San Francesco da Paola, "The paternese" par excellence, lived and worked in Paterno for over 40 years. The Shrine, founded, according to tradition, by the Saint himself in 1444 witnessed his existence. Since then, Paterno and the Shrine have lived in deep symbiosis: every important moment in the life of the first revolves around the second, as in an unbreakable bond that goes beyond time and which leads to overcoming even the most profound atheism.
Its interior is to be considered a small museum due to the large number of works of art that are preserved within it, among which are two paintings of St Anne. The walls of the cloister feature several frescoes representing episodes of the life of San Francesco di Paola: also deserving a visit are the cave and the oratory. In addition to the shrine, worthy of a visit is the Church of St. Peter and Paul.
Paterno in the past was an extremely important centre within the Cosentino district; such greatness was attested by several historians, which assign a Paterno even an Episcopal centre, around the year 1000. A historic past of sheer splendour of which today only the Shrine remains; a wonderful gem that will ensure that Paterno Calabro remains within the pages of Calabria's history.
The Outdoor Museum is located at an outstanding natural setting and its goal is to enhance the landscape through the eyes and visions of contemporary artists, through which the zeitgeist (the spirit of time) is able to express itself. The museum offers the possibility of adding to the wonder aroused by the beauty of creation, the alienating and engaging experience of using a work of art. The creation of an aesthetic-meditative environment with a preference for spirituality and which serves as a retreat, offers the exciting possibility of taking refuge in beauty and aesthetic pleasures.
The Shrine of San Francesco da Paola at Paterno Calabro was one of the few built by Saint Francis himself, the only case together with that of Paola before the recognition of the Order of Minims. The friar spent many years within the shrine so that solitude and meditation within it would favour his contemplative experience. Still today, despite the changed historical conditions and environmental factors, the Convent of Paterno retains the charm of a time, while solitude and silence are components that are in harmony with the building.
The inside of the shrine is in the baroque style with two aisles, at the end of the side aisle is the Chapel of San Francesco, where the saint's relics are preserved. The cloister can always be accessed from the church. With a square floor-plan, it consisted of six pointed arches on each side, resting on four columns with a quadrangular base; formerly, at the centre there was a well now replaced by a pool.