Cosenza’s Historic Gran Caffé Renzelli

July 28, 2014 / Places
Cosenza, Calabria

In the heart of Cosenza’s historical center, in Piazza Parrasio overlooking Corso Telesio between the Duomo and Rendano Theatre, you will find the historic Gran Caffé Renzelli. The café was founded in 1801 by Raffaele Ferrari, great-grandfather of its current owner. It was the meeting place for intellectuals, writers, and Cosenza’s elite.


This historic café is deeply rooted in local history. It is said that the “Fratelli Bandiera”, heroes of the Italian Revolution, stopped here for coffee before they were taken to be executed. And in September 1860, Garibaldi’s soldiers damaged the café during a raging celebration.

Gran Caffé Renzelli is still very much appreciated by the people of Cosenza today. The atmosphere is welcoming and the coffee is still one of the best in the city. It is renowned for its array of delicious sweets such as candied oranges and the café’s signature sweet, “Varchiglia alla Monacale”, originally invented by nuns and dating back to the 1300s. This delicious treat can only be found in this café.

Varchiglia alla Monacale

Stepping into this café is like taking a step back in time. There is nothing quite like sipping your coffee while the barista tells stories of a time long passed. It is definitely a real treat!

Cherrye Moore

by Cherrye Moore

Cherrye Moore is owner of My Bella Vita Travel, a boutique tour operator specializing in custom vacations and heritage tours in southern Italy. Join her in June or September for the Small Group Heritage Tour of Calabria – a unique small group tour that combines group travel with a private heritage tour, or in September for the Undiscovered Southern Calabria and Eastern Sicily Tour.


9 Responses to “Cosenza’s Historic Gran Caffé Renzelli”

  1. Jacqueline Sammarco

    yes, we have been there many times>>my father’s was born nearby. Know Cosenza very well.

    • Wonderful, Jacqueline! I’m glad you get to visit your ancestral town so often. There is a lot to love about the province of Cosenza, that’s for sure!

  2. Giuseppe Spano
    Giuseppe Spano

    certainly un caffe before death is most appropriate…..and if a “Varchiglia alla Monacale”is offered (and there is time) why not…!

  3. donald antonangeli

    wonderful article and photos. Since you are a southern italian traveler and writer, can you tell me what is left of ortona dei marsi(abruzzo) and carpinone ,Campobasso thank you.

    • Oh no, Donald… I’m so sorry. I don’t know. I’ve worked on guidebooks for southern Italy but my base and main concentration is Calabria. Perhaps someone on my team would know more about those places.


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