Diamante and the Chilli Pepper Festival

Spicy end of summer in Diamante, "City of Murals and Chilli Pepper"
cs-diamante (1)

© Regione Calabria

Food and wine

Among the strong flavours that make Calabria famous throughout the world is the king of spices: his majesty, the Calabrian Chilli Pepper.

Declined in a thousand ways, from the north to the south of the region, the Calabrian chilli pepper nevertheless has a very specific elective homeland. It is the town of Diamante, in the province of Cosenza, which has even dedicated a gastronomic-cultural festival to the spicy spice, the "Chilli Pepper Festival".

Not by chance known as the "City of Murals and Chilli Pepper", Diamante is the right destination for those who, in September, want to combine good food, art, sea and fun.

Chilli Pepper Festival

The traditional September appointment (from 6 to 10 the 2023 edition) with the Diamante "Chilli Pepper Festival" is a must for lovers of spicy food and more.

The event, one of the most important on a national and international level dedicated expressly to chilli peppers, includes a rich kermesse of entertainment, tastings, exhibitions, sector conferences, screenings and the "Italian Chilli Eaters' Championship", the hottest competition of the moment, intended for the truly resistant palates.

How was the "Chilli Pepper Festival" born in Diamante?

It was in 1992, the year of the fateful 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Americas, when journalist Enzo Monaco's intuition gave rise to an unprecedented event, capable of linking the people of Calabria to America starting with the import of the precious spice, which found its ideal habitat in Calabria.

Regione Calabria

Since then, the festival has made great strides, hosting national and international personalities linked to the world of gastronomy, wellness and artists who have left their mark.

The "Chilli Pepper Festival" is therefore an opportunity to discover the infinite varieties, properties and uses of chilli peppers, from cooking to cosmetics, as well as the benefits they bring to health.

Although there is no brand recognition for the Calabrian chilli pepper, the Italian Chilli Pepper Academy, based in Diamante and run by Enzo Monaco himself, recognises several varieties (ciliegino, ceràso or cerasièllo, tondo, guglia, diavolìcchio diamante, pizzitàno and naso di cane); as well as recognising its degree of hotness within the Scoville Scale, between 40.000 to 50.000 SHU, i.e. medium intensity (considering that the Habanero pepper, among the hottest in the world, registers 300.000).

Regione Calabria

The cultivation and diffusion of chilli peppers in Calabria covers the entire region and is the basis of dozens of dishes, recipes and typical products, from Salumi di Calabria DOP to 'Nduja di Spilinga, in its fresh, ground, dried, caramelised, pickled and pickled variants, and stuffed, up to its more recent use in confectionery and in the preparation of jams, liqueurs, chocolates and ice cream.

What to see in Diamante

Overlooking the Alto Tirreno Cosentino, Diamante is among the most characteristic towns of the Riviera dei Cedri.

A visit to the historic centre starts with the bright colours of its murals, which decorate the façades of the houses, recounting daily life and the most important events experienced by the local community.

The "City of Murals" anticipates current fashions related to this particular form of street art, as it has been open to national and international artists since as far back as 1981, when two other far-sighted personalities, the painter Nani Razzetti and the mayor at the time, Evasio Pascale, invited in Diamante some of the world's most appreciated artists to paint the façades of houses.

Today there are more than 200 murals in Diamante and they form a veritable open-air museum, to be admired between stops.

Regione Calabria

The tour of Diamante's historical centre continues with a stop at the 17th-century Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Baroque style, inside which is the precious Chapel of the Souls in Purgatory.

The Lungomare Vecchio, known as the "Diamante Living Room", is a terrace overlooking the sea and the unmistakable profile of Cirella Island, the second of the Calabrian islets after Dino Island. A naturalistic oasis of great value, Cirella is covered by Mediterranean maquis and its seabed is the ideal habitat for the growth of the rare Posidonia Oceanica.

Isola di Cirella
Regione Calabria

Also not to be missed are the archaeological remains of the ancient settlement of the same name, the so-called Ruderi di Cirella, the landing place attributed by Pliny the Elder to the people of Focesi (between 600 and 550 B.C.) and which today hosts artistic and cultural events at the new Teatro dei Ruderi di Cirella.


Last update: Feb 15, 2024 3:19 PM