellent and not over-priced with good pizza, amazing speciality meat dishes, and much more. Everything including the wine is made in-house using the best of local produce. Expect great service from the restaurant’s friendly staff.

When you think you’re too full even forgoing dessert, the owner insists we try his speciality sweet: Chestnuts drenched in a locally made rum liqueur. Enjoying the liqueur, the chestnuts are a little dry for me…still, it’s a lovely gesture and probably because we’re with our local friends.

Sadly, on this evening though, a set of Exorcist twins sat next to our table, and bent on screaming their lungs out – they wouldn’t let up. If I hadn’t been with our friends, I would have said something to the parents who were not controlling the tantrums.

Dolce Café

Just a quick trip to Santo Stefano on Via Nazionale, is the excellent Dolce Café, which serves wonderful freshly-made Zeppole (€1) and excellent coffee (€1+). Many more pastries and cakes are freshly made on the premise, for your delectation.

Only opened a few years, the décor is modern and the staff are great in this very busy café.

Getting there

The double-carriage train is scarcely available, which is a shame as this is quite new and fresh but seems to only run during festival times when patrons are many.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe

If you’re starting from Cosenza’s Central train station, then an old rickety graffiti-splattered train chugs slowly until you reach Rogliano.

Not a speedy diesel train, although, the half-hour journey travelling through beautiful mountainous countryside gives you plenty of time to absorb your surroundings. Lush green forests and deep valleys of the Savuto canvas stunning vistas.

Cosenza fades away in the distance…

Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, Rogliano
Leaving Cosenza

…and all that’s heard is the diesel’s engine and bogies churning away through the forest, which gives you time to ponder.

Rogliano, Cosenza, Calabria, italy
Valley and hills kissing the track

If you asked me 10 years ago whether I would see myself living in Italy, I probably would have laughed at you. As an Australian, it’s difficult to stay in Italy for more than 90 days in any 180-day period. Read about what I have been going through for a visa: Citizenship blues: The Italian Job

These are the kind of thoughts that cross my mind during this short train trip.

Travelling through the various seasons provides a wonderful ever-changing and colourful backdrop around every hill that’s turned…

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Passing villages

Tip: Trains from Cosenza run on 2 different timetables during the year. The changeover for summer is from July to September and typically, fewer trains are scheduled.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Rogliano’s train station


My grandmother was born in the village of Rogliano, so my roots belong here – similar to my father’s village Parenti, only a short 25-kilometre crazy bus ride into the mountains from Rogliano.

Rogliano boasts around 6,000 residents and although quaint, is bustling with many restaurants, coffee shops, museums, shops, and the gorgeous medieval Old Town. Check this article for more details on Rogliano.

Rogliano, Calabria, italy
Donato Morelli – participated in the Calabrian uprising of 1848

Returning to Cosenza

Southern Italy really is a region of extreme temperatures.

From experiencing the coldest winter Cosenza had in 72 years this January, to the hottest August on record for a very long time, Cosenza’s heatwave has me melting, especially after returning from Rogliano’s slightly cooler climes.

In August, the temperature here reminds me of SE Asia, albeit not quite as high in humidity, but this is climbing daily. August 2016 wasn’t this warm. Typically, Rogliano is a few degrees cooler, but even in this village, it’s also balmy this year.

The unusual number of bushfires this season have scarred the beautiful mountainous landscape, which I hope will recover with the coming rains.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on Italy at Image Earth Travel.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
The stunning vista from Casa Maria

34 responses to “Housesitting in Rogliano, Southern Italy”

  1. Kathy Perri Avatar
    Kathy Perri

    Hi, my grandfather came from Saliano which is a tiny mountain hamlet near Parenti. We were lucky enough to visit in 2019. I am working on getting more information and records from that area but it is so hard to get anything. I have been to the Archives in Cosenza, got some info but not enough. Any thoughts?

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Kathy
      Thank you for reaching out and yes, it’s very hard to get any information.
      I’m surprised the State Archives didn’t have a lot of information. I spoke with Tony there and he was super helpful. Did you read my article on the amazing restoration work in Cosenza’s State Archives?
      Another way is to visit in person the Comune of Saliano if there is one? My experience with the Comune in Parenti and Rogliano is that you really need to get someone that is willing to help, otherwise, forget it as it’s like beating your head against a brick wall. I’m not sure why the Comunes aren’t helpful as it’s also their job to provide people with information (Tony explicitly mentioned this).

      We may be related somehow as I remember growing up in Australia being around many Perris as cousins(?). My grandmother was born in Rogliano but lived in Saliano before getting married and moving to Timpone in the outskirts of Parenti.

      You could hire an agent to do the legwork to find documentation if this is what you need or are you tracing your family history for knowledge only?

      Let me know how you go.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for the re-blog!

  2. Carol Felice Avatar
    Carol Felice

    Hi, we’re visiting now and wonder if this train is still running? I can’t find any information about it anywhere.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, yes, this train runs all year but with reduced hours during the summer months – always hard to find out information in this part of Italy. I’ve found the Ferrovie della Calabria link with the timetable. Let me know how you go.

    2. Carol Boland-Felice Avatar
      Carol Boland-Felice

      Hi, Sorry to take so long to get back to this, but we did find the train when we were in Rogliano. We had to make our way back to San Stefano and ended up taking this train. It added to our adventure 🙂 Thank you for the post.

      1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Hi Carol, no problem at all and excellent you found your way – happy to help.
        Always great to go on a new adventure and hope you enjoyed Calabria. 🙂

  3. Aixa Avatar

    We are excited to visit southern Italy but we want to wait until we can get some vacation time in autumn to avoid those extreme temperatures you talk about. Your photos are always so beautiful and your posts so informative.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Autumn is a much better time to travel and cheaper for everything. Really, April-May then September-October are the best months here and in Italy I think.

      Thank you and glad you like my posts! 🙂

  4. natuurfreak Avatar

    Wat een prachtige reportage over dat dorpje in Italia.Heerlijke foto’s en informatie.Ik zou zo mijn valieqs pakken en vertrekken.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your kind feedback and glad my post made you feel like taking your bags and leaving for Rogliano! 🙂

  5. TheItalianGuru Avatar

    I have created a YouTube channel related to my Heritage and have also started blogging on WordPress. I would appreciate all of the help, advice, and followers that I can gather! Also, subscribe on WordPress and YouTube (click the bell icon for all notifications) to get free Italian lessons and to learn about culture, and other great things I can show you!

    Thank you. My name is Christopher, TheItalianGuru.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Christopher, thank you for stopping by and leaving me a comment.

      I’ve followed your blog and hope you’ll do the same with my blog.
      Good luck! Nilla

      1. TheItalianGuru Avatar

        Of course I will! 😄

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Many thanks! 🙂

  6. inesephoto Avatar

    I am in love with Southern Italy. I would settle there after I retire with no hesitation. Your family history trip is very encouraging – I have been hanging on your every word, and I can see myself walking through the old town and eating ll those divine pizzas. Thank you for posting your travel journal 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the lovely feedback Inese and hope that my posts encourage people to travel down this way.

      I need to get moving and finish all my 8 posts I have in Draft, as I have many more new ones to write yet! 🙂

  7. Patty Avatar

    Ah, Southern Italy…on my list to visit one day. After seeing your beautiful photographs, it’s moving up that list. Especially knowing, you are there 😉

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Very true, this region is really only popular with local tourists.

      Drove to Sicily last month and spent about 10 days in Siracusa but it was still busy with too many tourists for my liking. It seems that many foreign tourists are visiting Italy this year as a result of all the terrorism issues in other European countries, so you better visit soon. 😉

      1. Patty Avatar

        Thanks for the advice, dear Nilla.
        Living in Europe (Being Dutch (The Netherlands, and living in Germany for the last 4 years) I kinda know when to go… But, in a view weeks traveling to North-West Spain first 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You have an advantage as I thought that mid-September in Sicily would be quieter.
        Hope you have a wonderful trip!

  8. Cate Freeze Avatar
    Cate Freeze

    I particularly love your post as Keith and Maria a good friends. It is a lovely place to spend and I know that they are great hosts.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Cate!

      We’ve had many great times at Casa Maria and love returning – we popped in for a visit yesterday and also saw the beautiful Loredana (daughter).

  9. girleccentric Avatar

    I love the sculptures… The grape vine has to be my favorite.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for commenting Ndukwe!

      My photo of the grapevine sculpture isn’t that great, so I will have to return and take a better photo. 😉

  10. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    Great post! I love Rogliano and have spent a lot of time there because my dad’s town is nearby. As I was scanning the pics of the art on the Corso I thought to myself, I wonder if she took a pic of the grapevine? and then I saw it – it’s one of my favourites too!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Well, the next time we’ll have to meet in Rogliano.

      Yes, the grapevine sculpture is pretty special and I’m still amazed it only took 6 hours to make from start to finish (I’m told). 🙂

  11. Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] Avatar

    Nilla, love the vineyard photos and of course, the cute animal ones 🙂 Looks a very old part of southern Italy.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks Suz.

      It’s not a vineyard but vines that are scattered around our friend’s property. The grapes are deliciously wonderful!
      Yes, it is an old part of Italy and not on the tourist path, which is always a bonus.

      1. Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] Avatar

        Whoops, apologies Nilla, tired brain from walking up too many hills 🙂 Definitely a bonus being off the tourist path!!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Sounds like you’ve been having a great time – I need to walk up more hills! 😉

  12. irisgassenbauer Avatar

    Beautiful post!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for your kind feedback!

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