A small village in the province of Cosenza, Altomonte, surrounded by the imposing mountains of the Pollino, in Roman times was mentioned by Pliny the Elder with the name "Balbo", famous for its wine known with the name of Balbiano. Later, in 1065, the name was changed to "Brahalla", in reference to its Arabic origins and finally, in 1352, the town received its current name of Altomonte, at the behest of Queen Giovanna.
The town was founded for defensive reasons and is situated on a hill that extends from the plain of the river Impiso to the valleys of rivers Fiumicello and Gronde. It has preserved its medieval setting with houses that lean against each other and narrow alleys. Characteristic are also the stone portals of the XVII-XIX centuries, craftworks of the local skilled masons.
Not to miss:
- the Castle, perched on top of the hill, whose original structure is articulated around the small central courtyard and is the result of several alterations and refurbishments that have gradually expanded and transformed the original core of the XII century, the Tower Palotta, built by the Normans around 1050, on the edge of the cliff;
- the monumental Church of the Consolation and the Dominican convent, one of the most important architectonic examples, built during the Angevin domain in Calabria. The Church, erected in 1336, was donated to the Dominican monks, that in 1443 built the adjoining monastery, later enlarged in the XVI century. The Baroque refurbishments of the interior were removed during a restoration, that took place in the last century, aiming to restore to the building its medieval appearance. The façade of the church preserves the original lines with a rose window and 16 columns and decorations. The portal entrance is marked by wooden doors, which date back to 1580, while on the right hand side a XVI century portal with a pointed arch and stucco decorations provides access to the Chapel of the Baptistery. Inside is preserved the monumental Tomb of Filippo Sangineto (1350), whose coffin features the list of the Theological Virtues. The convent of the Dominicans is also famous because it became the home of the famous philosopher Tommaso Campanella, between 1558 and 1589.