Cosenza Day Trip: Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria

Thinking of a day trip whilst in Cosenza? Then why not venture to intriguing Roseto Capo Spulico in Calabria…

Getting there

Just a warning if you don’t have your own transport it’s a challenge getting to Roseto Capo Spulico (mouthful, so I’ll use Roseto from now on) from Cosenza – especially outside of the July and August summer months.

Roseto Cap Spulito, Calabria, Italy, EuropeBleary eyed and wanting an adventure, today I wait at 06:15hrs for the 06:45hrs Saj bus. The Cosenza Autostazione information booth advises this is the time the first bus leaves.

This time comes and goes, but the scheduled bus doesn’t arrive. Another bus arrives a little later.

The driver advises that a 06:45 bus doesn’t exist for Roseto and either I take this bus and change at Trebisacce or wait until 10:00hrs for a direct bus. I don’t have data on my phone so can’t check any map.

I take his bus not knowing if I’m going to get to my destination today.

Magical mystery tour

Around 3.5 hours later crossing from Calabria’s west to east coast and 2 bus changes, I finally arrive. Typically, this journey only takes 1.5-hours from Cosenza.

Today I change buses at Trebisacce and again in the small seaside town of Marina di Amendolara before arriving in Marina di Roseto Capo Spulico.

As with all of Calabria, you have to know what bus line services the exact area. The problem is trying not only to find out the company but when you finally find the company, you can’t find any scheduled information.

Marina di Amendolara

The connecting bus from Trebisacce drops you off close to the train station at Marina di Amendolara.

Apart from a few Bars, market stalls, and the train station along this strip of busy road, I don’t see much of interest but then, I’m just waiting for my next bus.

Marina di Roseto Capo Spulico

A bus arrives and after 10 minutes, drops me off at what seems like in the middle of nowhere along the road in Marina di Roseto Capo Spulico.

Walking along the busy highway I don’t see any buses or taxis along this 500-metre stretch.

Tropea onions, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Passing a couple of bars and produce shops…

Chillies, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

…head down to the sea and the castle’s sign is on the right – it’s around a kilometre or so walk to the castle.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Eventually, you pass a solitary rock – ‘anvil stone’ – in the crystal waters of the Ionian shoreline. This unusual rock is renown locally as the ‘mushroom of the castle’ because of its shape.

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

From this rock, it’s not far until you start to ascend to the impressive Castrum Petrae Roseti (castle) straddled on the cliff face of the Promontory of Cardone.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe
Head to the castle’s winding road but be careful of any cars as there isn’t a footpath.

Tempted to hitch to the castle, I decide to walk instead as it’s such a lovely warm day.

Castle, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Stop off to absorb the dramatic expansive views as you ascend finally…

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

…to the castle’s impressive aged gate.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

The small seating area outside the gate is a great spot to catch your breath or to frame a shot before entering.

Castrum Petrae Roseti

Once in the gate of “Castle of the Stone of Roseto” you can wander the small castle’s grounds for free. If you wish to enter the castle, then purchase your ticket (€5 – a guide costs extra) at the castle’s cafe.

A little history

Founded on San Vitale da Castronuovo’s monastery Petrae Roseti from the 10th century, the castle dates back to the 11th century and built during the Norman period – then re-built in the 13th century by Emperor and King of Sicily: Frederick II of Swabia.

Defending the Cosonian’s high Ionian coast, this strategic castle marked the border between the County of Sicily Robert Guiscard’s lands and his brother Ruggero II.

Ruggero was father of Costanza d’Altavilla – Kingdom of Sicily’s heir and mother of Frederick II Hoheustaufen. You’ll understand how all of this ties in later.

During the 13th century and not far from the castle the small stone village of Roseto was perched on another hill – known today as Roseto Capo Spulico.

Vistas up to the village from the castle’s tower remind me of the long walk ahead – there are no buses or taxis along this road.

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

The castle’s internal chambers are well-preserved and retain a glimpse into a past life with still intact period paintings, decor, and heavy woodwork.

Cold etched stone walls, floors, and ceilings, shape grand halls…

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

…and intimate corners, allowing the mind to wander – today I’m the only visitor.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

The becalmed Ionian Sea is visible from most windows.

This ancient fortification has absorbed more captivating history during centuries of its existence.

Castrum Petrae Roseti’s Templars

Sprinkled around the castle are Lilies and the Rose emblems, denoting the Temple of the Order.

Already a Temple of the Order during the 13th century, Frederick II from the Knights Templar ordered the castle’s return as retribution for the Order’s betrayal during the 6th crusade to the Holy Land.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Recent studies indicate that the Holy Shroud would have been kept at the castle.

Roseto Capo Spulico

Following the visit to the castle it’s time for the long ascent to the village of Roseto Capo Spulico, some 3 kilometres away.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

The naming of Roseto (rose) was after the roses cultivated throughout rose gardens during the 10th century. Self-indulgent Rosetans used rose petals to fill pillows and mattresses on which to sleep – decadent luxury.

What to see?

Thick medieval stone walls embrace an authentic village, which sees you stepping back through the door of time and into the Old Town.

Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

The village is a pleasure to explore albeit deathly silent as just about every store is closed. It’s around lunch time and most shops won’t open again until late this afternoon.

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

In contrast to many opulent churches in Italy, the church of San Nicola di Bari is unadorned and modest.

Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Centro Storico (Old Town)

The serenity in the Old Town is wonderful for taking photos and absorbing the surrounds.

Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Antique stone carvings pop out from around a corner.

Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

The profound blue autumn sky backdrops whitewashed buildings and fluorescent pink bougainvillea petals.

Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Spotting a poem by Nicola Trebisacce inscribed on steps…

Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe
…I’ll try and translate so please correct me if I’ve missed the poem’s intent.

I love the star that is in front of me
tonight I catch it in my fist
Today it’s reflected on my chest
I decide, I want to dive
in the blue water of the sea (of its eyes)

Hidden timeworn arches enclose fragments of village life.

Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Vico degli Innamorati (Lovers Lane)

Claimed as the narrowest alley in Europe, when lovers kiss in this lane it brings the couple good luck.

Lovers Lane, Centro Storico, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

You can be forgiven for missing this very narrow path – I had to ask a local for directions.

Monumenti ai Caduti

If you have time, there is a monument to the fallen from WWI and WWII, which is placed so that it looks out across to the sea – a shame I didn’t see this today.


Roseto is renown for its wonderful cherries, extra-virgin olive oil, sausage, Soppressata (dry salami), and Pitta Liscia (rustic bread).

Young Twins

As one of only two bars open right now: “you’re too late, summer is over and we’re in winter now” – but it’s only September – I venture into this quaint tiny bar on via Niccoló Converti.

Chatting to the friendly owner, his mother, and other locals, the mother is eager for me to try many traditional local delicacies. Ordering a Spritz and ciabatta, which is made from the Pitta Liscia, I’m also handed a bowl of salami and snacks.

The baker arrives with a couple of different freshly-baked Pitta Liscia. The vivacious Calabrese mother hands me a large slice stuffed with anchovies but also wants me to try another type – I’m heavy with bread and can’t eat another thing.

I’m thinking of the long walk back when the older chap previously drinking in the bar returns and advises he organised a lift back to the bus stop if I wanted to leave soon. How very kind of this gentleman. Spending a lovely time here teaching a couple of locals about Australia, it’s time to catch my lift.

Is Roseto worth the hassle?

Definitely as the views, castle, old town, and people are fabulous.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

I would like to return to Roseto as it feels as if I’ve been on buses most of the day and not really had a chance to explore everything. Life is so much easier with your own car, as surprisingly for a tourist destination buses are woeful.

If you decide to take the plunge and travel by bus from Cosenza outside of July and August, then expect long delays, sporadic bus hours, no public transport information, and long journeys to travel the 105 kilometres.

When to visit

As the summer in Roseto commences on the 21st of May, each day sees a continuation of cultural theatrical, musical, and artistic shows.

Leaving Roseto

The elderly gent kindly organised the lady from the Tabacchi in Roseto’s old town to take me to the Marina di Roseto’s bus stop, to catch the scheduled 14:10hrs bus to Cosenza. Everyone knows that this is the correct time so I trust the locals, which go out of their way to help you.

As 14:10hr comes and goes without a bus, I ask a local walking by about the Cosenza bus, and is kind enough to phone a couple of relatives to confirm bus times, as basically you are stranded.

The InterSaj scheduled bus from Marina arrives late at 15:30hrs, but at least it’s a direct trip to Cosenza.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more global images. More posts on Italy.

Castrum Petrae Roseti, Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria, Italy, Europe

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61 responses to “Cosenza Day Trip: Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria”

  1. Abirbhav Avatar

    Is Roseto worth the hassle?
    The answer I am sure, will be an astounding YES..!!
    I need to check up the History of Roseto. I think I am confusing the King with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.. Thanks though for shedding light on the History of the Castle.. 🙂
    I find this peculiar, but Italy has successfully preserved the charm of the medieval ages. Time seems to have stopped in Italy – nothing seems to have changed (architecturally and culturally) since c. 1000 CE..

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Of course that’s a yes but better if you can drive yourself! 😉

      Especially in the south and when you explore the more isolated villages in Calabria. English is rarely spoken in these villages and you may find some English in Cosenza, but it’s not common.

      1. Abirbhav Avatar

        Well, I don’t care if they speak English or not.. I can still communicate with them.. 😉
        As a traveler, the efforts have to be from my side if I want to explore the local traditional culture, food and enjoy the sights and scenes.. 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Exactly but not having locals that speak English can be too much for some travellers. I like this challenge. 😉

      3. Abirbhav Avatar

        I have been to Russia.. And in parts of India where English is not prevalent.. Even in Turin, I had difficulty in communicating in some places..
        But I have good, sorry, great memories over there interacting with people.. In Turin, the hotel owner was kind enough to even suggest me foods and places to visit.. and trust me, English wasn’t that necessary.. 🙂

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        I left a comment on your Russia post and imagine that would be difficult for not much English.
        I’ve found that Italians are very helpful. Of course there will always be people in a country that aren’t, but it’s on the whole that counts. 😉

      5. Abirbhav Avatar

        (I am so eager to hear your comment, but this “bug” of WP isn’t allowing me to do so)
        I agree with you. Italians are quite helpful, and it is the bigger picture which counts.. 😊

      6. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Strange as I’ve left a few now. I’m hoping it’s not a bug my end.
        Especially in the south as they don’t get many foreign tourists so are very hospitable.

  2. the italian language specialist Avatar
    the italian language specialist

    Wanna travel to Italy one day? Take a look on our blog. We are an Italian language school based in Florence and offer different kinds of courses. Don’t miss the chance for such an amazing and unforgettable experience!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi, I’ve been in Italy for the past 3 years and speak Italian, but thanks for the heads-up. 😉

      1. the italian language specialist Avatar
        the italian language specialist

        You’re welcome, in case we offer also other courses such as for example art course or cooking courses 🙂

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Hi I’m in Calabria, so a little far from me… 😉

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for re-blogging this post and hope that your readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing and sharing my experience. 🙂



    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your great feedback – very kind of you to leave me this comment!

  4. Emma & Nathan’s Travels Avatar

    Stunning views and architecture! And how deliciously blue is that sea 😍

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you!
      You guys will just have to visit and experience those delicious blues for yourselves now… 😉

  5. Lisa Dorenfest Avatar

    I see that your saga continues with Salvini introducing a law that extends the process to 4 years but your resolve will get you over the finish line.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha both sad and true – it doesn’t matter that I have Italian heritage either. He’s just allowed an already incompetent public service to be even more incompetent.

  6. gillmorris Avatar

    What a fabulous day trip. It’s kinda fun not knowing if your ride is going to get you there (had plenty of that in Thailand) but also annoying when you know it usually takes a short time. I love your photos Nilla, Roseto looks such a pretty little place to wander around. I know you like visiting places with no one there! Me too!! You get to appreciate it and enjoy it all by yourself ! 🙂 xx

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      It was a great day trip Gill but wanted to spend more time wandering the streets and speaking to locals.
      Thank you for the great feedback! 🙂 x

  7. Dave Ply Avatar

    Posts like these remind me once again how much history there is in the “old world” compared to the new. Here, a 200-year-old building would be a creeping relic, there, barely worth remarking about.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Great feedback Dave and yes, it’s still hard to fathom the age of some of these ancient buildings I visit in Italy – quite remarkable.
      What a shame, I just checked out your Peru photos and wanted to leave you a comment but can’t.

      1. Dave Ply Avatar

        Thanks for the heads up on the Peru page. I notice that I didn’t have comments enabled on most of the gallery pages, a lack I’ve now remedied.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        No problem. I always mention to a blogger if I see something amiss on their site. Although sometimes bloggers choose not to allow comments, so never know whether to mention this or not. 😉

  8. fakeflamenco Avatar

    Hola, I’m nominating you for the Mystery Blogger Award for your excellent blogging. Congratulations! Here are five questions for you as a nominee:

    What do you like most about blogging?
    What is your favorite genre to read? (mystery? ; )
    First drafts – pen or keyboard?
    What inspires your writing, art, or photography?
    Funny question: Lime jello or coconut flan for dessert?

    For more information on Okoto Enigma, the award’s creator, and the guidelines for the award, please check her or my website. Felicidades! Rebecca

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for the nomination Rebecca – much appreciated! I’ll try to get my responses out in the coming weeks. 🙂

  9. LaRena’s Corner Avatar

    Love all the information! The pictures are stunning. Someday I’ll get there but for now, I can live vicariously through this post.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for the great feedback and happy that you enjoyed my post.
      Hope that you get to see Italy in the future.

      1. LaRena’s Corner Avatar

        Someday soon I hope. I visited Italy when I was 16. Spent a summer in Bia-Domizia in a little bungalow. What wonderful memories I have!

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Thanks for the tip! I haven’t visited Baia Domizia but will definitely keep this in mind, not during the summer months as it’s probably flooded with tourists.

  10. Tara at Beach Expressions Avatar

    I have always wanted to visit Italy. It looks so beautiful here! Thank you for sharing so many amazing photos!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thanks for your comment Tara. Italy is beautiful and especially in the untouched south. ☺️

  11. annathehungarytraveler Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this list! It’ll be helpful when we travel to Italy soon!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      You’re very welcome Anna and hope you enjoy your time in Italy – I’ve written many posts that may help.

  12. karenincalabria Avatar

    Congratulations on getting back and forth all in one day! When I started reading the post, I thought you would surely have to stay overnight. You’ve proved it’s doable and you have a stack of wonderful photos to prove it!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Karen! I honestly thought at one point I would have to stay overnight, but wasn’t really prepared or had any clue of accommodation in Roseto.
      Just wish I had less time in buses to enjoy more time in the village…a good reason to return? 😉

  13. The Year I Touched My Toes Avatar

    Ten marks for perseverance in getting there. You had quite an adventure and a lot of hill walking, I am sure you walked off some of your delicious lunch. Lucky for the kind Italians and that you can speak the language. Love the random poem, is he a known poet? I did try a very quick search but didn’t find anything.
    Nilla how long have you been in Calabria now? Or are you writing this from somewhere else? Louise

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Ha, ha, call it being stubborn Louise – it always seems an adventure just getting to a destination as sadly, public transport isn’t the best in Calabria.

      I also did a search to try and find more information about Nicola before I published this post as I’d heard of his name as a Freedom Fighter, but couldn’t find anything. I will ask some friends and let you know.

      My Italian is nowhere near perfect but I can hold a conversation. To be honest, I’ve had nothing but kindness since arriving in Italy. The only issues I’ve had with nasty people is from the Comune and Questura – but these public servants are another breed!
      I’m in Italy. 🙂

  14. denisebushphoto Avatar

    Great post and photos! I love that castle and your interior shots!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Many thanks for your kind feedback Denise – it’s a stunning castle and one that is well-maintained.

  15. Suzanne Avatar

    Bellissimo X

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Grazie Suzanne! 🙂

  16. the eternal traveller Avatar

    What an adventurous day, and how lovely to have the village to yourself, even if it did mean some things were closed. Better than pushing through crowded streets.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Always an adventure and at least I know for next time!
      Absolutely agree and love visiting these small villages when there aren’t any crowds about…also means you get a warmer reception from locals than I imagine during the hectic summer months.

  17. francisashis Avatar

    Thanks a lot for sharing.

  18. francisashis Avatar

    Lovely post with awesome photographs. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your great feedback!

      1. francisashis Avatar

        You are most welcome.

  19. Valerie Cullers Avatar

    Another great post! I love the draws me to another place and time! What a great trip you had!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Valerie! Still many places to discover here in Calabria but would be so much easier with a car. 😉

      1. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        Yes….how about a Fiat 500 or the Cinque-Cento as they call it?

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Would be great but I can’t buy a car or have an Italian driver’s licence. I can only drive here on an International Driver’s Permit with my Australian licence, for which I’m currently waiting. Plus, I don’t have any parking here so need to park beneath a shopping centre down the road.
        We do hire a car when visitors come over though, which is wonderful.

      3. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        Love it! I had an International License when I lived there, but that was a long time ago. Have you considered becoming a dual citizen? You can, you know, since your family is Italian. It gives you a lot of perks when you are over there!

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Ha, ha you haven’t read my very long Citizenship Blues post… 🙁
        I’ve had to jump over very high hoops to stay in Italy.

      5. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        Will read it today!

      6. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        Just read it. My brothers and I thought about starting it in the US as we have all the documentation but we have to get to a city that has a consulate. We have not done that yet, but it sounded like it would be easier if it was taken care of here. Wow….your story is a bit disheartening to say the least!!!!

      7. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Hi Valerie, it’s quite a slog and had another setback but that will wait for another post – yours may be an easier ride. However, Salvini has introduced a new law that allows the process to take up to 4 years now (previously 2 years).

        There’s an excellent FaceBook group for Dual US/Italian Citizenship, which contains loads of great valuable and legal information for free regarding steps on applying. If you’re on FaceBook, this group is worth joining.

      8. Valerie Cullers Avatar

        Thanks for the info. My brothers and I were born before my mother was an American citizen so that helps us a lot. You have my prayers that the roadblocks will be removed!

      9. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You’re lucky and yours should be straightforward then via JS. I’ve also heard if you come to Italy and submit your documents, it’s much faster than applying from the US as Consulate appointments are booked years ahead depending on the State.

        Like you, my older sisters can apply for Citizenship through JS although they have no desire to live anywhere but Australia, so couldn’t be bothered going through all the expense, bureaucracy, and pain.

        Thank you. 🙂

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