Friday, March 30, 2012

A Closer Look at Cosenza

High-end apartments in downtown Cosenza
We went to the Provincial Capital of Cosenza that is usually a 1.75 hr drive southeast in order to get some check-up exams not offered in our little hospital.  Cosenza sports a larger hospital with more specialists. Someday we’ll have to share our stories about health care in Italy. Suffice to say it takes about two weeks and lots of down time to get all the exams done and interpreted. (If you leave town, you’ll never hear from them again). On the bright side, it costs nothing.  Yes, nothing--even for us.

Imagine the sounds of horns!!
Since we had to be there anyway, why not check out the town.  In the past, we just blasted into town to do business with our Permesso di Soggiorno and never stopped to see the sights.  Driving is not fun in Cosenza with the heavy traffic, and parking can be difficult to find, so I look for easy access and private parking.

We found a great new 4 star hotel literally across the street from the hospital.  Hotel Vescovo Rosso is very nice and welcomed our dog Vince to stay as well. This place was a good choice as the other hotels are about 12 blocks away near the train station and much tougher to access with a car and parking would be tough.

Hotel, bar, and restaurant 

Cosenza is not a tourist destination--it's  a working city of 65,000 (maybe 100,000 including the suburbs) dominated by high-rise apartments except around centro and old town. Looking at some estate agent’s ads, I noticed apartments go from about €150.000 for 60 mq up to nearly €750.000 for a luxury unit of 150 mq. A unit like ours (70 mq or 700 sq ft) in the downtown zone was €530.000!!! Sounds like Rome. Cosenza is a business center with many professional people making higher salaries, etc. No wonder so many kids live with their parents until late 20's or 30's to afford such things.

A 6 block pedestrian corso is nice

There were a limited number of restaurants.  Including the Fratelli La Bufala in our hotel, we only spotted 4 others. The Fratelli is interesting as they specialize in meat and pizza; a la fillet and steak. A nice change from the standard Calabrian menu. They are a chain with 20 locations in Italy--one each in Japan and the US. We enjoyed the place --it was convenient. Good lunch specials – with veggies even – for €7,50…Vince just loved the leftovers! 

Another great find was Ristorante Cinese “Grande Cina” just 100 meters from the Questura (police station) where do our immigration papers.  We miss the cultural diversity in restaurants, so Chinese was a thrill. Nice to have “real” rice again vs. the stuff sold here for making risotto.  FYI, the Pakistani couple in our language class also struggle to find real rice.  The meal was bland compared to the Chinese and Thai food we like, but still a change.  Being in Italy, they also had to have some pasta selections!!

I found an all seafood place close to the hospital while Di had an exam. They had cold displays of fresh fish in the entrance that they served, but I stuck to a simple pasta dish. The spaghetti alle vongole was not as good as our “home” seafood place, and was priced higher, but I would return with Di and friends to try one of the large spigola sea bass they have on display.

Looking toward Centro Storico along the river.  Another river meets near the copper church tower
On another long outing, we walked to Centro Storico which is about 1.5 miles from the hotel.  It has some nicely preserved buildings and some quiet space on side streets, but I found the one-way street thru the place very disturbing with fast noisy drivers.  Not as serene as walking thru our village or old town Scalea.  I’m guessing old Scalea is older too, but didn’t look to see.

I’m glad I got to know the city better for future business trips, but I would not make it a destination for fun.  This reminds me that we never saw shopping centers, furniture stores and other heavy commercial things, so they must all be on the northern edges of Cosenza and in neighboring Rende.  It was so relaxing to get back to our quiet little town and to a much better bed.  Oh, one more observation: Cosenza is the same elevation as our town – 300 mt.  The swifts have returned there, but not here for some reason.  Perhaps the polizia di uccelli don't allow them until April like last year?!!

Ciao, Guido


  1. Looks like a real nice town. I never realized it was so big and beautiful. As usual pictures are great.

  2. Hi Gil, Remind us again where you are and we'll write it down! Yes not a bad town at all. We are just old small town hicks! The pics were from the little camera. My Canon 20D has stopped talking to my most used lens, so I must find a way for repairs in Milano or hop a train and take it there myself. The help desk in America could not do much for me. Great gear when it works eh?! Ciao



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...