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View of Pizzo
by Jesse Andrews

Market day, Pizzo
by Jesse Andrews

Cross on a church in Pizzo
by Jesse Andrews



Most photos on VisitsItaly are by Jesse Andrews. Please Contact VisitsItaly.Com for reproduction of any kind at:

Welcome to Pizzo
From Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population: 8,596 (2003)
Official site:

One of the most beautiful and famous towns in the Vibo Valentia district of Calabria, and one of the most picturesque areas on the southern coast, is Pizzo .  The town, whose name in dialect means "cliff", is situated on a high promontory overlooking the  Gulf of Sant'Eufemia on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Pizzo, a fishing town whose fish find their way to the menus of many famous restaurants throughout Italy, was built on the ruins of Napitia, a colony of an ancient tribal group, the Focesis.  It has a long, illustrious history. According to local lore, Cicerone visited and St. Peter stopped on his journey to Rome.

Pizzo is notorious for having been the place of the capture and shooting of the former king of Naples, Napoleon's brother in-law, Giachino Murat.  His body was said to have been thrown into a common pit under the floor of St. George Church, and has never been recovered.

The historical centre of Pizzo is characterized by narrow lanes and streets with many interconnecting stairways.  At the intersection of many of these lanes and streets, one finds several squares, some with fountains.  There are numerous palazzi (mansions) once owned by rich merchants and other members of the higher classes, with  interesting architectural detail.

Of course, you will encounter a number of churches as you make your way around the town including the Little Church of the Piedigrotta (see side bar).  Look for the airy piazza, the Spuntone, where you can admire the imposing Aragonese castle in the distance, as well as take in a wide view of the sea from Lamezia to Capo Vaticano.

Pizzo is becoming an ever popular tourist resort town thanks to its mild, sunny climate and to the stunning coastline, where there are many attractions and activities for locals and travellers alike.  Many of these can be better appreciated as you lick the Tartufo gelato for which the town is justifiably famous.  At lunch or dinner try a glass (or two!) of the local wine, know as "Zibibbo".

Region of Calabria

The Cedri Riviera



By Car:
Take the coastal highway SS 18  towards the Vibo Valentia province.  From there, numerous signs point in the direction to Pizzo.  
By train: Roma Napoli Reggio Calabria railway line, Praja-Ajeta-Tortora railway station. By air: Lamezia Terme Airport (CZ)
Pizzo is located 25 KM from the airport.
By boat:
Vibo Valentia Marina.




Inside the Piedigrotto, Pizzo
by Jesse Andrews

A must see in Pizzo: the Little Church of the Piedigrotta.
Legend has it that in about 1600 the  sailors of a shipwrecked boat attributed their survival to a picture of the Madonna that was on board their ship and which also survived the storm.  At first, the picture was secured close to shore, but another storm took it and deposited where the sailors first washed up.  A small statue of the Madonna was made and put in a grotto where it quickly became a shrine.  Two centuries later, a local sculptor began a life-long work sculpting figures out of the tufa rock inside the grotto.  His son and other sculptors have carried on the work.  The carved figures, singly and in groups,  with light filtering in from the sea and sky and reflecting from pools of water in the cave, are deeply affecting.
Read more about the legend of the Piedigrotta.


Tell us about your trip to Pizzo.  What were your favorite places to visit, stay, and dine. 
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