In the province of Cosenza, Castrovillari is one of the most important centers of the Pollino National Park area. Located in a natural depression known as the "King Basin, surrounded by the Alps, Calabria, Castrovillari, since ancient times, was an important center for its location close to the roads that connected between the Ionian and the Valley del Crati. The old main center, known as the Civita, stands on the top of highest point of the hill, built here with the intent to fend off the incursions of the Saracens. The town, built on which seem large steps, features the impressive presence of the Aragonese castle, built on top of the hill. Traces reveal the existence of prehistoric settlements on site since the Stone Age, but much more significant, however, are those of the Hellenistic-Roman period.
Not to miss:
- the Aragonese Castle, built in the XV century on the highest point of the promontory and features four towers, battlements and a drawbridge, built to access to the facility, easily surpassing the moat, which presumably surrounded the castle;
- the Shrine of Our Lady of the Castle, built, according to tradition, by Robert Guiscard, after the discovery of an image of the Madonna and Child, during the building of the foundations. Its existence is documented since 1114. The façade features two Romanesque portals and a porch on a high pedestal. The interior, which proposes XVIII century elements, is decorated with precious artworks, such as a XIV century fresco and two paintings of the artist Pietro Negroni and a wonderful XVII century wooden crucifix;
- the Church of San Giuliano, cited in some documents of the XII century, has been remodeled several times over the centuries. Partially rebuilt after the disastrous fire of 1789, it still features its original portal in late Renaissance style and the Bell tower which was built on the ruins of a pre-existing Swabian watch-tower, dating from the XIV century;
- the Convent of San Francesco and the Church of the Holy Trinity, founded on the hill in 1220, by Pietro Lauro Cathin, disciple of St. Francis.