In Calabria’s interior, COSENZA is a burgeoning city with a small and atmospheric historic centre surrounded by rings of featureless modern construction. Tradition has it that Alaric the Goth, the barbarian who gave the Western world a jolt when he prised open the gates of Rome in 410 AD, is buried under the Busento River. Struck down for his sins by malaria while journeying south, he was interred here along with his booty, and the course of the river diverted to cover the traces, lending Cosenza a place in history and giving rise to countless, fruitless projects to discover the tomb’s whereabouts.
In the new town, you might take a stroll around the pedestrianized main axis, Corso Mazzini, and Piazza Bilotti to see half a dozen open-air sculptures by the likes of Dalí, De Chirico and Pietro Consagra, part of a bequest that makes up the Museo all’Aperto Bilotti, or MAB. At the top of the old town, the mainly thirteenth-century Castello Svevo (Tues–Sun 9.30am–1pm & 3.30–7.30pm; t0984 813 806) affords excellent views over the city and occasionally holds exhibitions and concerts.