• Question: what is your hometown?

    Asked by Xactoe to Peppe on 16 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Giuseppe Cotugno

      Giuseppe Cotugno answered on 16 Nov 2017:

      My hometown is the second largest city of Calabria, it is called Cosenza. It is a pre-roman settlement which was inhabited by the “Bruzi”, of which we know very few. They were making money by selling glue from the trees of the near-by Sila mountain and they were trading with the Greek settlements on the Jonio coast. They were conquered by the Roman and they supported Hannibal during his invasion of the Roman Empire. As such, they were annihilated by the Romans after Hannibal got defeated. The barbarian King Alaric passed away in Cosenza and a legend says that he buried the treasure looted from Rome in the local little river of Crati. The legend also says that he vowed on his bed that “no European or Italian will ever find my treasure”, recently the mayor of Cosenza founded an archaeological expedition to find where it is. Cosenza was a fairly important city during the middle-age as King Frederick I (Barbarossa) built a castle which can be seen today and it has been recently renovated and it has a beautiful Italian-style historical part (lots of little roads) although it is kept in poor conditions. The philosopher Bernardino Telesio, one of the first theorist of the scientific methodology, lived in Cosenza in the XV century. Nothing else notable happened in the city that I can recall, as the place was mostly living of agriculture and nobility until the unification of Italy. Afterwards, the place fell in poverty until it started to expand very quickly in the 1960s with a lot of blocks of flats and the city flourished after a motorway was build around that time (it is technically still under construction) and the local University of Calabria was built. The university is famous for engineering, economics and sciences in the country. The region were Cosenza is, Calabria, it is well known to be the place of the corporate headquarters of the ‘Ndrangheta, one of the currently most influential mafia organisations in the world. Cosenza itself is a few hours away from the headquarters, but it still suffered from the presence of this business and the endemic corruption that allows it to live. Roadworks take a few years to get completed and then have to be re-done, and finding any job is an extremely challenging operation if you don’t have a “friend” that works as a politician (or even in the mafia), which is one of the main reasons behind the mass emigration of people in the last 150 years. Cosenza in itself is not a major tourist place yet (the current mayor tried to improve the situation a bit) but it is conveniently placed half an hour drive from the coast and the mountain, so it is could be a good base for travels in the area. If you wish to get a little bit more far, you can reach even the Jonio coast and old towns in the mountain populated by Albanian refugees of the 15th century which still retain their traditions and language (in form of dialect). The closest airport is Lamezia Terme