High atop Pancrazio Hill overlooking Cosenza sits the ruins of a castle originally built sometime in the 10th century by the Saracens. The castle has undergone many transformations and served many different purposes over the centuries.
One of the most noticeable transformations took place in 1239, when Emperor Frederick II of Swabia added two octagonal towers to the castle, of which the south-east tower still stands. The castle is believed to have been home to the Emperor’s son, Henry VII, whose remain are believed to be held in an ancient Sarcophagus in Il Duomo di Cosenza.
The castle became home to many others over the years, including Louis III of Anjou, between 1427 and 1434. It was during this period that the castle grew and an upper floor was added, as well as a chapel. The next series of changes took place during the 16th century. While in possession of the Aragonese, the castle was used as an armoury, and later a prison. Unfortunately, after repeated earthquakes in the region, the upper floor collapsed, the structure damaged, and the castle became virtually unusable.
It wasn’t until almost a century later, in 1750, when the Archbishop Capece Galeota purchased the castle and converted it into a summer seminary. This resulted in many revisions including the addition of a portico, new entrance, a cloister in the courtyard, as well as the rebuilding of the upper floor.
During the 1800s, the castle took on a defensive role again, which brought upon even more changes to the castle including part of the structure being converted into a prison. Unfortunately, the region was plagued by more earthquakes causing considerable damage over time to the point where the castle was deemed unfit for use.
Today, the remnants of the castle are still very much present. In fact, the entrance to the castle being used is that of the 18th century. The interior of the castle may be bare now, but with the help of various restorations projects over the years, you can safely walk through the castle and be completely enamored by this centuries old building which has served so many uses throughout the course of history. And, as you walk through the courtyard, you are presented with a breath-taking view of Cosenza.
If you are visiting the city of Cosenza, you definitely don’t want to miss the Castello Normanno-Svevo di Cosenza and its spectacular view over Cosenza.
Admission is free, so there are no excuses!
Directions: Take Corso Bernardino Telesio to Il Duomo. When you pass Il Duomo, you will see signs directing you up the hill to the Castello.