Nestled in the Calabrian hills lies a charming town that many visitors have yet to discover – Altomonte. With its ancient architecture, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history, this town is an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic Italian experience.
Altomonte’s history dates back to the 10th century when it was founded by the Lombards, an ancient Germanic tribe. The town’s strategic location on a hilltop made it an important center of trade and a significant fortress. Over the centuries, it was ruled by various noble families, including the Norman, Swabian, and Aragonese, each of which left their mark on the town’s architecture and culture.
One of the most impressive landmarks in Altomonte is the Castello Federiciano, a fortress built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century. The castle’s thick walls, towers, and battlements served as protection against invaders and as a residence for the emperor when he visited the town. Today, the castle is open to visitors who can explore its interior and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Another must-see attraction in Altomonte is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Built in the 16th century, the cathedral boasts a stunning Baroque façade adorned with intricate sculptures and frescoes. Its interior is equally impressive, featuring ornate altars, a wooden choir, and a magnificent organ.
For those interested in history, a visit to the Museo Civico is a must. The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts from Altomonte’s past, including ancient pottery, weapons, and paintings. Among its most prized possessions is a collection of medieval manuscripts and documents that offer a glimpse into the town’s rich cultural heritage.
One of the most unique experiences in Altomonte is exploring its underground tunnels. These narrow passageways, known as “crypts,” were built in the 17th century to provide residents with a secret escape route in case of invasion. Today, visitors can wander through the dark tunnels and marvel at the skill and ingenuity of the town’s ancestors.
Beyond its historical and cultural treasures, Altomonte is also known for its natural beauty. The town is surrounded by lush forests, rolling hills, and sparkling streams, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, cycling, and horseback riding are popular activities in the area, and there are plenty of trails and paths to explore.
As for culinary delights, Altomonte has plenty to offer. The town is famous for its cured meats, cheeses, and olives, which can be found in local markets and restaurants. Traditional dishes like the pitta stuffed with meat, vegetables, and cheese, and the sagne chine, a type of pasta with a spicy tomato sauce, are also must-tries.
Trivia about Altomonte:
- Altomonte’s name is believed to have originated from the Latin words “altus mons,” which means “high mountain.”
- The town’s coat of arms features an image of a falcon, which is said to represent the emperor Frederick II, who was a keen falconer.
- Altomonte is home to a rare breed of horse known as the “Cavallo di Altomonte.” These majestic horses are known for their strength and beauty and have been bred in the area for centuries.
In conclusion, Altomonte is a hidden gem that offers visitors a glimpse into Italy’s rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, this enchanting town has something to offer. So, if you’re planning a trip to Italy, be sure to put Altomonte on your previous sentence or idea in your conclusion and write another 2-3 sentences expanding it further.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Italy, be sure to put Altomonte on your itinerary. This town may not be as well-known as some of the more popular Italian destinations, but it is certainly worth a visit. Its charming streets, stunning architecture, and beautiful countryside make it a truly unique and memorable destination. So why not take a break from the crowds and discover the enchanting town of Altomonte for yourself?