Aieta, the small Calabrian Renaissance village, officially announced as one of the most beautiful art cities in Italy
Aieta (pic n°1) is an amazing small mountain village in the province of Cosenza, in Calabria. It is located in the Pollino National Park on the ridge of Mount Ciagola, at 524 meters above sea level and just about 12 km away from the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Mount Ciagola is the highest point of the area with its 1.462 meters of height. Trekking lovers will appreciate the many trails starting from here to discover Mount Ciagola and where it is possible to enjoy a 360-degree stunning view over the underlying blue waters of the Gulf of Policastro.
Aieta is an art city, an "open-air museum" and it is officially recognized as one of the most beautiful art cities in Italy. It still preserves some remarkable buildings of the past. Let's mention some of them:
- 'Palazzo Rinascimentale' (Renaissance Palace) (pic n°2, 4, 5) is the main attraction to visit. The Palace built in the 16th century when the original, turreted medieval castle that belonged to the illustrious family of Loyra was rebuilt.
Recently it was renovated in 2000. Today it is home to the MU.VI.DA., the Virtual Museum of Aieta. From the top of the roof, you can enjoy a beautiful view over the whole area.
- Cathedral St. Mary of the Visitation located in the main square and famous for its splendid frescoes (16th century);
- Church St. Francis of Assisi just outside the town, built in 1520;
- the narrow and deep "Valley of the Mills" carved by the river Tronaturo;
- do not miss the wonderful stone portals, wrought by local stonemasons ('800-'900) of the stately palaces that surprise visitors when walking along the narrow alleys of the oldest neighbourhoods of the town.
Watching the area around you get a vision of a rural landscape, in fact, the mountains that surround this area and overlook the short straight of sea around the Island of Dino still preserves the marks of the old agriculture style which used to make land for cultivation and farmyards almost on the tops of the mountains.
The main products of this uncontaminated area are vegetables, legumes or livestock products. The most famous local dishes are homemade pasta topped with white beans, or chickpeas, or with meat sauce pork; roast kid, cheese, ham and other sausages.