Cerisano rises at the foot of Monte Cocuzzo and is a typical village of Cosenza's Serre mountain range which features a picturesque old town centre. It is a natural site that includes an unspoilt and rich environmental heritage, allowing its visitors to go on hiking trips on mountains covered with abundant thick forests of beech and chestnut trees.
Cerisano's old town centre develops at the foot of the Palazzo Sersale and the square in front of it, that overlooks the whole town, formed by a maze of narrow streets and alleys that are easily walkable.
Cerisano is recognised as a stop of the “Cammino di San Francesco da Paola”, a pilgrimage route which follows in the footsteps of the Calabrian saint.
The Palazzo Sersale still preserves the primitive garden and cloister built at the end of the 16th century by the De Gaeta family. The estate was also once the home of the Telesio family, before being owned by the Sersale family. Cerisano is recognised as a stop of the “Cammino di San Francesco di Paola” a pilgrimage route on foot that retraces the steps of the Calabrian saint, crossing places that were a part of his life. Each year, the town organises beautiful events that attract a large number of visitors including: The “Festa d’Autunno” (Autumn Festival) takes place over two days during which Palazzo Sersale is immersed in a magical autumn setting, with gourmet routes, stands, tastings of typical products and roast chestnuts. The Cerisano Wine Festival; an event dedicated to young wine growers of the province of Consenza. The “Festival delle Serre”, divided into sections (Jazz, Classical Theatre and Cinema), brings the town to life with events, performances, conferences, debates and exhibitions that attract thousands of visitors.
Cerisano’s symbol, Palazzo Sersale, was built at the end of the XVI century by the De Gaeta family and later came into the hands of the Telesio family before finally being home to the Sersale family. The façade, linear and symmetrical, retains only four of the original apertures in square ashlar masonry. Another floor was added to the building during the nineteenth century that changed its original appearance. Inside, however, the cloister (with a typical well and an extraordinary proscenium) as well as the adjacent garden remained unchanged. During warmer weather, the garden transforms into an outdoor theatre to accommodate musical performances of the "Festival delle Serre". An antique water drainage channel of the sixteenth-century Nymphaeum can still be seen in one of the rooms.
The various churches located in the town centre house a large number of interesting works of art of considerable worth. The chiesa di San Domenico (church of St Dominic), initially dedicated to the Madonna del Soccorso, preserves a Madonna del Rosario del Salfi and a St Thomas Aquinas by Giuseppe Santanna, as well as many works by the painter Rocco Ferrari from Montalto. The parish church dedicated to San Lorenzo Martire (St Lawrence Martyr), is of medieval origins: outside it is possible to glimpse the lines of works carried out during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The church boasts four frescoes from the end of the 19th century by Giambattista Santoro, a Deposition painted by Raffaele Rinaldi from San Fili, and the Visitation signed by Giambattista Santoro and dated 1882. The church also boasts a canvas of Paolo Vetri from 1927, depicting the saint Ugolino da Cerisano. The Cappella della Congregazione del Rosario (Chapel of the Congregation of the Rosary) is located in the left nave and was probably the main body of the ancient church around which the rest of the building was built. It is enriched by strong benches in wood that echo the style of a seventeenth century structure destroyed in a fire during the XIX century. The flames were caused by lit candles during Holy Week. Other works that are preserved inside the church include a wooden crucifix of the end of the 17th century and in the sacristy, the "Crucifixion" by Salvatore Santelli. It is likely that Chiesa del Carmine emerged in opposition to that of del Rosario: local history is full of manifestations of hostility by both parties. Built during the early years of the 17th century, it has two very impressive glass cupolas, but these were built in the 19th century. The main door and circular painting representing the Madonna and Child are the work of Salvatore Fiume. Inside, it features interesting paintings by Salfi, Angelo Mazzia and Giambattista Santoro. The church's façade, renovated in 1949, once upon a time had an arcade that granted access to the cloister. Works housed by the church include worthy of mention are a wooden statue of the Immaculate (XVIII century), a wooden crucifix of the XVII century and a series of oils on canvas of which two attributed to Cristoforo Santanna.
The chiesetta degli Schiucchi is located in the lower part of the town and according to tradition, is of Byzantine origins. Also Byzantine was the tablet of the Madonna di Costantinopoli that was preserved by the church but later lost. In its place, between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a canvas with the same subject-matter was commissioned. The Church, with an attached steeple, has a simple façade with a small entrance door and two openings. The Chiesa di San Lorenzo Martire (main church or Church of St Lawrence Martyr) has been remodelled several times and for this reason it displays a mixed architectural style. The façade is heavily decorated; it features a large portal framed by Corinthian pilasters and surmounted by statues of St Lawrence Martyr, St Peter and St Paul. Next to the building stands an imposing bell tower: the original cusp collapsed during the earthquake of 1905 and was only rebuilt in the 1920s. Restoration works brought to light an ancient fresco portraying St Rocco with a dog. The vault is embellished by four frescoes of the artist Giambattista Santoro, who is believed to also have painted the oil on canvas “Visita di Sant’Elisabetta” (Visit of St Elisabeth) near the entrance.
Festival delle Serre
The “Festival delle Serre” is a widespread cultural that takes place in Cerisano's old town centre that features contemporary cinema, theatre, jazz, classical music, exhibitions and debates. A poster of cultural events that sees Cerisano's old town centre as its natural backdrop. Over the course of the years leading artists such as Katia Ricciarelli, the tenor Paisiello, Dario Brunori, Michael Bublè, Mario Biondi, Danilo Rea, Enrico Rava and Walter Ricci, have strolled through the town’s streets. A wide range of performances, conferences, presentations, exhibitions, shows, cultural tours, debates and tastings engage visitors in one of the Region’s most fascinating historical and natural landmarks. On the days the Festival is held, the town’s squares and alleys enjoy a stimulating environment, also due to the wine and gastronomic routes made possible through the collaboration with a large number of companies in Calabria.
Via S. Pietro, 1, Cerisano
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