A village on the south western side of the Pollino mountain chain. Already in existence during the middle ages, it was then populated by the Albanians.
Civita...immersed in the rugged Pollino mountains, below the "Raganello Canyon" .
The Raganello Valley
Situated on the eastern slopes of the Pollino, Civita is a hill town and comune in the province of Cosenza.
Castrum Sancti Salvatoris, ancient city of Cossa, was destroyed by an earthquake in 1456 and re-founded under the name of Civita in 1471 by Albanian refugees.
The town is part of the Pollino National Park, not far from Frascineto and Eianina, and among Italy's Albanian historic communities (Arbëreshë) as officially recognized by the Italian law.
Below the colorful costumes worn by the women
The mountain village is also known to locals as the Devil Bridge due to panoramic bridge built over one of Italy's deepest gorge...the so called 'Raganello Gorge". Others refer to it as the "Rocky Village" (Il paese delle rocce).
Below, the breathtaking view of
the bridge & Raganello Gorge
The Raganello gorge present itself to visitors with one of Calabria's most beautiful scenery, where you can also practice canoeing and rafting.
The starting point is at an altitude of 750 m. near Lamia water springs and end after traveling 13 km below near the Devil's Bridge.
Like many others, the town is also characterized by a urban structure made of small squares and narrow streets that cross into each other, but what distinguish Civita from them all, is the variety of its chimneys, real artistic masterpieces.
It has without doubt one of the most interesting historical centre in the whole Calabria.
What to see : In the town's centre we find the chapels of the Consolation (Consolazione) , San Antonio and near by we can also admire the church of S. Maria Assunta.
Like many other Calabresi towns in close proximity of a river, here too we find some interesting examples of industrial archaeology including the old water driven spinning-mill and several water mills , many of them concentrated near the Raganello areas.
In the town's square (Piazza Municipio ) we also find the Museum of Albanian Civilization.
Murals on the town hall external facade are inspired by Albanian's history, such " George Skanderberg fighting the Turks".
Skanderbeg, byname of George Kastrioti, or Castriota , the Albanians national hero.
Given as hostage to the Turkish sultan was converted to Islām and educated at Edirne, Turkey and given the name of Iskander—after Alexander the Great—and the rank of bey (hence Skanderbeg) by Sultan Murad II.
During the defeat of the Turks at Niš (1443), in Serbia, Skanderbeg abandoned the Turkish service and joined his Albanian countrymen against the forces of Islam
He embraced Christianity, reclaimed his family possessions, and in 1444 organized a league of Albanian princes, over which he was appointed commander in chief.
In the period 1444–66 he effectively repulsed 13 Turkish invasions, making him a hero throughout the Western world. Through the years he elicited some support from Naples, Venice, and the papacy and was named by Pope Calixtus III captain general of the Holy See.
In 1463 he secured an alliance with Venice that helped launch a new offensive against the Turks. Until the end of his life he continued to resist successfully all Turkish invasions. Within a few years of his death, however, his citadel at Krujë had fallen (1478), and Albania passed into several centuries of obscurity under Turkish rule.
The town can be reached from the Castrovillari-Frascineto exit of the A3.
The "Kodra Houses"
Prowling the streets of the historical centre we come across some house known as Case Kodra, so named in memory of Albanian artist Ibrahim Kodra. They are seven all together, distinguished from the others by their curious morphology that reminds the features of a human face.
The most characteristic chimneys were built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with some being much older. It is not known exactly when this trend began, except that the chimney was the trademark of the master who built the house.
The town is very well organized to cater to tourists. If you will decide to stay at one of the many local B & B's, you will most likely be offered a list of activities by your host who might also be your guide....so just relax and enjoy your stay.
Thank you for visiting Calabria.
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