Rende is one of the towns of the Cosenza urban area; Unical (the University of Calabria) is located in its territory. Unical is the largest University campus in Italy and one of the best Italian big universities. In fact, it was rated third in the Censis classification and 212th in the International classification by Leiden University. The ancient Oenotrians, coming from Sant’Eufemia Plain and Clampetia, founded the primitive Acheruntia, and later Pandosia, near the river called Acheronte. The site, however, was not suitable for defense during the many wars that occurred at the time. The Acheruntia people thus sought refuge in a safer place, the district currently called Nogiano. The new settlement, dating to 520 BC, was called Aruntia “the houses of the strong people”, and later Arintha. Rende shared the same fate as Cosentia. During the Roman rule, Arintha was a Municipium, but when Spartacus and his army crossed the Crati valley, many Acheruntia people followed them and found their death. They fiercely opposed to the Barbarians when they got near Cosentia, but, despite their efforts, the Arintha area was conquered in 547. In the following centuries, Rende too was subjected to the Byzantine and Muslim rules. Rende people, however, took part in the struggle against the Muslims in Naples possessions in 721. The Saracen reaction was ruthless and the towns of Arintha, Bisignano, Montalto and Cosenza suffered Muslim retaliation. In 921, however, an important battle allowed local population to liberate the Crati valley from Muslim oppression. Saracens were back with a larger army and the rebels were obliged to seek refuge in the Sila mountains. They could return to their lands only when the Norman conquered the area in 1059. Arintha was directly ruled by the Normans in the person of Robert Guiscard who imposed to the town tax payments and the presence of a “Lord”, the bishop-count of Cosenza. In 1091, populations of Cosenza surroundings revolted due to the very high taxes. Roger Borsa, the son and heir of Robert Guiscard, asked for the intervention of his uncle Roger I and his senior half-brother Bohemond, who suppressed the rebellion. For its intervention, Bohemond was given the county of Cosenza, and had a castle erected on the solitary hill located between the Surdo and Emoli streams, that overlooked a great part of the Crati valley. Rende and its castle became the headquarter of Bohemond before he left for the Crusade in 1096. The earthquake in 1184 caused serious damages to the castle and churches, and Rende experienced a period of recession. From 1189 on, the Sicily Kingdom was characterized by the struggle for the succession to William II the Good, though only in 1194 the question was solved by the arrival in Sicily of Henry IV, the husband of Constance of Hauteville who was the heir designed by William himself. On his way to Sicily, Henry passed through Calabria and imposed huge taxes that Rende people could not pay. Joachim of Fiore, Constance’s confessor, tried to defend the population. He knew Rende people very well because he had spent almost a year in Rende mountains before he was appointed the Abbot of Corazzo. Following the death of Henry VI a few years later, Rende experienced a prosperous period, thanks to Constance’s protection too. In the Swabian age, Frederick II confirmed that Rende lands belonged to the archbishop of Cosenza. When the king went to Cosenza to consecrate the Duomo in 1222, Rende people were there with their banner representing the three towers of the castle on a white and red background, the colors of Bohemond’s coat of arms. After Frederick’s death, a struggle for the succession occurred that ended in 1266 with the battle of Benevento and the victory of Charles of Anjou against Manfred; in the castle hall, an engraving of the time recalls that participation of one thousand people from Rende, deployed against Manfred. In 1437 the whole Calabria fell under the domination of the Aragonese Crown and Rende became the fief of the Adorno Family from Genoa in 1442. In March 1460, the king Ferrante of Aragon assigned Rende county (including Domanico, Mendicino, Carolei and San Fili) to the noble Calabrian Luca Sanseverino, of Norman origin, who was to become also the Prince of Bisignano. Under Charles V, in 1528 Rende county was allotted to don Pedro Gonzales d'Alarçon de Mendoza, Marquis of the Sicilian Valley and Governor of Cosenza. in 1535, he led Rende soldiers, boarded in Naples with the King Charles V, in the battle of Tunis against the Moors. The Sanseverino Family, however, maintained the control of the county by marrying Eleonora (Dianora), the first daughter of Pietro Antonio Sanseverino prince of Bisignano, off to Ferdinando d'Alarçon, the son of don Pedro. One of the marriage clauses prescribed that Eleonora of Sanseverino had to be charged with the administration of Rende county. Later, the county became a Marquisate. The Alarçon de Mendoza family ruled Rende till 1806, when Napoleonic government abolished feudalism. In 1794, the ideas of the French Revolution spread to Rende too. Oppression, taxes and injustices increased the hate against the Bourbon dominion, and Francesco Vanni was the spokesman of the population who expressed the popular discontent to Joachim Murat, Marshal of the Napoleonic Empire, when he passed from Cosenza. In 1817, the castle was sold to the Magdalone family that already owned many lands in the Marquisate. During the Risorgimento, the population could any longer stand the French and Bourbon rules and many people became “Carbonari”, taking part in the riots of 1820-21 and 1831. In 1860, following the landing of the Thousands, Rende people founded the “Central Committee of Calabria” to supply Garibaldi and his troops, camped in the Marchesino area, with logistic and military support. On August 24th, 1860 Rende rose up against the Bourbons and acclaimed Victor Emmanuel II as the king of Italy. In the early 1960s, when the economic boom also involved Southern Italy, Rende evolved from a mainly rural village to an urban center and new settlement developed in the valley area. In 1962, a town plan was adopted that controlled urban development and avoided overexploitation of the land. Moreover, many green spaces were preserved. The establishment of the University of Calabria in the municipal territory contributed to the development of the area. Initially, it consisted of a concentric polyfunctional structure; when the Gregoretti design was realized, a long bridge was built, having reinforced concrete structures (the so-called “Cubes”) on each side. These Cubes have different height depending on the land surface, and they house the University Departments. The University of Calabria is now one of the main cultural centers in Rende and Cosenza urban area. It is the main University in Calabria and one of the best Italian big universities, and it has the largest University campus in Italy. It has about 40.000 students, coming from Calabria and other Southern Italian regions, and to a lesser extent, foreign countries. The University has 6 Faculties: Economics, Pharmacy, Engineering, Literature and Philosophy, Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences and Political Sciences. In 1980s and 1990s, municipal administrations remodeled the lower urban area by building squares, parks, museums and churches, and changed it into a modern town. The further development of the area, carried out in 2003 by the municipal offices, aimed at improving the quality of the town by ecologically balancing the different built-up areas. The area that includes the Cathedral of San Carlo Borromeo was built, together with the Museum of the Present housing the hall dedicated to Arts and Sciences, the escalators that lead to the ancient town, the new Technical and Commercial School, the Parish Complex of Linze. The main water courses were recovered and river parks were created inside the town. Many remarkable historic churches were restored and districts including Roges Vecchia and Quattromiglia were renovated.


Piazza San Carlo Borromeo

87036 Rende (CS)

Centralino: +39 0984 8284-11