Carfizzi is one of the three towns of Arbëreshë (Italian-Albanian) origins within the Province of Crotone where Albanian tradition, despite the passing of time, is still very much a part of the everyday life of its inhabitants, who believe it is important to stay in touch with their roots and traditions.
The village is only a few minutes away from the Ionian coast and almost an hour from the Sila plateau. At the entrance of the village visitors can admire the impressive town amphitheatre, which can accommodate up to 1000 people and that during winter evenings becomes alive with cultural shows as well as theatrical and musical events.
Carfizzi is the birthplace of Carmine Abate, the most famous Calabrian writer.The central square, called “rahji”, is the preferred venue for the carfizzoti, and from there it is possible to take in the wonderful views over neighbouring towns.The antique building of the palazzo del Corridore is the oldest building in Carfizzi, recently restored and located in the heart of its historic town centre. The Social Centre, a restored residential building, also located within the town’s historical centre, is the headquarters of the museo etnico (ethnic museum) and the municipal library.
The wonderful photo exhibition which is part of the permanent exhibition in Carfizzi’s town hall includes photos taken during the last century, from 1901 to the 1960s.
Carfizzi still retains numerous traditions, from the antique Arbëreshe dress, the “coha”, to “ori” that in present day are processed traditionally, with decorations formed by coloured stones and subtle beads. Currently, the Arbëreshe language is still spoken in Carfizzi, and as a result of the law for linguistic minorities, the Sportello Linguistico was established in order to recover and appreciate Arbëreshe traditions.
The area of Carfizzi includes a natural park of 400 hectares, which spreads throughout the area around the town and also includes the park of Montagnella; a promontory located between Carfizzi, San Nicola dell'Alto and Pallagorio, on which the feast of 1 May is traditionally celebrated.
Not to be missed is the bosco dell'Asturi (Asturi woods), rich in vegetation and easily reachable from the inhabited town centre as well as the laghetto di Crosari (small lake of Crosari), area on which two artificial ponds were created. Lastly, the breathtaking cascata di Giglietto (Gliglietto waterfall); 36 metres high and of notable interest for visitors.
In addition, Carfizzi's cuisine follows traditional recipes, especially when making sweets or old-style soups, but also for making bread; a practice that is still quite common in the small Albanian-speaking town centre.
Especially at Christmas, aromas emanating from homes show a certain level of home cooking. In fact, starting from 24 November, the arduous preparation of the typical Christmas sweets begins; these are made from ancient recipes that have been handed down from mother to daughter as precious treasures. Typical sweets are gagane, shilinusi, qinugili, tarallucci and bufuni.
Gagane are rolled sweets, made with flour and honey which are filled with raisins, almonds, walnuts and honey. Tardilli are kneaded with flour, eggs and milk, then fried, dipped in honey and beaten to assume a flat shape like that of biscuits. Shilinusi are cakes that are made with durum wheat flour, water and wine, then fried and dipped in honey. Qinugili, instead, are made with a paste similar to that of gagane and are filled with orange marmalade. Tarallucci are made using a mixture of flour, eggs, milk and vermouth, fried and then sprinkled with icing sugar.
Local gastronomic specialities are the "furisiscka"; a soup made with courgettes and pumpkin flowers.