Around Cosenza with La Famiglia

October, 2017

What better way to experience frequented places around Cosenza and Parenti from a different perspective, than with family?

Cosenza, Calabria, ItalyVery excited to have my relatives arrive from Australia to Southern Italy, even if it is just for a fleeting three nights.

Around Cosenza

Sometimes, it’s easy to become complacent with the beauty that surrounds us or the incredible history at our immediate doorstep – just because we see the same things each day, hour after hour.

It takes a fresh set of eyes to make you realise or just to reinforce what you may have forgotten about the place where you live, or somewhere you frequent. It’s the special qualities of a place that we sometimes forget…

Although I’ve written many posts on Cosenza, there are many more to write yet. Having Lived in this wonderful city for a while now, I’m still experiencing many new things daily.

When friends or family visit Cosenza, I usually start with an introduction to the obligatory Italian coffee and pastry culture around the city. The coffee is the best I’ve tried so far, in the world – prove me wrong. This is followed by a delicious pizza and of course, a world-famous Gelato. These are just some of the absolute basic initiations to Calabria or to Italy.

Next on the list is Corso Mazzini as this main pedestrianised street is great for shopping or sipping an Espresso whilst people-watching.

Corso Mazzini, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Corso Mazzini Open Art Museum

Stroll the two-kilometre long paved street bursting with cafes, clothes shops, restaurants, an open-air museum displaying numerous sculptures…just to name a few highlights.

Giuseppe Gallo sculpture, Piazza Bilotti, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Piazza Bilotti Open Air museum: Twelve Warrior Philosophers by Giuseppe Gallo

Crossing the bridge that marks the confluence of two historical rivers, the Busento and the Crati, this cornerstone also divides the modern Cosenza with the old.

Old Town, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Historic Old Town

A long walk through the old town is a wonderful experience for the stunning architecture that envelops every corner you turn.

Old Town, Cosenza, Italy, Calabria
Another vista
Old Town, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Exploring the alleyways with friends and family

An ascent of the steep hill to The Castello Svevo, which was originally built on top of the ancient Rocca Brutia ruins by the Saracens around the year 1,000, is also a treat for visitors to Cosenza. The view overlooking the city from the castle is pretty special and provides any visitor with a great perspective, of the size of the new and old Cosenza.

Old Town, castle, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
View from the castle (Photo credit: Neil Lintern)

An introduction to an Aperitivo or Aperitif is also a must, which can be an Aperi Pranzo (lunch), Aperi Cena (dinner), or for whenever you wish to indulge. Throughout Italy, this is the culture of having a little tipple (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) prior to a meal, to stimulate the appetite.

Aperitivo, Cosenza, Italy, Calabria
Traditional Aperitivo at Apart

Parenti, Calabria, ItalyAnother visit to Parenti

With another visit to my cousin’s place at my father’s village of Parenti, I’m expecting a massive Italian lunch as proved during past visits. Typically, lunch takes several hours, especially as when relatives from Australia are visiting.

With miscommunication about expected times, therefore late, we raced out the door from Cosenza.

The all too familiar snakelike road climbing up the mountain to Parenti didn’t disappoint, and at times, saw one or two passengers a tad queasy.

Old Town, Parenti, Calabria, Italy
Parenti lanes

Arriving just before lunch but without too much time to spare, we still wanted to visit the place where my father grew up.

Old Town, Parenti, Calabria, Italy
Rooftop views

Seeing Timpone for the first time

I always thought that my father was born and raised in Parenti – never assume…

Whilst in Italy, I discovered that my father was actually raised a stone’s throw away from the small village of Parenti. Timpone is even a smaller village than Parenti; and so small that you can hardly call these few splattering of houses a village.

My cousin kindly offered to show us the stone cottage that my father and his family lived in before emigrating to Australia in the 1950s.

Parking the cars along the road in what seemed to be in the middle of nowhere, we piled out and followed my cousin up an overgrown hillside. Climbing higher amongst autumnal-coloured chestnut trees and yet up an even more overgrown path, glimpses of an aged stone cottage slowly appeared. This two-story once beautiful cottage is in disrepair and it’s sad to see this in such a sorry condition.

Timpone, Calabria, Italy
Stone decay (Photo credit: Emma Prowse)

Remains of the rustic outdoor kitchen still under cover is barely recognisable under the rotting timber, as is the front entrance, which is now missing a door. Roof debris is scattered throughout the bottom floor.

Timpone, Calabria, Italy
Internal ancient fireplace

The old chestnut wood staircase that my uncle built is still standing. Although some is rotting away after many years of exposure to extreme weather, it still has a rustic charm.

Timpone, Calabria, Italy
Chestnut wood staircase

Gingerly climbing to the top floor in case my foot went through a tread, this area is in worse condition than below. The caved in tiled roof has a massive gaping hole, which exposes both rooms to the elements. Apparently this cottage is over one hundred years’ old, which isn’t that old in Italian terms.

Walking around the cottage and down to where the animals were kept, I can picture vividly my father growing up in this part of the world. I have this vision in my mind as it’s very nostalgic visiting this beautiful part of Calabria.

Timpone, Calabria, Italy
Door less entrance (Photo credit: Emma Prowse)

The view of the surrounding mountains unfolds a wonderful rugged scenery. The crisp fresh air is a reminder of the winter snow, which is just around the corner.

This whole area makes me reflect on how tough it would have been growing up around the outskirts of a small village over ninety years’ ago, whilst also living here during the war years.

Stone cottage, Timpone, Calabria, Italy

Back to Parenti for another feast

Making our way back down the slippery hill without any casualties due to lack of appropriate footwear, we ventured to my cousins’ place for what was to be a 4-hour luncheon feast.

An amazing home grown and homemade delicious Calabrese cuisine kept arriving in true Calabrese style, before we finally called it a day in the mountains, and headed back to Cosenza.

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

Motor bike, Parenti, Calabria, Italy
Always time for a ride through the hills (Photo credit: Emma Prowse)



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41 responses to “Around Cosenza with La Famiglia”

  1. Roasted Romance Avatar

    One day I hope to see my grandparents land – and it’s in Italy! I love your photographs and congrats on the exhibit. Your photos are stunning- I simply stared at one for about 10 minutes just now.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Excellent! Where in Italy? If you’re in Cosenza, you must come and visit.
      Which photo? It makes me happy knowing that my photo stopped you for 10 minutes in our busy world. 🙂

      1. Roasted Romance Avatar

        It was on your galleries page. Let me go find which one. It was just a single lady – black and white.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Think I know which photo you mean, this one? Waiting – Laos

      3. Roasted Romance Avatar

        Yes that’s it exactly!! It is an absolutely amazing photo!

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you! With all my photos whether film or digital, I take the B&W ones in B&W and never convert from colour as many photographers do these days. 😉

        Not sure if you know the story behind this one? I was on the back of a motor scooter in Dong Khong island (Laos). Whilst whizzing past on the highway, I spotted this lady on her porch of her thatched hut. I wanted a candid shot so took photos of children close by before taking a few of this lady – think she is partially blind as she looked straight at me but more like looking through me.
        I had this one printed for my exhibition last month in 60cm x 90cm – even more powerful when large.

      5. Roasted Romance Avatar

        I totally understand the looking through you. It was like I could see her whole life (or imagined it in my mind) and I just wanted to hug her. You are so lucky that you get to do that!
        I absolutely love black and white film. I have most of the pictures of my boys in black and white at the house. I wish I could make a trip to see your exhibit – I bet it is absolutely breath taking!

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        The amazing thing was that I just caught a glimpse of her whilst whizzing past and I got my partner to stop the bike.
        I too love B&W film and still take this type of photo.
        Next time 🙂 Meanwhile, here’s the post on the whole exhibition if you haven’t seen it yet Image Earth Faces Photographic Exhibition: Cerisano, Italy

      7. Roasted Romance Avatar

        I absolutely loved it!!

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you. See you at the next one!

      9. Roasted Romance Avatar

        Fingers crossed!!

  2. Suzanne et Pierre Avatar

    Thanks for the tour. Lovely places. (Suzanne)

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Suzanne, glad you enjoyed the tour of around Cosenza – it was fun with family! 🙂

  3. Antonio Avatar

    a splendid reportage….congratulations!
    I see you love my Italy very much….
    have a nice day 🙂

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Antonio!
      I’m really enjoying living here a lot. 🙂

  4. inesephoto Avatar

    Amazing that the building survived. What a great trip to the past.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes but also sad to see the building in such a state. It really was very special to see the house, especially with my sister and her two. 🙂

      1. inesephoto Avatar

        Sad, of course. Would be so lovely if somebody still lived there. Another decade, and the nature will take over. I am still having dreams that I live in my grandparents house which was burned down decades ago.
        It is so cool that you can stay in Italy all this time, and have visitors 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Yes, but to get involved in this land is a bureaucratic nightmare, which I’m not prepared to start. Is there anything left at all of your grandparents house?

        I’ve had to jump through hoops with visas, etc., just to be allowed to stay here as an Australian. Il Sangue means nothing. Not sure if you’ve read my Citizenship saga? I have another chapter to write, which is incredulous in itself! 🙁

      3. inesephoto Avatar

        Yes I did read. Saga, no less.
        My daughter picked up a cast iron piece that used to decorate the entrance ( it was an old house). The fire happened at least a decade ago, and I have no idea to whom the land belongs these days.

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        The saga hasn’t ended. 😉

        That’s sad but probably nothing you can do unless you find out who owns the land. There’s so much heritage history that I’d like to discover, but it’s a slow step at a time here…

      5. inesephoto Avatar

        I would love to get back a little piece of my ancestors land, just to leave it free or do something beautiful with it.

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        What a wonderful thing to hang on to or to just pass it down the line one day, so that family can relate to their roots.

      7. inesephoto Avatar

        Yes, absolutely. With no economical gain or anything. I would love to have my grand parents land and beautiful forest, but I know there is no chance.

      8. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        That’s so sad Inese. 🙁

      9. inesephoto Avatar


  5. Aixa Avatar

    Nilla, you have been nominated for the LIEBSTER award 🥇 See the bottom of this post:🥇✨💫/

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hey, many thanks and much appreciated!
      It may be a few weeks until I get to this as I’m currently exhibiting Image Earth Faces Photographic Exhibition here in Calabria, Italy – tonight is the opening! 🙂

  6. the eternal traveller Avatar

    I like your idea of an introduction, with coffee, pizza and dessert! Even though your father’s home is derelict it’s beautiful. How lovely for you to visit.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      I think it’s important to introduce everyone to the Italian culture. When are you coming? 😉
      Yes, it is a very beautiful building and the surrounding area is amazing. I’d like to return soon…

      1. the eternal traveller Avatar

        Italy is definitely on our wish list, but it won’t be this year. Put me down for a pizza when we do get there. 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        There’s a lot to see here and no problem with the pizza, Espresso, and pastry initiation! 😉

  7. Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] Avatar

    I see some lovely smiling people 🙂 Loving the photos Nilla. Good luck again with the exhibition.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Suz, it’s been quite hectic with organising the exhibition, so not much blogging. 🙁

  8. Oh, the Places We See Avatar

    You definitely make me want to travel to these places. I’m fascinated by the 12 warrior sculpture as well as by the old buildings — something else I love! Best wishes for a successful, wonderful 2018!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Cool, that’s my intent with these posts.
      Cosenza certainly surprised me in many ways and it’s changed a lot since my fleeting moment here in 1985. It’s often the out of way and hard to get to places that prove the best travel destinations.

      Hope your 2018 is fantastic and congratulations on your 50 years together!

  9. Aixa Avatar

    Beautiful town but I don’t see anyone around, except for the night photo 😮 Someone had to make that delicious apertitvo, though 😋 Always stunning photos

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      That’s probably because we always go for food between 12:00-16:00 when the shops are closed (except Bars and some restaurants) and locals are at home eating Pranzo.
      Thank you for the feedback and I’ll try and get more people shots for you in my next posts. 😉

      1. Aixa Avatar

        I didn’t mean it as feedback. I love your photos

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thank you! I have an exhibition on near Cosenza from the 5th-15th January: Image Earth Faces Photographic Exhibition.

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