Wine and food
The Brutium Wine and Food Trail winds around Cosenza and is dedicated to an ancient people, the Bruzi.
Historians are not sure whether these people lived in Sila or whether they arrived there fleeing from lands further north where they lived in a state of slavery. What they do know is that their language and customs were not very different from those of other Italic peoples subjected to the Romans; although warlike, the Bruzi showed that they were able to lead a well-organised social life, so much so that Cosenza became a large city with them, and that the countryside they cultivated yielded excellent products, primarily oil and wine.
The capital is the fulcrum of an itinerary that touches on Figline Vegliaturo, Rogliano, Amantea, Dipignano, Luzzi and Montalto Uffugo along an area that expands between the Crati Valley, with its IGT production of the same name and the Donnici and San Vito di Luzzi DOCs, and the Savuto Valley, with its corresponding DOC.
The route is suitable for everyone, accessible by car and in all seasons.
Donnici DOC is produced south of Cosenza in the usual three versions: Rosso, from Gaglioppo, Greco nero and other grapes, Rosato, suitable for first courses and strong-flavoured fish, and finally Bianco, from Mantonico grapes together with Greco Bianco, Malvasia and Pecorello, which goes well with fish and light starters.
San Vito di Luzzi, heir to the product of the Cistercian Monks at the Sambucina Abbey, which has recently received the DOC designation, is only produced in Luzzi. The Rosso originates mainly from Gaglioppo, black Malvasia, black Greco and Sangiovese and is a wine for robust main courses and mature cheeses; the Rosato (same grapes) goes well with poultry and tasty first courses. The Bianco, made from Malvasia, Greco, Chardonnay and other white grapes, ranges from fish to first courses.
The Savuto DOC appellation is named after the Savuto River, which forms the border between the provinces of Cosenza and Catanzaro, in the hills above the west coast of Calabria.
The Savuto River rises in the Sila plateau and flows through the hills before emptying into the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia.
The Savuto DOC appellation was created in 1975, together with the neighbouring Pollino and Donnici appellations (sub-areas of the Terre di Cosenza DOC), both located in the north, in the valley of the Crati river.
Stop 1 - Luzzi
In the green heart of the Crati Valley lies Luzzi, a small town in the province of Cosenza that is said to have risen above the remains of the ancient Thebae Lucane, a Magna Graecia town founded in the 4th century BC.
The village is dotted with several religious buildings, such as the ancient Church of Sant'Angelo, where a painting of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a work from the school of Leonardo da Vinci, was found. Also of particular interest is the Abbey of Santa Maria della Sambucina, a Cistercian monastery of great historical and artistic charm.
The village of Luzzi, set in a picturesque landscape, is situated on a hill along the presila belt on the right side of the Crati Valley.
Stop 2 - Rende
Rende is a centre in the Cosenza urban area where the University of Calabria, Italy's largest university campus and one of the best universities in Italy among the large universities, is located.
The city extends along the western course of the river Crati to the Serre cosentine, sloping down from the hills on which the historic centre stands to the modern city.
Today the historic centre of Rende is rightly called Borgo dei Musei (Village of Museums) due to the presence of prestigious art galleries.
The historic centre of Rende is built on a hill and has kept its medieval urban layout fairly intact, preserving the memory of the old toponymy in the alternative names of streets and squares, such as the central Piazza degli Eroi, better known as u sieggiu, the shape of the street that opened up towards the Porta di Cosenza, linking Rende and the capital, or in the layout of the old Giudecca quarter, still recognisable for its particularly narrow alleys and access arches. There are numerous churches and noble palaces, many of which still have carved portals and wrought iron balconies.
Stop 3 - Cosenza
Cosenza, also known as the City of the Bruzi, is one of the oldest cities in Calabria and lies on seven hills in the Crati valley, at the confluence with the Busento.
Among the capital cities of Calabria, Cosenza occupies a prominent place in the cultural sector, thanks to the University of Calabria, and in the field of art.
The Cosentine Academy, which the humanist Parrasio founded at the beginning of the 16th century and which in the same century included Bernardino Telesio, the philosopher of nature, is still in existence. Both philosophers are among those Cosentine scholars for whom the city was culturally illustrious and for whom it was known as the Athens of Italy.
Upstream of the confluence, clinging to the slope of the Pancrazio hill and near the banks of the Crati, is the old town, with its medieval atmosphere, mindful of its history, which began as the centre of the Bruzi.
The historical centre is one of the most beautiful and ancient in Italy, with monumental buildings, manor houses, churches and an urban design characterised by narrow, winding alleys.
Donnici is a hamlet of Cosenza renowned for its good water, healthy climate and the fine wine produced here.
Stop 4 - Dipignano
Dipignano is located on a slope to the right of the Iassa stream, in the upper Crati Valley, on the hilly ridge of the Paolana Apennine chain.
The entire territory is characterised by a varied and irregular morphology, with an uninterrupted alternation of rugged cliffs and depressions, rocky overhangs and deep gullies, gentle slopes and panoramic terraces that make the landscape discontinuous and interesting. During the course of the seasons, these features offer the visitor a spectacle of rare beauty and suggestion.
Dipignano owes much of its notoriety to its craftsmanship and to the presence of copper masters who achieved levels of excellence.