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Aieta, in Calabria
The wealth of our country is not limited only to museums, but to something intangible that inspires all those who walk there to find cities, both: large and small ones. Regarding this there are whole areas of the peninsula where the history of the places, people, traditions, cultures, crafts, food and wine from these territories are kept in small spaces, where objects and elements from a distant past is offered to the curiosity of the visitors.
Perhaps the greatest cultural patrimony in our villages is precisely maintained in the myriad of small museums that gather testimonies of rural, pastoral and artisan life of entire peoples.
Lets go to know our Calabria?
This argument is even more valid if you look at regions like Calabria and in this text you will visit one of these villages, with its flavors and traditions, in the province of Cosenza, is the town of Aieta, a member of the association of the most beautiful villages of Italy. It is one of the smallest cities and features the Tyrrhenian Coast, which is part of the Pollino National Park.
Its landscape is hilly, with trails up to 1462 meters, from Mount Ciagola, and has the blue sea division of the Gulf of Policastro. The ancient city of Aieta is the noble nucleus, the bright mirror of an agricultural environment on the mountain that is still intact and full of charm that surrounds it. The arc of mountains surrounding the area and the view of the sea, in front of Dino Island, together with oak and beech forests are indelible signs of pioneering agriculture that made cultivable and threshing plots on terrains that forge peaks of an environment one of a kind.
Its historic center preserves indelible traces of its past. The streets of Aieta strike you at once and make it appear that you are in a place where time has stopped; a charming city, where supreme peace reigns. Although little Aieta houses many churches and chapels. First, there is the Mother Church, in the main Square, with splendid frescoes, where you can see an image of the Virgin, a silver cross from the second half of the 16th century and an incredible organ of the same century.
Then there is Aieta’s patron saint, St. Vitus Martire, who has a chapel in his honor; but it is worth a visit even on the Addolorata and San Giuseppe, near the Renaissance Palace. Among the relevant things of Aieta there are evidences of an illustrious past and the Renaissance Palace of the sixteenth century; in the old town, of great visual impact, is one of the old constructions of great historical and architectural interest of the region.
Since July 2012, it is possible to visit the Aieta Virtual Museum. Here you can dive into the 3D world graphics and discover what Spinelli’s Renaissance Palace was like at the time of its greatest splendor by rebuilding frescoed rooms of the convent next door.
Inside, there are several rooms, some with frescoes, as well as service rooms, guards, kitchens, pantries, weapons room, prisons and a beautiful loggia, since it is a public building and was declared a national monument only a century ago; today it is used by the city for conferences and events.
The village of Aieta and its wonderful 16th century building is a rare example of Renaissance style in Calabria; located in the old town of Aieta, dominates with its greatness and underlying construction. It was built in the sixteenth century by the Marquises of Cosentino, Lords of Aieta; the building passed to Cosentino Scalea in 1571, and was sold to the Spinelli in 1767. In 1913 it was declared a national monument, and then became property of the city in 1980.
The center of the small town of Cosenza is characterized by narrow streets where there are houses and buildings with many local stone portals, manufactured by skilled ‘Aietanos’ masons, between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. To complete the visit, the water mills, some of which are medieval, are accessible from the center via an old bridge. Aieta, like many cities of Calabria, is also a destination for a growing culinary tourism, among the local products exist inlaid, which are the cars chiefs of the place, such as the so-called ‘Prisuttu de puorcu’ (ham), the king of ‘aietanos’, which also has a summer festival dedicated to him.
Aieta is a lovely mountainous city which seems to have remained out of modern development. For those unfamiliar with Calabria, these are the places that can contain great and pleasant surprises. In addition to the stereotypes that are not always flattering about this region, it undoubtedly possesses a series of unusual beauties and natural contrasts with other parts of Italy.
A LITTLE MORE OF THE BEAUTIES OF CALABRIA
How to get there
You can go to Calabria from any part of Italy.
Calabria has four airports; the main airports are Lamezia Terme and Reggio Calabria, then Sant’Anna airport, in Crotone, and Vibo Valentia, the military airport.
The railway infrastructure in Calabria covers about 850 km of lines, with about 115 stations.
Calabria is accessible by car through the highway link and specifically through the A3 Salerno highway – Reggio Calabria – Reggina, which ends in the city of the same name. This road is free of tolls.
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