Altilia, Cosenza, Calabria

Altilia is a beautiful little town nestled high up in the mountains in the province of Cosenza. The panorama of the surrounding mountains is quite remarkable. As I stood high up on a terrace it was as if I was standing in a painting – the sky was clear and I could see nothing but mountains for miles and miles.

Panorama from terrace in Altilia

Panorama from terrace in Altilia

This town, with a population of just under 800 people, is the birthplace of my zia. She lived in this town for about 16 years before her family moved to Canada. I accompanied my zia as she returned to the town that was once her home many years ago. Although her family no longer lives in this town, her face was recognized by many of the townspeople she knew as a child.

Outside of the priest’s house in Altilia

Although many of these small towns and villages have similarities, each one is so uniquely different. Once you’ve seen one, you really haven’t seen them all. Each town has its own history, culture, and personality all similar but also all very special and unique.



    June 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    ciao Vicki, io sono Izilda Cleuza Mancin, anche della lingua italiana discesa-DOMENICO MANCIN (di Porto Tolle-RO). Mio Figlio è il pronipote TANCREDI AIELLO, è nato a Altilia nel 1880. Io non so dove trovare il suo certificato di battesimo, e quel reparto può localizar.Ele venuto a Brasi con i suoi genitori Raffaele Aiello e MARIA ANTONIA AIELLO a 11/06 / 1888. Puoi darmi un suggerimento? Vi ringrazio e attendo risposte. abbraccio a te e famiglia.

  2. Victor Panza

    January 16, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    To John Dattola:

    Elmer Dattola is my grandfather (Verona). Love to catch up. The email in your posts does not work, and hope you can reach me.

    Vic Panza

  3. Vicki Aiello

    January 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

    The Panoramic Picture is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Our family is working on a written family history of our ancestor Giuseppe Aiello who was born in Ailtilia on April 8, 1879. I have had a difficult time finding records or information about the small village where he was born.

  4. Paula Turpin

    January 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    My Granfather Fortunato Ralph Greco was born in Atilia , Italy, May Sixth ,1903.
    He came to the United States in December 17TH , 1920 , on the S S Giuseppe
    Verdi. I was wondering if any family is still there. My name is Paula Turpin .

  5. sarah

    January 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    To Lina Brunetto, are you familiar with a family by the name of Gimigliano or Givigliano? they are from Maione and changed the name to Julian after moving to Spokane in the early 1900’s.

    1. Lina Brunetto

      February 5, 2012 at 8:59 am

      My mom and dad would of probably known them.. We lived in Spokane all of our life when we came to America. We have have some stories to tell. Maione is a beautiful small dwon right below Altilia. Everyone knew everyone over there and most of those people that came from that area moved to the Northwest. Where do you live? please do keep in touch with me and run more questions past me maybe I will remember.. I am planning on going back there maybe next year. I love to visit my relatives and head on down to Sicilia on my husbands side of the family…Ciao and wished I could of been more help to you..

  6. Lina Brunetto (Guercio)

    January 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Ciao everyone. I to was born in Altilia and I do go back home to visit. I came to America in 1954 when I was only 3 years old. I speak it because my mom and dad always spoke it. I live in Coeur d alene, Idaho. Would love to hear from others from that area. Also I do have pictures of the interior of the church. Please email me at

  7. John Dattola

    February 23, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    A followup to my last e-mail. Elmer D’Attilio, his mother and siblings emigrated to Verona, Pa. which is a suburb of Pittsburgh.
    My uncle Emilio emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Looking forward to hearing from someone that knew my family.
    John Dattola

  8. John Dattola

    February 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    Dear Fellow Calabrese,
    My father was born in Alitalia, and I know it is a little village in the mountains. I have an older cousin that visited years ago, and he told me that most of the village was owned by a Duchess, if that is the correect title.
    The name in Calabria is not Dattola, it is D’attilio, and I may have the spelling wrong. As I have been told, my grandfather, Luigi D’Attilio, was a stone mason. he had several children, and his wife died. He then married a much younger woman, Filomena, which was my grandmother. Luigi and Filomena’s oldest son was Elmer, born in 1885. Then there was Dominic, Mary, Bettina, Sam, Emilio, and Alfredo, my father. I would very much like to hear from someone. my e-mail address is
    God Bless You,
    John Dattola (D’Attilio.)

  9. Natalina Flack (nee Cerra)

    October 25, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Like your zia i too was born in Altilia,
    I left in 1958 with my mother Teresa Cerra , 2 brothers and 1 sister, my father Peter Cerra had left in 1957.
    When my husband Mike found your pictures of Altilia I was very excited. The picture of the priest house came back to me.
    Thank you for sharing this with us, I to plan to return one day.

    Alitilia was such a lovely town. My only regret was that I was unable to go inside the church as it was closed at the time. We did walk around, talked to some of the people living there, and were awed by the views all around us!! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, they certainly don’t do the town justice! 🙂

  10. michelle of bleeding espresso

    November 16, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    So true. I’ve been in lots of small villages here, and each one definitely has its own unique feel. Great photos 🙂

    This is the first time I’ve been to Calabria and actually been to other towns. I want to explore more next time I’m there. The pictures I took of Altillia could never do it justice…I stood out on that terrace with my jaw to the floor forever…I just couldn’t walk away!

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