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Italy is a country that hardly needs introduction. Its history is long and illustrious, its art and culture are visible at every turn and its cities are some of the most beautiful in the world. Famous as the home of the Roman Empire, its antiquities include the preserved town of Pompeii, the monuments of Rome itself and countless other remains from both the Romans and earlier civilisations such as the Greeks and the Etruscans.
Italy consists of 21 regions and is a long boot which stretches from Switzerland to the centre of Mediterranean.
Italy is a country of singular cultural importance. Possessing one of the major literatures and historical and legal traditions in Western Europe, it has also played a unique role in the development of fine art, architecture and music. Now it is a major political partner in the EU, a leading force in fields such as engineering and architecture. It makes an important contribution in technology, design, fashion and car manufacture. It is a prosperous and highly competitive market.
Population: 1 956 115 inhabitants
Surface Area: 15,080 sq km - mountains (42%), hills (49%) and flat land (only 9%)
Provinces: Catanzaro, Cosenza, Reggio Calabria, Crotone and Vibo Valentia
Climate: Calabria enjoys three different types of climate, Tyrrhenian, Ionian and mountain climate.
The Tyrrhenian climate is hot but temperate in Summer and mild in Winter (with a moderate rainfall). The mountain zone has a more alpine climate and peaks are snow-covered in Winter and a welcome cool refuge in Summer. The Ionian area is the hottest and the favourite of sunbathers.
Calabria is a 250 km-long region at the southernmost point of Italy, lying between the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas. It is so narrow that no town or village in the area is more than 50 km from the sea and it is crossed by mountains from the border with Basilicata, in the north, down to the Strait of Messina in the south.
The highest peaks in the region are Monte Pollino (2,248 m) and Serra del Dolcedorme (2,267 m). The Pollino Mountains are a national park, where people can find the characteristic Calabrian pines, with a silvery scaled barks similar to an ancient chain mail, and a vast flowering meadow full of crocuses, violets, cyclamens, bluebells and daisies, surrounded by yellow broom.
Calabria is a 250km-long region at the southernmost point of Italy, lying between the Tyrrhenian and The Sila (divided into Sila Grande, Sila Piccola and Sila Greca) lies farther southeast. The Sila is not a real mountain range, but a long plateau, with peaks mainly under 1,600 m. The area has a whole series of morphological features: mountains, rivers, lakes, woodland, rounded ridges, steep slopes with plunging rivers so different from those on the plateau, deep gorges, hills and river estuaries. Visitors to the Sila can ski, swim in the lakes or ramble through the woods.
In addition to mountains, Calabria has 800 km of coastline and a large number of tourist resorts. The beach is wide and the water is crystal clear. The close proximity of mountains and marine environment has produced interesting, charming and mixed landscapes.
Calabria is a land of ancient Mediterranean civilizations. Calabria’s archaeological patrimony is varied. The abundance of remains in the region is the result of close links with Greece, followed by the Roman conquest. Someone appropriately described Calabria as an open-air museum. The Romans, Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, Normans, Swabs, Angevins, Aragonese, and the Bourbons, they all left here architectural traces of great cultural and artistic importance.
Agriculture still represents an important part of Calabrian economy. Olive trees, citrus and other fruit trees are extensively cultivated. Calabria is a leading producer of olive oil, but also of wine. Over 30,000 hectares of vineyards are cultivated with vines dating back to the times of the Greek settlers. Also Calabrian cooking has become very popular. National and foreign dieticians have discovered that Mediterranean cooking is healthy, but most people think it is very savoury too. Many characteristic restaurants propose real traditional cooking, using olive oil, small or powder red pepper, homemade pasta, aubergines, mushrooms, local cheese and so on.
Cosenza (population 68 913), a provincial capital in Calabria, stands at the confluence of two rivers. The old town, overshadowed by its castle, descends to the River Crati, whereas the growing modern city lies to the north, beyond the Busento, on level ground. The historic city centre is crossed by the winding Corso Telesio.
"To call the town picturesque is to use an inadequate word," wrote George Gissing in his 1901 travelogue, By The Ionian Sea. "At every step, from the opening of the main street at the hill-foot up to the stern medieval castle crowning its height, one marels and admires. So narrow are the ways that a cart drives the pedestrian into shop or alley; two vehicles (but perhaps the thing never happened) would with difficulty pass each other."
Cosenza succeeds Cosentia, the capital of the Bruttians, which came early under the influence of the Greek settlements of Magna Graecia. Taken by Rome in 204 BC, in imperial times it was an important stop on the Via Popilia, linking Rome with Reggio and Sicily. Alaric the Visigoth died here in AD 412 (probably Malaria) on his way back to Sicily after the sack of Rome. Legend holds that he was buried along with his treasurer in the bed of the Busento River, the waters having been diverted for the occasion and then restored to their natural channel. Twice destroyed by the Saracens, the town was conquered by Robert Guiscard, but it rebelled against the rule of his half-brother Roger, who managed to restore his authority only after a siege (1087). In the 13C, 14C and 15C the city shifted its loyalties several times in the struggle between the Aragonese and the Angevins, and Louis III of Anjou died here in 1434 while campaigning against the Aragonese.
A notable centre of humanistic culture in the 16C, Cosenza was the birthplace of philosopher Bernardino Telesio (1509-88), whose ideas were instrumental in freeing scientific research from theological restrictions. The city contributed freely to the liberal movement in the 19C and participated in the uprisings of 1848 and 1860. It was damaged by earthquakes in 1783, 1854, 1870 and 1905, and frequently bombed in 1943. Today it is an important commercial and agricultural centre. The University of Calabria, Italy's newest and most modern, lies on the outskirts to the north of Cosenza.
Rende is one of the most modern towns in the Province of Cosenza. It stands on a lovely hill dominating the Crati Valley, just 8 km from the capital of province, the town of Cosenza. Rende is a small town of 34 045 inhabitants situated in a country area.
According to the tradition, it was founded (with the name of Aryntha) by some refugees escaped from the city of Troy after its destruction.
The city hall is in the old "Palazzo Feudale" built in the XII century and restored in the XVI century by Alarcon Mendoza's family. Rende preserves a fascinating historic centre, studded with lovely, ancient churches and superb noble residences.
The new part of the town is distinguished by its regular and ordered town plan and is also noteworthy for its avant-garde services and infrastructure. It was built up during the sixties, in the flatland along the river Crati.
Rende and Cosenza are practically joined since only a small river separates the two towns. The centre of Cosenza is well connected to the University campus by a bus service.
How to reach Arcavacata di Rende
From Cosenza the Campus can be reached by university buses, which leave each hour from the Bus Station (Stazione Autolinee) and call at Castiglione Cosentino Scalo (nearby the railway station), in Rende. The railway station is about 3 km from the University (10 minutes by bus, 20 minutes on foot).
The railway stations of Cosenza and Castiglione Cosentino are well connected to the main station of Paola (21 minutes) which, in turn, is connected to Rome and Milan by inter-city trains. Some inter-city trains also connect Rome to Cosenza and Castiglione Cosentino, without the need of changing train in Paola.
The University can also be reached by plane. There are daily flights from Milan, Rome and Florence to Lametia Terme which is connected by bus to the Bus Station in Cosenza (55 minutes). Many cheap flights are available (excluding Winter) from most European capitals to Lamezia. By car or taxi, the airport is about one hour from the University.
Finally the University is less than 1 km far from the "Cosenza Nord" exit of the A3 highway (Salerno-Reggio Calabria). Getting onto the state road SS 18 (Silana-Crotonese), towards Paola, and following the road signs to University, Campus can be reached in about 5 minutes.