Altomonte is an
enchanting medieval centre in the heart of Cosenza province. Member of "Borghi più Belli d’Italia" , "Città del Pane", is also tagged with "Bandiera
Verde" (Green flag: territories excellent in agriculture and respect
of the environment) and "Città Slow
With 200.000 annual visitors, the village is well organised to welcome tourists with 350 beds and 5.000 place settings, tak. The small town hosts 300 wedding each year, and is called "the city of marriages" of couples coming from all Italy and from abroad.
Along streets and alleys, visitors can purchase everything, from wine to handicrafts in clay, wood, wicker, wool. For the several typical products and local gastronomy, Altomonte is known as "symbol of the calabrese kitchen".
Morano stays on a hill 700 mt above sea level in the middle of the highest peaks of the Southern Appennino. Tagged among the "Borghi più belli d’Italia” and acknowledged as an “Orange Flag” by the ItalianTouring Club for the quality of its welcoming, tourist services, hospitality, respect for the environment and territory’s safeguard.
Going along the lanes of Morano, a perspective leads to another perspective. A picturesque cascade of staircases, with narrow roads opening to nice little squares until the castle, which overlooks the community’s life.
Civita, 450 mt above sea level, so called "the country among the rocks", is one of the entrance’s door into Pollino Park, the most extended in Europe. Clung over one of the most beautiful valleys of Pollino, overlooks the suggesting landscape of Raganello canyon.
The village, which today counts less than 1.000 habitants, has been built around the year 1000 by a group from Cassano Ionio fleeing the sea raids of the Saracens. Destroyed by earthquakes has been rebuilt by the Albanians, moved to Italy coasts.
Cathedral Santa Maria della Consolazione (1336): interesting examples of gothic-angevin in the region .
The Dominicans’ monastery, annexed to the Cathedral, was built in 1440. In the last years of XVI century hosted the dominican philosoph Tommaso Campanella who wrote his first work Philosophia de sensibus demonstrata , now seat in the Civic Museum.
Norman Tower (XI century) now Art Museum. Church of St James Apostle, dating back to 1182. Monastic complex of St Francis from Paola, built in 1635, near Municipality, installed in the old Monastery of Franciscan Minor Friars (XVII century).
C. Belluscio Theatre (1988) which hosts national events like Festival euromediterraneo with shows, conventions, concerts, Festival teatro scuola with plays oof students of theatre schools, Songs Festival, Dance Festival and others.
The most astonishing heritage is its picturesque historical center with its numerous churches, chapels, noble palaces and the lanes where visitor is invited to immerge in the medieval magic athmosphere.
The monastic late-gothic complex of Saint Bernardino is one of the best examples of the Franciscan architecture of ‘400 in Calabria and makes relive the spirit of austerity and also the social and artistic importance of the monks during the Renaissance.
The mos important painting in Morano is the polyptych of Bartolomeo Vivarini (1477), today in the splendid Collegiata of St Maria Maddalena.
The spectacular Norman- Swabian castle (XI century) tells the military and political history and witness also the defence of the territory in the Middle Age and in the hard events which troubled the Calabria and the whole Southern Italy in the following centuries.
The diiffused naturalistic centre “Il Nibbio” (the kite) offers in monothematic premises a wide view of the faunistic, floreal, artisan, eno-gastronomic of Morano and of the whole Pollino territory.
The museum of agriculture and pastoral farming, in the premises of palace Salmens, revivals the ancient farming story of labour and patience of the last millennium.
The museum of holy art, a story telling of the religousness and the society in last centuries.
The position on a stunning landscape is one of the fascinating appeals of Civita: the picturesque gorges of Raganello where is possible perform canyoning and trekking and the bridge of the devil, a terrace over the scenery of the canyon.
But the charm of Civita is hiding behind the traditional architecture, the costumes, the ceremonies, the objects, the representations, which tell the story of the old Albanese people and culture (arbëreshë) handed down from the old times, where real life and phantasy, tradition, spirituality are blended.
The chimneys are real examples of Arte Povera, but are also expression of popular believes of protection of the house against the winds and the evil influence.
The typical fountains, built in the ‘800 in local grey stone, are a place of socialization and heirs of the antique gjitonia, the spot where the women drew water, chatted and do the washing.
The symbolism of the religious representations characteristic of the original Orthodox religion, later entered in the catholic Church.
The interesting ethnical museum arbëreshë, which roams through many aspects of the culture of the community.
The ecomuseum of the spinning mill, realized to revaluate the intense wool production, once economic support of the community.
· Preparation of the typical “shaped” bread of Altomonte
· Preparation of the "Schicculiata" and "Raschiatelli", typical pastas of the territory.
· Preparation of the salted sweets of the tradition “Scaleddre” and “Raschiatelli” and of the sugared sweets “Cannariculi”.
· Research, preparation and cooking in earthenware of the vegetables of the season like chicory, escarole, tassel grape hyacinth and cardoons.
· Take part to the production process of the goat cheese at the firm “Dolci Pascoli” melting the final taste with the appreciation of the agricultural environment, the balance between cultivation and breeding, evolved during the centuries influenced by the transformation of the society.
· Learn how to grow, make out and collect the lavender, example of the “perfumes and magic” of Pollino. To know how to process to produce savoury and creative tastes, perfumes and medicinal oils.
· Meeting and musical workshop with the master Luigi Stabile, composers and performers of the Calabrese popular music and a craftman of lutes, bagpipes, and of an ancient stringed instruments similar to the one used in the northern Greece and Macedonia.
· Walk in the historical centre of Morano like in an open air museum: a real voyage in the history from the year 1000 until 1700. Will be the opportunity to meet an ancient and even modern community which lives in hoses leaning against each other and understand the values of the family, of the care of the farmer environment, of the respect and of the traditions, of the taste of the local products and wines.
· Workshop of typical dishes, realized and eaten with the guests, like the “dromsa”, typical pasta with oregano and the sweet “krustulet”.
· Poetical representation in verses in Albanese language, with illustration of the local cultural environment.
· Realization of parts of traditional costume with the local embroiderer, framed into the life of the families and the community.
February: International Festival of folklore of Castrovillari.
March:“Feast of the spring”. Exhibition, bourse and conventions about animals and land products
May-June: "Altomonte Feast of Bread" and national song contest "Night of Notes"; “Altomonte Festival in Dance"; "Morano Flag Feast and parade", reminding the battle between Moranians and Saracens.
July: "Morano Feast of immigrants", symbol of the link with Moraneses migrated abroad.
August: "Feast of the Land", with walks, sports, fishing contests, storytelling, songs and dances. "Altomonte Euromediterranean Festival" with shows, conventions, concerts.
September: "Altomonte Di Vino Jazz Festival"
October: "Mushrooms fairs".
November: "Fair of the Chestnut" in San Donato di Ninea.
December-January: “Feast of wine” in Piriccheddra and Lungro (Community Arbëreshë) and “Feast of the Pork".
December: During Christmas a whole quarter of the historical centre lives up of local people representing the ancient crafts as moments of the Nativity. Whereas the women at home are preparing and kneading the “vecchiaredde”, the typical both salty and sugared fritters, in the unique scenario of the narrow lanes and the old houses of the quarter.
May: "Feast of Flag" reminds the battle between Moranians and Saracens, with a rich parade in Renaissance costumes, with flag-wavers and knights. It is a piece of Mediterranean history which tells a lot about the connections and conflicts with the Arab world.
15-16 July: “Feast of the emigrant”, symbol of the link between the Moranese people abroad and Italy. In the afternoon of 15 July, takes place a moving ceremony with votive offerings said in many languages by the emigrants.
For carnival, during the Martedì Grasso (Shrove Tuesday), the young people sing the typical “vjershë” at relatives’ doors and friends and a puppet, as scapegoat for the sins committed is burned in the centre among dances and songs.
On Tuesday following Easter, dances all over the village (the “vallje”) remind the Giorgio Skanderbeg victory over Ottomans.
1-3 May: the beginning of the fine weather is celebrated with the Kaminezit e Maj bonfires burning in different parts of the village until dawn, among songs and dances.
15 August: Popular games in honour of Our Lady of the Assumption.
Francesca Gaeta, Pro Loco President
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Antonello Parrilla, Environmental guide
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Eliana Bruno, Town councillor
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