With so much food and frivolity around Cosenza, Calabria in southern Italy, this is my Part 3!
With that said, you can be assured of warm hospitality and a real Italian experience, when you visit this area.
For a city of around 100,000, it is still very friendly in Cosenza, which hosts loads of events of which most are free.
My previous posts on this same topic: Food and frivolity around Cosenza, Calabria and Food and frivolity around Cosenza, Calabria: Part 2.
Tip: This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
Free concert in Piazza Bilotti
This Piazza is a great gathering place but also a space for children to kick footballs around, rollerblading, cycling or just strolling around, especially during the evening.
Decided to venture out tonight for a free concert in the Piazza, which starts after 22:00 hrs.
Corso Mazzini is thick with people tonight as I weasel my way through the crowds to Bilotti – just like New Year’s Eve.
Free concerts always draw massive crowds in the city. Francesco Gabbani and his band tonight proved extremely popular with half of Calabria here!
Old Town free piano concert
Some of you may have heard of Michael Nyman – famous English Composer and Pianist from numerous movie soundtracks he has written, but arguably, the most famous is The Piano (1993). Tonight Mr Nyman is playing at an open-air concert in the Old town.
Arriving a little earlier, we started walking up the old cobbled road that leads through the Old Town. Passing many small Piazza’s along the way, which had some sort of live band playing. It’s a balmy summer’s eve and Cosenza is definitely making an effort to draw people out of their homes, by enticing locals into the city from surrounding areas. Free music and concerts surely does this?
Arriving at the Piazza XV Marzo, finding a seat, we settled in, and of course, Mr Nyman started late. Although I haven’t seen this pianist perform live, I have to say that this perhaps was not one of his better nights.
Dropping his sheet music when first seated, set the scene.
A few mistakes were made and he didn’t seem to play his instrument with any passion, but more mechanically playing the notes. Regardless, it is lovely to sit out under the southern Italian sky during this warm evening and enjoy this moment with friends.
Following the concert and a walk back down through the still lively Old Town at around midnight, a drink at the Mary Jane Pub to relax was in order. Great night!
Lunch at Ristorante Calabria Bella
After watching a good friend at her excellent PHD presentation, the next stop is lunch at the Ristorante Calabria Bella, near the Duomo in the Old Town.
I cannot fault this restaurant for it’s excellent quality of food and service. The typical Calabrese meals were divine and not stingy. Feasting for several hours in true Italian fashion, I was in a food coma, and it was ‘nil by mouth’ (water an exception) until breakfast the following morning!
Staff arrived with Rosé wine, water, and snacks on the table whilst people arrived. As soon as everyone was seated the Antipasto arrived with a selection of Salami, cheese, pickled mushrooms and vegetables, and much more. The wine kept flowing.
Primi plate arrived with two types of pasta neatly divided on the large plate. One side was scrumptious Strigoli al Fungi, Pesto, with Parmigiano and the other side adorned with Fusilli a la Bolognese – both were amazingly delicious.
The Secondi plate arrived and is also divine. One side has a backed chicken roll and the other the most tender meat in a Calabrese sauce, accompanied with Patate Rosolate al forno (wonderful baked potatoes) and some greens, at which point I was going to explode!
Everyone was then served a plate of cold fresh fruit of many types, followed by a heavenly chocolate cake to celebrate, Espresso, and a glass of liqueur. Following each course, staff arrived with a serving plate piled with food, just to see whether anybody wanted more…so much food!
I believe that the custom here is if you are invited out, then the person doing the inviting picks up the bill. This would never work in Australia, as I’d need a small mortgage each time.
More food in Cosenza
Food options in Cosenza are never-ending, as of course, not only do Italians love their food, but I also do – my waist is a testament! And with Supermarkets that offer slabs of cheese and other delicacies at quite cheap prices, isn’t it any wonder?
For a special treat, when in Italy, you must try the Crema di Caffè. This refreshing, creamy (loaded with calories), smooth ice-cream-like deliciousness in a cup, is amazing. The closest food I can compare this to is a coffee Gelato that you can drink or spoon out like a mousse.
One of the many stops along Corso Mazzini in Cosenza, which serves good Gelato (€2+) with many flavours to choose from and great friendly service.
This Gelataria is always crowded, so it must be pretty special.
La Tagliere Pizzaria Ristorante
Tucked away down a little side lane (Via Idria, 6), you’ll bump into this very rowdy but excellent non-pretentious restaurant. I think it may be family-run.
With checkered table cloths on tables that are so close you can comfortable reach over and sneak a pizza of another table while you wait, don’t expect a quiet romantic dinner.
The pizzas are excellent, starting from €5 and the Tagliere (wooden board full of delicious Antipasti) at €10 is scrumptious.
Le Vele Caffè
Try a gourmet Gelato (€1.50+) in this bright and airy Caffè.
Different and unique Gelato flavours to most Gelato bars in Cosenza are offered, such as tantalising and refreshing caramalised fig. Yoghurt, Caffè, and Aperitivi are also on the Caffè’s menu. Very friendly staff.
If you’re fanging for some regular toast as it’s not common here in the south, then stop by Toast-It, Via Brenta 11, for some delicious filled massive toast sandwiches.
Great service from staff, and various beverages are also available.
In pursuit of the ever-illusive Asian ingredients in Calabria (I know sad with all this wonderful food), a friend advised that if this supermarket on Via Rivocati, 136 didn’t have the items, then nowhere in Cosenza would…so it’s definitely worth a visit, right?
Well, sort of…I found a few more Asian ingredients but nothing worthy of buying.
Apart from more gourmet items, this supermarket is more expensive than others that I mentioned in my previous Cosenza post. Although…delicious Tortes are sold and the supermarket also hosts a whole room dedicated to wine!
Shops galore continued
The numerous and diverse shops along the pedestrian precinct Corso Mazzini, seems never-ending, with more opening up each month.
I haven’t listed any clothes shops in this post as there are just too many.
You will probably also need some toiletry basics at some point during your travels, so Splendidi e Splendidi is the shop.
Splendidi e Splendenti
Along Via P Rossi, 35/37, this shop is stocked with loads of well-priced toiletries, face creams, beauty products, and cleaning products for your home. A good alternative to the larger supermarkets if you’re in this area.
There is more to write on Cosenza’s food and frivolity in the future, so, stay tuned for the next chapter.
A couple more food shots as I experiment with different dishes…