What better way to experience frequented places around Cosenza and Parenti from a different perspective, than with family?
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.
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.
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.
A long walk through the old town is a wonderful experience for the stunning architecture that envelops every corner you turn.
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.
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.
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.
Arriving just before lunch but without too much time to spare, we still wanted to visit the place where my father grew up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.