Paola is the most important town of the Riviera dei Cedri (Cedars Riviera), a coastal stretch characterized by large beaches and crystal clear sea. The Northern Tyrrhenian coastal area also includes a portion of the mountains that stand immediately behind the coastline. The centre of the town is 94 m above sea level and is about 2 kilometers far from the sea shore where long and wide beaches lie. The sea resort is very crowded in the summer period and it is provided with touristic and bathing facilities. Paola is renowned for the Sanctuary of San Francis of Paola, run by the Order of the Friars Minor, that is the main destination of the religious tourism in Calabria. In fact, an increasing number of pilgrims visit every year the religious complex located on the sloped mountain overlooking Paola built-up area. The town has ancient and uncertain origins. No scholar has yet found where it was funded and the etymology of its name. The historiographer Romano Napolitano maintains that the name Paola could derive from the Latin Pabula (pastureland). Leonardo Izzi, the author of the book Spigolando su Guardia Fuscaldo e Paola, claims that the name “Paula” was cited in a privilege by Roger, the Duke of Apulia and Calabria, who was the son of Robert Guiscard. The document concerns the donations that the Duke and other lords made to Guglielmo, the Abbot of Sant'Angelo di Mileto. The donors included a certain Crasso who offered a peasant: Et hos dedit Bonus Crassus: Mule de Paula cum filius. Another official document dated 1110 confirms that Sica, the wife of the Norman Robert of Bubum, Lord of Fuscaldo, offered a sum of money to a group of religious people, who settled in the area of present-day Badia, to build the Monastery Catino di Santa Maria della Valle Giosafat e delle Fosse and to extend ministries to the church of San Michele. During the Swabian period, the town began to develop. The Ruffo family was the first to be granted the local fief. When Count Antonio Ruffo died, he left two daughters, Polissena and Novella. In 1418 Polissena married Francesco Sforza, who became the Duke of Milan, and she brought him Paola and other nearby villages.


Address Complesso Sant'Agostino
  Largo Mons. G.M. Perrimezzi n.6
  87027 Paola (CS
Phone number +39 0982 5800303
Website http://www.comune.paola.cs.it


Paola lies along the coast and it is one of the favorite sea resorts of the area. Moreover, it is the main railway station in Cosenza Tyrrhenian Coast. Paola is the most important town of the Riviera dei Cedri (Riviera of Cedars), a coastal stretch characterized by large beaches and crystal clear sea. The Northern Tyrrhenian coastal area also includes a portion of the mountains that stand immediately behind the coastline.

Paola is the birthplace of Saint Francis of Paola, the founder of the order of the Friars Minor and patron saint of Calabria. The local Sanctuary is dedicated to Saint Francis. Several Renaissance and Baroque buildings form the complex that was built in an isolated corner of the Isca stream gorge. The majestic complex is located a little far from the upper town. It can be easily reached by the state road n. 18, or driving along Corso Garibaldi, the main town road, that joins a road trunk characterized by thirteen mosaic niches reproducing the miracles of the Saint. The monastery of Saint Francis of Paola offers a splendid view. One of the two wings of the complex was built on the deep gorge of a river that flows from the mountain, while the other wing follows the outline of the mountain. The architectural features are remarkable: the gothic portal and cloister reproduce the severe and simple lines of Calabrian monuments. A large square overlooking the coast and the town lies in front of the solemn and elegant church. The tuff stone façade includes two overlapping orders: the arch entrance opens in the lower side, between pilasters and columns; the central balcony is located in the upper side and houses a pointed arch and two rectangular windows at each side. Inside the church, the two naves have different lengths. The main nave is separated from the smaller one by four ogival and one pointed arches. The windows have precious painted glasses reproducing the life of the Saint. Behind the main altar, a 15th-century fresco of Madonna degli Angeli stands. In the left chapel, a cabinet keeps a silver bust of the Patron saint and some relics: the mantle, cowl, socks, sandals, tooth. A 16th-century diptych by Dirck Hendricksz reproducing Saint Francis of Paola and Saint Francis of Assisi stands on the altar. Besides the Sanctuary, other important landmarks include the small Church of Addolorata, built on the site where the Saint was born. The building rises near the lovely Popolo square, just beyond the Gate of Saint Francis, that gives access to the ancient town area. The baroque Church of Madonna di Monte Vergine stands in this area. It keeps and interesting Byzantine-style panel reproducing Our Lady and Child. On the left of the square, along Corso Garibaldi, the Church of Madonna del Rosario is located. It houses the remarkable 18th-century polychrome marble main altar and some refined 17th-century paintings that include a Madonna della Purità, by Dirck Hendricksz. On top of a small rise, the Main Church of SS. Annunziata characterized by three front Romanic arcades stands. The hypogeum Church of Carmine is fascinating. The church is also called Sotterra and dates back to the 10th century. It was discovered around 1876 during the construction of a single nave small church. The underground church is remarkable for the large fresco in the apse, reproducing the Vergin Mary and the twelve Apostles, in a pure Calabrian-Byzantine style, that have some common features with those present in the Cattolica di Stilo. The fresco is supposed to be one of the most ancient paintings in Calabria.

The following landmarks deserve a visit: the ruined Castle, square Tower near the railway station, Churches of S. Francesco and Rosario, Main Church, Church of S. Franceschiello, Church of Santa Caterina and the interesting Church of Sottotera, where some of the most ancient Christian paintings in Calabria are kept.