Visiting Quaint Rogliano, Southern Italy

On the way to the spectacular Sila National Park and nestled amongst sweeping hills in the Savuto Valley, lies the quaint village of Rogliano in Calabria, Southern Italy.

Not frequented by many foreign tourists, you are assured of a genuine and warm Calabrese experience on your visit.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe

Getting there

If you’re lucky, you may get to travel on a double-carriage train. This is a much newer train and is in use for festivals and fairs such as the St Joseph’s fair in Cosenza, as these events draw many people to the city from neighbouring villages and the region.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, Europe

From Cosenza’s Central train station, the rickety old one-carriage graffiti-splattered train whisks you around the hills to Rogliano. Well, perhaps ‘whisk’ isn’t quite the right word and ‘chugs’ is better, as you travel on a diesel train.

The journey takes around half an hour, travelling through beautiful mountainous countryside and forests, whilst you steadily climb the surrounding deep valleys.

This little trip to the mountains is quite special and I never tire of the view. And, always reminisce as to what this area must have been like when my father and his family grew up here, shame I never asked many questions when he was alive.

Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Energy drink at Cosenza’s cafe

You never seem to enquire about your parent’s heritage while growing up. All that history and experience is lost forever once relatives are gone.

The more time I spend in Calabria and meet wonderful southern Italians, the more I want to learn about this region.

Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, Rogliano
Leaving Cosenza

Everywhere has its ups and downs, and I’m not saying this area is perfect, but it has been good to me so far and I’m enjoying living here.

Rogliano, Cosenza, Calabria, italy
Bird’s eye view through the hills

I am very lucky to travel through the various seasons, which provide a natural ever-changing and colourful backdrop – one more beautiful than the last.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy

Tip: Trains from Cosenza run on 2 different timetables during the year. The changeover for summer is from July to September and typically, fewer trains are scheduled.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Rogliano’s train station


Rogliano is the village where my grandmother was born, so I feel that my roots belong here…similar to my father’s village (Parenti), which is about a short 25-kilometre crazy bus ride into the mountains from Rogliano.

In these small isolated villages during my grandmother and father’s times, I’m told that babies were delivered in their homes and not in hospitals. Typically, this was done by a neighbour with some experience and a stand-in midwife. Lighting was scarce. Life was very basic and rustic.

Today, however, Rogliano boasts around 6,000 residents and although quaint, is bustling with many restaurants, coffee shops, museums, shops, and the medieval Old Town.

Rogliano, Calabria, italy
Donato Morelli – participated in the Calabrian uprising of 1848


Meandering the streets of Rogliano and stopping for an espresso or an Aperitivo is wonderfully relaxing. The people-watching is also great. I love Rogliano’s village feel and Old Town.

A little walk up the hill from the train station will have you strolling the Corso (main street) with many little authentic bakeries, delicatessens, bar and gelato stops.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
The Corso

Once you visit the Corso and especially if you stop and meet a few locals along the way, if and when you return, you will be remembered.

Even though my Italian is improving, I don’t really blend in with locals here or in Italy for that matter, especially in small villages.

Perhaps it’s because my grandmother was from this village and this spot resonates with me, but I can understand the locals speaking the dialect (mostly), which incidentally, is a little different to the Parenti dialect.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Ancient character

An open-air street art museum with life-size sculptures grace Rogliano’s Corso alleyways, which is worth taking in on your stroll, but more on that later.

The Old Town

Following a powerful earthquake, the original village was re-built to its current position, which dates back to medieval times (1300-1400). Still intact and not having suffered the wraths of historical wars, a visit to Rogliano’s Old Town is a must.

Rogliano, Calabria, italy
Aged lanes

Climbing up and down the narrow cobbled alleyways will leave you wanting to stop for a snack and rest.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
Keeping time after centuries in the Old Town

Open-air art

A leisurely stroll along the Corso’s narrow alleyways and it’s not long before you bump into twelve intriguing sculptures made from either wood, stone, or iron.

Rogliano, Calabria, italy
Wooden female

The sculptures were completed during six days and artists only had six hours to complete their piece as the work was ranked.

Rogliano, Calabria, italy
Another viewpoint

A few of the sculptures look as though they took more than six hours to complete.

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, sculpture
Stone sculpture – this local insisted that I take his photo
Rogliano, Calabria, Italy, sculpture
Wooden sculpture
Sculpture, Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
My favourite – intricate iron grapevine

Food in Rogliano

Spending loads of time in Rogliano goes hand-in-hand with sampling Rogliano’s culinary delights.

Although nothing beats our friend’s famous and scrumptious dishes made with loving hands and with true Italian food obsession. Including, picking fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden, wonderfully cooked and delivered straight onto the table.

Ristorante Pizzeria Bella Rogliano

A group of us went to this restaurant that makes the only ‘real’ Pinsa in the village and what an incredible experience devouring this delicious dish!

A Pinsa is a type of pizza that I haven’t tried before, never really heard of until I arrived here – echoes of heathen.

A Pinsa is made with three different types of flour and is proved for around 150 hours in the fridge.

You cannot believe how light and fluffy this type of pizza is – simply divine. I urge everyone to try a Pinsa.

Ristorante Pizzeria La Lanterna

Newly opened on Vico Donnanni snc. with owners eager to please. Perched on a higher part of Rogliano, the views from the outside seating area stretch across the picturesque and undulating Camminella Valley.

Enter inside to be greeted with a very tasteful and fresh modern décor, which invites a cool atmosphere.

The Antipasto and Pizza are simply delicious and servings are plentiful. The usual beverages are available as is bottled and house wine. Eat your excellent pizza while enjoying great service in this noisy but fun ambience.

Slainte Irish Pub

Walk along Corso Umberto to discover this quiet pub in Rogliano – well it was quiet until our rowdy group rocked up.

Surrounded by exposed ancient stone walls and a low heavy-timbered ceiling, you feel as though you’re thrown back in an old English pub from the medieval period.

The blinding difference is the cost and strength of the drinks though – extremely cheap at €6 for 3 rums and one liqueur, accompanied by nibbles. All of this makes for a very pleasant experience, with lovely and friendly staff thrown in.

Bar Gelateria Misaggi

Stop along Via Antonia Guarasci, 18/20 for excellent coffee, pastries (€1.20+), service, and Aperitivo. This is a great breakfast stop for the obligatory café and Brioche, especially on a Sunday morning. At this time, local Roglianese flock and parade along the streets chatting the morning away, before speeding back home like a puff of wind for a leisurely Pranzo (lunch).

Pasticceria “Colosseo”

On Via A De Gaspei, 1/A-1/B, this lovely bar offers excellent coffee and wonderful baked-on-site pastries. Give this bar a go if you’re in the neighbourhood – it’s worth the stop.

Leaving Rogliano

It’s always sad leaving this lovely village, but I am also very lucky to be able to return anytime…

Rogliano, Calabria, Italy
One of the older trains at Rogliano station

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


46 thoughts on “Visiting Quaint Rogliano, Southern Italy

Add yours

  1. Ciao Nilla from a fellow Aussie/Italian
    I’ve just come across this fabulous website and posts when I searched ‘Rogliano’ and it’s made my heart sing. I’m planning on spending 5 days in Cosenza with cousins and want to visit Rogliano – the birthplace of my mother. Her surname was Orlando and my maternal grandmother was a Spadafora.
    Like you, I have one parent from the south and one from north – my dad was from Treviso however mum and dad married in Rogliano in 1953 and migrated to Australia four years later after living in Genova.
    The first and only time I visited Rogliano was as an 18 year old some 42 years ago and sadly I wasn’t very interested. However, now I feel nostalgic about tracing my roots and will look into the state archives in Cosenza when I’m there in July – thanks for the tip.
    I was lucky enough to be able to get my Italian citizenship and also for my three sons.
    I loved the weird fact that there’s an Irish pub in Rogliano and will definitely visit when I’m there if it’s open – especially considering my husband is an O’Brien.
    Thank you for your posts and I look forward to reading more.
    Grazie mille

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Juliana
      Wow, our stories are so similar! Apart from the citizenship part. Sadly, I don’t have Italian citizenship. Where in Australia do you live?
      When will you be in Rogliano? I’m returning to Italy in July/August this year. I did meet a Spadafora when I was there last in 2019 – you guys are probably related! Tthe Irish pub was still there in 2019.
      Thanks for reaching out and hope to hear more of your story – you never know, our paths may cross.


    2. Thanks for your reply, Nilla
      I’ll be in Cosenza the first week of July and as mentioned will go to Rogliano for a day trip – it will be wonderful to connect if the timing works out.
      It’s great to hear there may be some Spadafora family members there. I know one of them migrated to USA as I have photo of a great uncle & his wife taken in the Bronx.
      I get the impression my cousins living in Cosenza and other parts of Italy, whose parents were also born in Rogliano, are not terribly interested in their family history. What does it say about those of us who have been disconnected from our “motherland” and how we yearn to know more about where we are from!
      I live in Sydney; what about you, Nilla?
      Where is your other parent from in the north?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi again
      Sorry for the late reply but your comment went into my Trash folder – WP!
      Keep in touch and we may be able to meet up as I’ll also be catching up with friends in Cosenza. The world isn’t such a big place. I’ve published 85 posts about Italy but mostly in Calabria if you’d like to learn more about this region.
      I met the Spadafora gentleman (and his wife) through a good friend that lives in Rogliano. From memory, think Mr Spadafora is a solicitor/in insurance.
      That’s interesting as I experienced the opposite and people, including distant relatives were eager to help. However, I do have 3 siblings that have no desire to know about our heritage so I guess it’s not surprising.
      Originally, I’m from Windsor but lived in North Sydney for a while before moving to QLD in 1992. My mother was from Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia).


    4. Thanks Nilla
      I’ll definitely try to reconnect with you when I’m in Cosenza.
      Lucky you living in sunny Queensland. I live in the Lane Cove area which as you know is very close to North Sydney.
      Was great to learn some of your story and who knows, we just may cross paths.
      Safe travels

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ciao!
    I am currently planning a trip to Rione Cuti as I have discovered my great grandfather came from this town. We have a surname of Sottile. Is there any way to find if there are some folks still in this town with this surname?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tracy
      Thank you for reaching out. I know of a Roberto Sottile in the Rogliano area. Maybe my friend Keith can help to introduce you to Roberto. I’m sending Keith this link.


    2. Hi Tracy, Our great friend Nilla messaged to find out if we could put you in contact with our nephew Roberto Sottile who lives in Rogliano. Of course we will be very link you guys on Facebook and I so attach my
      Please contact me in the first instance via Facebook Messenger.
      Regards Keith.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My great grandfather was Luigi Altomare and his wife was Agatta Amato. They left Rogliano in 1899 and sailed from Naples to New York City, settling in Kingston, NY, about 90 miles north of Manhattan where Luigi worked in a brick factory. It seems several relatives emigrated as well. For reasons unknown, they changed their name to Altamari while living in Kingston. I would love to make contact with any Altomare’s in Rogliano and explore possible family relations.

    Jeff Altamari

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeff
      Thank you for sharing your story. How did you come across this post?
      I met a couple of people with that surname and asked my friend Keith to respond to your comment as he’s been living in Rogliano for many years. Maybe Keith can put you in touch with your distant relatives as Rogliano is a small village and everyone knows everyone.
      Good luck!


    2. Hi Dorothy
      Thank you for dropping me a comment. How did you come across this post?
      I never met anyone with the surname Sicilia, but the name may originally hail from Sicily. If you ever get the chance to visit Calabria, then Cosenza has a really good State Archives with tons of family history dating back centuries. It’s also a centre for restoring old manuscripts from around Italy.


    3. Hi Jeff, we live in Rogliano where my wife Maria was born. There are very many Altomare’s including the mayor (Giovanni). Feel free to contact us if we can be of help. Regards Keith and Maria Russo-JEWITT

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Thanks, Keith for helping Jeff!
      Just noticed your comment in my Trash folder so not sure what WP is doing:-(
      Really looking forward to catching up with you and Maria in July/August this year! x


  4. Thank you for your wonderful entries. My grandparents lived in Rogliano before emigrating to the US. I just got my Italian citizenship and I am starting to learn about Rogliano. I hope to visit sometime this year. Can you tell me if COVID has changed the town? I do not speak Italian, are the locals patient with English speaking tourists? I’d love to learn more about your move there. Where did you live before? Do you still have family in the town or nearby? It sounds like you spend time between Cosenza and Rogliano. How wonderful. Thanks again for your entries, I am so happy to learn about my roots.
    With regards, Diana

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana

      Thank you for your lovely comment and emails.

      Lucky you getting Italian Citizenship. Was it hard? It’s a hard slog if the Italian line has been broken, as in my case.
      Born in Australia but to northern and southern Italian parents that emigrated to Australia (due to differing circumstances, met and married here) in the early 1950s, I decided to live in Cosenza for four years and yes, spent a lot of time in Rogliano. My grandmother was from Rogliano and moved to a smaller villager close by before moving to Parenti when she was married. So, in addition to good friends there, I have a lot of relatives in the gorgeous Sila.

      I believe that COVID lockdowns changed everywhere in Italy, not just in Rogliano. I arrived back in Australia in 2020 and was supposed to be here for only 6 weeks but COVID hit and everything was cancelled due to closed borders and so, stranded here but hope to return very soon.

      Yes, the locals are very patient with foreigners, especially throughout Calabria and southern Italy. They appreciate it when you make the effort and try just a few simple words. Locals also love that foreigners take the time to visit Calabria as this Italian region is always missed. Travellers visit the milk-run in the north down to Amalfi, then typically bypass the rest and travel straight down to Sicily. You won’t have a problem in Rogliano and the village also used to get a lot of exchange students from the US and Canada, but that dwindled with COVID.

      If you’d like to learn more about your roots then I highly recommend visiting the State Archives in Cosenza’s Centro Storico as it holds a plethora of heritage information. Also if you’re lucky, you may get a look at how ancient books from around Italy are restored – fascinating! Also, Tony (if he still works there) is super helpful in tracking down your family history.

      This Image Earth Travel site holds 83 articles on Italy but mostly on the south as this is where I spent most of my time. I’m not a Ghost Writer, instead, write everything from experience and take all the photos. (I do have 3 guest posts on this site, but that’s all.)

      Let me know if you have more questions.

      Best wishes and safe travels!


    1. It really is and really appreciate the wonderful relatives and friends made in Calabria. I did go there with the intent of obtaining citizenship as wanted to live there 6 months of the year and in Oz for the other 6 months, but sadly, it was much too difficult. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi
      No, I can’t as I’d have to live there for 3 consecutive years before applying, then it takes up to 4 years for the citizenship process to complete. Unless Italy changes its laws, I won’t be going through that bureaucratic pain again. But, thank you for your positive vibes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Yeah, funny as Italians believe it’s harder to become an Australian citizen but they’re totally wrong.
      You only have to live in Australia for 4 years out of 5 before you can apply and I believe it only takes months to get citizenship, not years. Also, the rules are black and white whereas in Italy they’re 50 shades of grey. It also depends on who is facing you in which office and how they’re feeling on the day of your appointment. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    4. I know there were pretty tough conditions to immigrate to Australia about 20 yrs ago, as while we were applying to move to Canada, some close friends moved to Australia. But getting the citizenship shouldn’t take more than few months, if you proved already you pay taxes and live there. But with EU might be different, as people tend to move from a country to another much easier, thus it is hard for them to decide which one lives where LOL

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Ah right, maybe it was harder 20 years ago.
      It’s hard when your heritage is from a country but isn’t recognised as your parent/s became citizens of another country before your birth as happened in my case.
      Sadly, Italy didn’t allow dual citizenship until 1992. I heard it only granted 12 months (not widely advertised) to its people that lost citizenship to another country to re-apply for Italian citizenship. I know that if my parents had known about this, they would have re-applied.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice, love the door knocker, but that’s a lot of graffiti for a little train. Perhaps it makes the 6,000, which by Italian standards isn’t that small, feel as though they’re bordering on cosmopolitan…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Spectacular views on your train ride … I wish we had more trains here in SA. And what a great stroll through a village like Rogliano. That pizza looks delicious – the food in these ancient villages must be exceptional (especially since you have not tasted it anywhere else).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This little train trip is gorgeous as it snakes around the hills while climbing higher into the Sila National Park.
      The pizza in Italy is sensational as is the coffee, bread, pasta, gelato…I could go on and on… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Simon
      Thank you for the great feedback and your story! Sounds like you’re in a beautiful part of Italy, but then again, much of Italy is beautiful. 😉
      I’ll check your site out…


  7. How lovely to be able to go back to your roots and in such a fascinating place. I was actually born at London in 1948. The house is still there..block of houses I should say. It’s gone up-market! I have never been back since we left in 1956. I became “rootless”. Like you, I never asked enough questions!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a great story to document!
      I published another post where my sister came over and we found the old stone house that my father and his brothers were born in – still standing and quite emotional. This was just outside of Parenti in a little area named Timpone. Scroll a third of the way down this post and you’ll see the house. It’s quite sad as my father always longed to return before he died but never had the opportunity – his heart always remained in Calabria.
      Can’t wait to return!

      Liked by 1 person

Love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: