The Flavours and Wines of Bruttium tour winds through the province of Cosenza and is dedicated to the produce of the ancient Bruzi people.
Historiographers do not know for certain whether the Bruzi tribe always lived in Sila or whether it moved there after fleeing from further north where its people were kept as slaves. But one thing they know for sure is that the language and customs of the Bruzi people were not vastly different from those of other Italic populations under Roman rule. Despite being fierce warriors, the Bruzi formed a relatively civilised society and contributed significantly to the development of Cosenza, transforming it into a great city whose surrounding countryside produced excellent produce, in particular its olive oil and wine.
The capital is the main focus of this route that stops at Figline Vegliaturo, Rogliano, Amantea, Dipignano, Luzzi and Montalto Uffugo, all of which are nestled in the Crati Valley. Some of the area’s most famous wines include the IGT Valle del Crati, the Donnici DOC, the San Vito di Luzzi DOC and the Savuto DOC.
In the green heart of the Crati Valley lies Luzzi, a small town in the province of Cosenza that is said to have emerged from the remains of the Magna Graecian town of Thebae Lucane which dates back to the 4th century BC.
The village is dotted with religious buildings including the ancient Church of Sant'Angelo where a painting of Santa Maria delle Grazie, a work of the school of Leonardo da Vinci, was discovered. The Cistercian Abbey of Santa Maria della Sambucina is also of great historical interest and artistic charm.
The village of Luzzi, surrounded by stunning natural scenery, is located on a hill along the strip of the presila on the right side of the Crati Valley.
Rende is a town in the urban area of Cosenza and is home to the University of Calabria, the largest university campus in Italy and one of the best universities in the country.
The city extends along the western course of the river Crati towards the Serre cosentine. It slopes down from the hills on which the old town stands right up to the modern city.
Today the historic centre of Rende is quite rightly known as the Borgo dei Musei (Village of Museums) because of its many prestigious art galleries.
Rende’s historic centre extends over a hill and has kept its medieval layout largely unchanged. The original names of the town's streets and piazzas, including the Piazza degli Eroi, better known as u sieggiu, are also a nod to the town's ancient origins. The configuration of the street that heads towards the Porta di Cosenza, connecting Rende and the capital, as well as the layout of the old district of Giudecca, which is still recognisable for its particularly narrow alleys and entry arches, are also elements that have been retained over the centuries. The town is home to numerous churches and stately palazzos featuring preserved carved portals and wrought iron balconies.
Cosenza, also known as the City of Bruzi, is one of the oldest cities in Calabria and lies on the seven hills of the Crati valley at the confluence of the Busento and Crati rivers.
Among Calabria’s main cities, Cosenza is particularly important from a cultural point of view thanks to the presence of the University of Calabria. It is also a major city in terms of its art.
The Accademia Cosentina (Cosentina Academy), founded by humanist Parrasio at the beginning of the 16th century, is located in Cosenza and is still in operation today. The famous philosopher of nature, Bernadino Telesio, received much of his education from the Academy during the 16th century. Both of these philosophers are among the scholars from Cosenza who considered the city to be of great cultural importance and even referred to it as the Athens of Italy.
Upstream of the confluence, clinging to the slope of the Pancrazio hill by the banks of the river Crati, lies the old town which has a quintessentially medieval ambience. Still to this day, the town is respectful of its past and its role as the centre of the Bruzis.
The historic centre is among the oldest and most beautiful in Italy, with its monumental buildings, manor houses, churches and urban design characterised by narrow and winding alleys that attest to the town's respect of its ancient traditions.
The hamlet of Donnici in Cosenza is renowned for the quality of its water, its healthy climate and the fine wine that is produced there.
Dipignano is located on a slope to the right of the Iassa stream in the upper Crati Valley, on the ridge of a hill forming part of the Paolana Apennines.
The entire territory is known for its varied and rugged morphology, with its continuous succession of rugged cliffs and hollows, rocky overhangs and deep gullies. Its gentle slopes and panoramic terraces, however, add an interesting touch to the landscape. Regardless of the season, these features offer visitors a spectacle of unparalleled beauty and charm.
Dipignano owes much of its fame to its local crafts industry and its copper masters who are known for their excellent quality products.
Just south of Cosenza, Donnici DOC wine is produced in the standard three versions: Red, produced from Gaglioppo, Greco nero and others grape varieties; Rosé, which is particularly well-suited to first courses and strong tasting fish dishes; and, last but not least, White, which is made from Mantonico grapes together with Greco Bianco, Malvasia and Pecorello varieties and pairs well with fish and light antipasti dishes.
San Vito di Luzzi originates from the municipality of Luzzi and is related to a wine produced by the Cistercian monks at the Abbey of Sambucina. It recently received the DOC label. The Red is produced mainly from Gaglioppo, Malvasia nera, Greco nero and Sangiovese grape varieties and is best suited to hearty main courses and aged cheeses; the Rosé (made with the same grapes) is well suited to poultry and flavoursome first courses. The White, containing Malvasia, Greco, Chardonnay and other white grapes, is best enjoyed with fish dishes and first courses.
Savuto DOC wine is named after the river Savuto which forms the boundary between the provinces of Cosenza and Catanzaro on the hills above the west coast of Calabria.
The Savuto river meanders through the Sila plateau amidst the hilly landscape before flowing into the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia.
The Savuto DOC appellation was created in 1975, together with the nearby Pollino and Donnici appellations (sub-areas of the Terre di Cosenza DOC) both of which are located further north in the Crati valley.