Walking Guide: Finding “A Ficuzza” in Cosenza’s Historic Centre

It was probably two or three years ago when I first heard about “A Ficuzza”, a very old fig tree in the historic centre of Cosenza.

I can hear you asking, what’s the big deal about a fig tree? Fig trees are everywhere around here but this particular fig tree is different. You see, many years ago, and I mean many, it sprouted from a crack in a wall and has grown to full size.

I love the historic centre and have been more than a few times, but I’ve never seen this so-called fig tree. So, I began asking around to find out where exactly in the historic centre I could find it. But, no one knew!

I asked everyone I could think of and came back with nothing, not even a bread crumb.  I thought to myself, if people who live here don’t know where this mysterious tree is, then I doubt I’ll find anything on the internet, but let’s give it a try anyway.

A few keywords in Google Search and voila, something came up. The tree does exist; it’s not an urban legend. But as I clicked link after link I couldn’t seem to find anything that would help me pinpoint its exact location.

Then, just as I was about to give up, I saw a street name in a search result. Could it be true? Had I found the location of the infamous ficuzza?

There was only one way to find out. I had to go and see for myself. So, along with Nilla of Image Earth Travel and Nilla’s Photography (check her out, she’s awesome!) we set out on a mission to find “a ficuzza”.

Before we made our way to the historic centre, I put in the rough location into Google Maps. But, after almost of an hour of walking in circles, we realized that the GPS on Google Maps wasn’t going to be very helpful. The signal was not accurate at all.

I was beginning to think this tree was just a figment of my imagination! But Nilla wasn’t ready for us to call it in just yet. We found ourselves in front of the Duomo and decided to venture down one more street. And that my friends, was when we found what we were looking for.

And now that I know where it is, I’m sharing it with all of you in this small walking guide so you too can find a ficuzza!

Walking Guide: Finding ‘A Ficuzza’ in Cosenza Vecchia

Here is a Google Map that highlights as accurately as possible the route you’ll need to take. I do suggest that you use the images in this guide to help keep you on the right track.

Piazza Dei Bruzi

I’m going to start the walk from Piazza dei Bruzi because it’s a good meet up point and most people staying in Cosenza will be staying in the city centre.

walking guide fascism cosenza

Make your way across the Busento River towards Piazza dei Valdesi. You may already be familiar with this part of the walk from my History of Fascism in Cosenza Walking Guide.

Corso Bernardino Telesio

Take the narrow Corso Bernardino Telesio into the historic centre.  This street is named after Italian Philosopher and Natural Scientist, Bernardino Telesio. You can see a statue of him in front of the Rendano Theatre at the end of the street in Piazza XV Marzo. This street was once the main road for the ancient city of Cosenza.

Piazza Duomo

Follow Corso Telesio until you reach the beginning of Piazza Duomo. Turn around and face the direction you just came from. You’ll see this interesting street.

Follow the street on the left of what I like to call the “half-building”.

Via Abate Francesco Saverio Saffi

Follow this small narrow street, which will take you through old archways.

It may seem a bit like a maze, but it’s actually quite simple. You will find yourself at a corner that looks like this.

A Ficuzza in old Cosenza

On the wall is the street sign Via Abate Salfi (although on Google it has a different name – no wonder it was hard to find!)

Keep following the street that you are on. You’ll see some stairs leading up further into the historic centre, you don’t want to take those.

As you continue to follow the road, you’ll notice this on your right-hand side.

Keep walking ahead and you’ll come across another painting on the wall.

Once you see this painting, you know you are very close.  Because, just past this painting is another corner and as you make your way around the bend, you’ll find the fig tree waiting for you.

A Ficuzza in old Cosenza

“For a tree to become tall it must grow tough roots among the rocks.”
(Friedrich Nietzsche)

That’s pretty cool, don’t you think? It was certainly worth getting lost in the historic centre for!

Now you can make your way back the way you came and you could stop into the beautiful Duomo of Cosenza and even go further up to Piazza XV Marzo.

Hope you enjoyed this walking guide, be sure to follow my blog for more.

A presto!


  1. Elena

    July 31, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    OMG! Life must go on…even for a little FiG! So wonderful the people have left the tree to grow there. I love the old charm of this area…feels like you walked into the past. Thanks for telling us where it is…love to take the walk some day. My family is from Rogliano and hope to go there next summer. Your photos are lovely. TC Elena

    1. LuLu

      August 3, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      Ya, I love walking through the old town and imagining what it would have been life back in the day! 🙂 My dad’s town is very close to Rogliano! 🙂 Have you ever been there before?

  2. erin

    July 25, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    I’ve never heard of this, but I LOVE it! Pinning it now so others can follow your guide. The historic buildings are beautiful, as are the paintings…and I love the tree. I wish I could transport myself in the blink of an eye from my desk to that spot with the half building and the fork in the road. 🙂 It’s such a beautiful old building.

    1. LuLu

      July 26, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Thank you so much! 🙂 Don’t you just love the half building?! It’s one of my favorite parts of the old town!

  3. Julie

    July 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    That tree is so cool! I sure do miss the figs in Italy…

    1. LuLu

      July 26, 2017 at 8:16 am

      I believe it, the figs in Italy are so delicious!

  4. Sharon

    July 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Oooo this sounded like a fun treasure hunt! Thanks for sharing your tips!

    1. LuLu

      July 26, 2017 at 8:16 am

      It was quite comical. The GPS had us going around in circles in an area not even close to the actual location of the tree! The locals of the area must have thought we were crazy!

  5. Kris

    July 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I loved looking at the photos – all these places look incredible!

    Have a lovely day,
    xx Kris


    1. LuLu

      July 26, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Thanks, Kris! Have a great week! 🙂

  6. Amanda

    July 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Wow…that is super cool! Love the old historic buildings!

    1. LuLu

      July 24, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks! Ya, I love the old buildings, too!

  7. Janice Kinderman

    July 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    How fun! I loved this. So are Calabrians known for being stubborn because I am full blooded and I hate ever giving up on anything!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing the story and the beautiful photos.

    1. LuLu

      July 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      We had a fun time! And yes, Calabrians are known for being a bit “testa dura” or hard-headed. I look at it as a positive thing! 😛 So glad you enjoyed the guide!

  8. Deborah Regen

    July 21, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Now there’s a different kind of adventure! Now you can call yourself the “tree hunter.” I’m sure I could easily get lost walking around those narrow streets and alleys in the historic district.

    1. LuLu

      July 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Hahahah that’s true! I’ll be on the hunt for other trees just like there, which ironically aren’t uncommon! 🙂 You could easily spend hours walking around the historic centre here, there are still parts I haven’t explored yet!

  9. Thomas Sanderson

    July 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Loving this post, the writing and the pictures are beautiful! Really looks like an amazing place to explore and walk around. Im glad you found the tree and stuck with your determination. Perhaps one day i’ll find myself doing the same.

    1. LuLu

      July 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s amazing what a little determination (and a very helpful friend) can do!

  10. Jessica

    July 21, 2017 at 11:29 am

    What a beautiful walk! I love all the architecture!

    1. LuLu

      July 21, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      I love walking around imagining what it was like so many years ago. Some areas of Old Cosenza have been left abandoned and it breaks my heart! 🙁

      1. Janice

        August 2, 2017 at 12:32 am

        My cousin Giorgio works in Cosenza at the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, an architect that specializes in restoration and art history and in previous years worked as Superintendent of monuments of Calabria protecting and enhancing historic and artistic heritage of Calabria. This is his passion.

        1. LuLu

          August 3, 2017 at 7:57 pm

          That’s really cool! Cosenza is so rich with history and interesting cultural events! I love discovering new things here.

  11. Melissa Edwards

    July 20, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    That’s amazing! I want to see it one day!

    1. LuLu

      July 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      It was pretty cool! Thanks for commenting, you know you are always welcome to come visit! 🙂

  12. Olivia

    July 20, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Love the fact that you sought out this local legend! Gorgeous photos, love that half house!

    1. LuLu

      July 21, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      Me too! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, it’d been years of trying to find out where exactly it is. Old Cosenza is pretty big so you can’t really just wander around without any sort of idea! Success! 🙂

  13. KareninCalabria

    July 20, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Great you found it! Funny how so many locals knew of the legend, but never bothered to actually look for the tree. Very nice photos – I particularly like the arches. Your fig tree reminds me of the olive tree on the rock in the water in Palmi. It’s such a landmark that it’s still in all the tourist brochures, despite the fact that it’s dead. I wonder if they’ll eventually try to replace it.

    1. LuLu

      July 20, 2017 at 7:57 am

      I really was thinking it was just made up after a while. It was so cool to actually find it. I’d never head of the olive tree in Palmi, nature is an incredible thing! It’s sad that the tree is dead. 🙁

  14. Image Earth Travel

    July 19, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Excellent post and photos! Brought back great memories of when we walked around aimlessly trying to find the imaginative tree! Clearly, locals thought we were lost after passing them several times in the same alleyways.
    Do you think it’s the Calabrese background that makes me stubborn and doesn’t allow me to give up, which you witnessed on this day?
    It was loads of fun and thankful that you asked me on your “Ficuzza Adventure”. 😉

    1. LuLu

      July 19, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks, I was so glad to have you along with me on the adventure! Without you I probably would have given up, I really began thinking it was all a hoax! 😛 I’m sure the locals thought we were lost and possibly a bit crazy. And, I’m 100% certain it’s your Calabrese blood that kept us going and I’m so glad we did! A great day I’ll always remember with a smile on my face.

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