Places of interest

The Cathedral

The exact origins of the Duomo are unknown; it was probably built during the first half of the 11th century. An earthquake destroyed the cathedral on 9 June 1184, and rebuilding was completed by 1222 when the cathedral was consecrated by Emperor Frederick II. At some point during the first half of the 18th century the church was covered by a baroque superstructure which obliterated the original structure and its works of art. In the first half of the 19th century the façade was transformed in neo-gothic style, which completely changed its character. At the end of the 19th century, Archbishop Camillo Sorgente entrusted the work to Pisanti, who recovered the original old arches and the ancient structure of the church. In the 1940s the work was finally completed. In the transept is the tomb of Isabella of Aragon, wife of king Philip III of France. A long aisle links the Duomo to the archbishops’ palace, the Palazzo Arcivescovile, which houses an Immacolata by Luca Giordano. One can also admire the rare and precious Stauroteca, a gift from Emperor Frederick II to the Duomo upon consecration. The work was produced in the royal goldsmiths’ workshops, better known as “Tiraz”, in a cultural environment which blended Muslim, Byzantine and Western cultural elements.

Hohenstaufen Castle

The Castello Svevo (“Swabian” or Hohenstaufen Castle) was originally built by the Saracens on the ruins of the ancient Rocca Brutia, around the year 1000. The Hohenstaufen was restored by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, adding the octagonal tower to the original structure, in 1239. According to tradition, his son Henry lived in this castle, as a prisoner at his father’s command. All signs of the ancient Saracen structure have now disappeared. In the internal cloister, the modifications made by the Bourbons in order to convert it into a prison can also be seen. The entrance-hall is covered by ogival arches with engraved brackets. A wide corridor is dominated by some fleur-de-lis from the House of Anjou coat of arms. They are engraved on the ribbed Hohenstaufen arches.

Open Air Museum

In the modern part of Cosenza, in an area stretching from the pedestrianized Corso Mazzini to Piazza Bilotti, lies the open-air “Museo MAB” (Museo all’aperto Bilotti). The museum hosts a wide range of modern art sculptures that stand in the street for residents and tourists. The sculptures were donated to the city by the Italian-American entrepreneur and art collector, Carlo Bilotti. They include Saint George and the Dragon by Salvador Dalí, Hector and Andromache by Giorgio de Chirico, “the Bronzes” by Sacha Sosno, The Bather by Emilio Greco, The Cardinal by Giacomo Manzù and various marble sculptures by Pietro Consagra.

Church of San Domenico

Founded in 1448, the church combines Renaissance and Medieval elements. Its most interesting feature is the rose window defined by 16 little tuff columns. The wooden portal (1614) is inlaid with floral motifs, figures of saints and coats of arms. Inside the church are works by the Cosentian painter A. Granata (late 18th century): Santa Rosa, Santa Caterina, San Ludovico, San Giacinto and San Domenico. The high altar is made of polychrome marble (1767). In the transept, there is a Deposition and a San Vincenzo Ferreri (late 18th century, anonymous). The sacristy is noted for its ribbed vault, a double lancet window with a narrow arch and a wooden choir installed in 1635.