Welcome to Pizzo
Jesse's Journeys in Italy
Population: 8,596 (2003)
Official site: n/a
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
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
Of course, you will encounter a
number of churches as you make
your way around the town
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
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
coastal highway SS 18 towards the
Vibo Valentia province. From
there, numerous signs point in the
direction to Pizzo.
Roma – Napoli – Reggio Calabria railway
line, Praja-Ajeta-Tortora railway
Terme Airport (CZ)
Pizzo is located 25 KM from the airport.
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
Read more about the legend of the
us about your trip to Pizzo. What
were your favorite places to visit,
stay, and dine.
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