Fiumefreddo Bruzio

“Beauty will not save the world if we do not save beauty”
Salvatore Settis

Fiumefreddo, deriving from the Latin Flumen frigidum, takes its name from the nearby waters that descend from Mount Cocuzzo. The first documentary evidence dates back around the year one thousand. All those who want to “live the town” and that, for a few moments want to stop time, will be fascinated by walking through the narrow streets, paved or cobbled streets of the old town, from contact with the imposing castle, the calm and Beauty of churches with works by Giuseppe Pascaletti, and the visit to the enchanting Church of San Rocco with frescoes by Salvatore Fiume, whose art is also present in the castle and in the squares.

The exit from the state road with a sudden deviation changes the landscape and a road, queen of curves, leads us to the village of Fiumefreddo. A 200 m s.l.m., among rolling hills 1.5 km from the sea, stands the village of Fiumefreddo. The dominant position, combined with the natural environment that surrounds it, allows a wide panoramic view stretching from Mount Cucuzzo, the sea and Stromboli in the distance. The medieval village is only 10 km from Paola, the city of San Francisco and 40 km from the airport of Lamezia Terme.
Fiumefreddo offers reasons of historical and architectural interest (due to constraints and various protections) with its many palaces, the main church of San Michele and the church of the Addolorata.

The village setting has distinct urban quality factors (access and walls, number of paths, streets, squares, sights, bond and authenticity of the exterior natural spaces) and architectural (harmony and homogeneity of the built volumes, facades, roofs, color, doors, windows, presence of decorative elements such as gables, signs, stucco); and last but not lest also a remarkable artistic heritage: Churches, Castle, Abbey, paintings and bronzes by Salvatore Fiume, paintings by Giuseppe Pascaletti. The village of Fiumefreddo is one of the small hidden treasures little known because of this beautiful land.

Salvatore Fiume and the Church of San Rocco

“I painted the miracles of San Rocco inside the dome of a church dedicated to the saint in Borgo. Nobody asked me, nor ordered that work. I myself have begged the authorities to let me run it since 1959 wanted to decorate a dome like Goya had done in Madrid in the chapel of San Antonio de la Florida “.

Useful information

Fiumefreddo Bruzio is a town of 3,026 inhabitants located in the low Tirreno Cosentino, in the province of Cosenza. Since November 2005 it is included in the prestigious club of the 100 most beautiful villages in Italy. In the village there are 150 residents.
Its surface, although hilly, is characterized by a marked morphological difference, infact it starts from sea level and salt before abruptly, then more gradually rising up to the 1,541 m of Mount Cocuzzo, the highest peak of the Apennines Paolano. The territory is made up of the interior of a mountainous and hilly massif, rich in forests of oak and chestnut trees in whose undergrowth grow wild medicinal and aromatic plants such as ferns, oregano and mint. The mountains rise, which – to the east – cover the area within which is enclosed the country, this being a determining factor of its climatic conditions. The area affected by the beneficial influence of the sea, which the rays of the sun give the combination of light and color.
By the massive rocks two hill phalanges emerge, divided by a narrow river valley at the base of which flows a typical Apennine torrent and characterized by rounded summits to end up, in the form of plateaus, on one of which it is built the medieval town, the historical center Fiumefreddo;

A little ‘history of the village of Fiumefreddo Bruzio

IX-X sec., The Saracens devastate what was probably a Roman colony (archaeological traces on the hill called Cutura).
The residential complex is reconstituted around Mille.
1054, the Normans occupied the region and their leader Robert Guiscard builds a tower defense in Fiumefreddo, by virtue of its overhanging rocks.
1201, Simone de Mamistra, governor of Calabria and Swabian baron era, transformed the Norman tower in the fortified castle
XIII-XV sec., The Fiumefreddo feud passed from baron to baron, first under the Anjou and then under the Aragonese.
1528, Emperor Charles V gave the Captain Pietro Gonzales de Mendoza, for vittorieriportate in Calabria against the French army. Married the only daughter of Fernando de Alarcon, one of the most famous Spanish generals in the Italian wars, Captain Mendoza was connected to a powerful family. He was responsible for the reconstruction of the castle and the consolidation of the city walls.
In 1638, a catastrophic earthquake hit the village.
1807 Bourbon garrison in the castle, was forced to surrender by Napoleon’s troops. The year after the last heir of the Alarcon y de Mendoza, Beatrice, sold material values of Fiumefreddo, castle ruined by French artillery.

What to visit in Fiumefreddo Bruzio

The Castle (seventeenth century) known as “Palazzo della Valle” was the residence of the feudal nobility, including the Duke of Somma, who was removed for acts of rebellion in 1528 by King Charles V who gave it to Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza , Family Alarçon y Mendoza, dignitaries at the court of Spain and Naples, Marchesi di Rende and Barons of Fiumefreddo Bruzio, until the end of feudal era. The Castle Properties is now the City of Fiumefreddo Bruzio and includes within it the extraordinary frescoes painted by Maestro Salvatore Fiume in 1996.

The Carmelite church dating from the fifteenth century. It was built outside the city walls in front of the castle, the ancient order of the Friars Minims. The interior of the single nave has been repeatedly restored and enlarged with one side chapel dedicated to St. Anthony, the roof of which is tiled in the shape of trullo.

The Church of St. Clare, dated 1552 ,the year of construction. The portal is made of stone and the floor is finely worked majolica. Its interior contains some remarkable art treasures, including three Baroque wooden altars in gold paint.

The Mother Church was built in the sixteenth century. Its interior is a single nave, with the presbytery of Neapolitan style of the seventeenth century. preserves valuable works of art including: an altar “The Virgin of Carmel” the Pascaletti, a ninth-century wooden crucifix, “Madonna with Child” by Peter Neurons dated 1556 and “The Miracle of St. Nicholas of Bari “by Francesco Solimena.

The Church of St. Francis of Paola, whose adjoining convent is the current seat of City Hall, was built in 1709 and until 1860 it was annexed to the convent of the Minimi Friars. Inside we can find the tomb of Prince Pietro Alarçon Mendoza and that of the painter Pascaletti.

The eighteenth-century church of San Rocco, whose hexagonal style was built on the city walls and close to the sea port. Inside it is decorated with frescoes by the works of Salvatore Fiume made in 1980. The frescoes representing San Rocco saving people hit by the plague.

Scenic walk, from Largo Santa Domenica leads to the sea.

To see the remains of the city walls, feudal palaces of the XVI-XVII century and beautiful views. And in a green frame in Badia, the Abbey of Fonte laurate, built by Byzantine monks, destroyed in 1201 and rebuilt by Simone de Mamistra

Typical dishes

The first is the Filiciata, ie a soft cheese just curdled in ferns, a dish that initially was prepared on August 15 on the occasion of the now secular holiday in honor of the Assumption; the other is the potato omelette, a kind of rustic cake prepared with potatoes supplied with great copy from the surrounding fields which despite being named, does have in its ingredients eggs. Among other typical of the Calabrian dishes that you can taste in Fiumefreddo include: the grispeddre, eggplant meatballs and stuffed anchovies