Cosenza is situated in a valley at the junction of the Crati and Busento rivers, and has always been known for its rich cultural life. The historical center is one of the best preserved in Italy, with finely renovated palaces, medieval squares, old craftshops and lively areas full of people in the evenings. The economy is based mostly on commerce and services, though in more recent years there has been a remarkable growth of tourism, thanks to the city's position, midway between the Tyrrhenian and the Sila plateau, the uncontaminated landscapes and rich cooking traditions of cheeses, pork products, wines.
Cosenza is a very ancient town, being, according to Roman historian Strabo, the capital of the Bruttii people, and later came under the infludence of the Greek civilization. In 204 BC it was conquered by the Romans, and became an important communication center along the Via Popilia connecting Rome to Reggio and Sicily.
Here - according to the legend - Goth king Alaric died in 410 A.D. and was buried with all his fabulous treasure, somewhere in the bed of the Busento river. Here too Isabel of Aragon died after falling from her horse on the way home from the Eighth Crusade.
After the Longobards, the area was occupied by the Byzantines, Aragonese, Spaniards. In the 16th century, Cosenza became the center of a flourishing Academy and here 16th-century philosopher Bernardino Telesio (1509-1588) was born.