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


61 thoughts on “Cosenza Day Trip: Roseto Capo Spulico, Calabria

Add yours

  1. 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..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. 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.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    3. 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.. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    4. 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. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    5. (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.. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

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

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 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

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 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.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. 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. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. 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

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 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!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 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

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 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. 🙂


    1. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. 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.


    2. 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!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. 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!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    4. 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    5. 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. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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