Pizzo is a small village in Calabria that will make you fall in love. This small town is a Calabrian jewel and today we will take you on an unforgettable tour! Today we are going to Pizzo! So, let’s do it! Here at Traveling to Calabria you make the trip of your dreams!!! Are you staying in Calabria? Looking for a hotel? Click here and discover best accommodation options in Calabria!
A little more about Pizzo…
Pizzo Calabro is a small town in the province of Vibo Valentia that appears on a promontory in the Gulf of Santa Eufemia, just in front of the island of Stromboli, from the Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie, in Italian). The name derives from the dialect Pizzu that means ‘the tip’, which refers to its position overlooking the sea. Today is a small and characteristic old village of medieval origin that retains the typical look of small town on the seashore with slight streets that open on minor courtyards and balconies, facing the sea, beaches and the cliffs. Within the village there are many monuments and very old churches that can be visited. From Aragonese origins, the village was built for being a royal residence of the king of the kingdom of Naples, but in reality Pizzo Calabro was founded as a colony of Magna Graecia. Read also How to find Calabrian Relatives?
Pizzo Calabro is certainly one of the most spectacular and tourist places of the Calabrian region, as well the most appreciated of tourists. The beautiful beaches and the crystalline sea make this town one of the most crowded destinations during the summer months, and not only!
What to see in Pizzo?
In addition to the many rich coves of natural rocks and fascinating caves (among them the Blue Grotto) next to this characteristic village we are driven and curious in wanting to admire the old beauties still very conserved. Moving to the heart of the inhabited center, towards the main square called Republic Square, the old town and tourist center, where we can easily see the main monuments and the endless beauties of Pizzo. Read also What to see in Calabria using public transportation in four days?
Church of San Giorgio
The first fundamental step is, certainly, the church of San Giorgio from 1500 AD. that displays an immense baroque frontage, with a portal of white marble that contains, internally, marble statues coming from monasteries and convents, destroyed by the earthquake of 1783, very well protected. The jewel attached to this church can be attributed to Bernini, the statue of San Giovanni Battista.
Church of Piedigrotta
Always in the historical center on the promontory, we can also visit the church of Piedigrotta, which was excavated in the rock by some shipwrecked of Neapolitan origin who thanked God for being still alive. The little church was defined as the highest expression of the popular religious art of southern Italy. It is more visited than any other museum or church in Calabria. It is entirely excavated on the tuff rocks that push up to the sea coast in a locality called La Madonella, about a kilometer north of Pizzo, along the coast road that links Pizzo to the highway. The interior is all of tuff, the walls and the pavement, as well the sculptures. The best time to visit is the afternoon, before sunset. The small church is composed of a central nave and three openings on each side that give life to other stanze-capelle (chapels-rooms), which are structured along the cavern.
From the main entrance one immediately notices the miraculous picture of Madonna col Bambino placed in a glass stele and the Mensa; framing everything there are two groups of angels placed next to the greater altar. Inside the grotto of the church the statues in sandstone, represent personages of the Sacred Scripture.
And there’s more…
Another element, which we cannot leave aside because it is noteworthy, is the gracious church of Purgatory of Pizzo. It was built in the middle of the seventeenth century by the will of the local congregation of fishermen and sailors. Entitled to the souls of purgatory, because many of the faithful came from the city of Rocca Angitolam, which was destroyed by an earthquake, where there was a church with the same name.
Church of the Dead
Besides, is also known as the Church of the Dead, since it was part of the Basilica Fathers’ Convention, where, in the crypts, buried bodies are preserved before the burial on the cemeteries. The structure is attached to the Oratorio of the Arciconfraternity of the Madonna delle Grazie, and they are shown in the frontage of the building.
The Castle of Pizzo Calabro
Further down, in relation to the Square plan, we find the Castle of the second half of the fifteenth century, famous for the eposodeo of Gioacchino Murat, the brother-in-law of Napoleon Bonaparte, who came from Corsica to reconquering the kingdom of Naples; imprisoned and sentenced to death in 1815, for having attempted to raise a popular movement against Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. The castle of Pizzo Calabro was raised again in the second half of the fifteenth century by the will of Federico I of Aragon, interfering in a stronghold of the Anjou’s epoch. Certainly, it is one of the things that cannot be missed among the thousand beauties of this small town. In the Aragonese Castle we will find an old sculpture made by Antonio Canova which was built in honor of Gioacchino Murat. With a great conservation, in its internal houses a small historical museum.
Pizzo Calabro is not only history but it is also, above all, the city of tartufo, the typical specialty of the city. I recommend you, after finish seeing the town, to make at least one stop at any bar to try the famous white or black tartufo, a ball of hazelnut ice cream with a creamy chocolate heart, a delight for all palates! Do not miss it, absolutely! Read about Best cooking schools in Calabria!
How to get to Pizzo?
1) How to get to Pizzo? BY PLANE
The Lamezia Terme Airport is 20 km from Pizzo. To get to Pizzo Calabro there are comfortable car services. Another airport in the area is Crotone (65 km), which is also well served with car services or can be reached by train or bus. Both options have lines services with major Italian and European airports, and private seasonal services.
2) How to get to Pizzo? BY TRAIN
Pizzo Calabro has two stations in the Italian railway complex:
- Pizzo is a station in the city with local train between Lamezia Terme and Gioia Tauro or Reggio Calabria; the tourist stations have important trains line that connects to Rome and other northern cities.
- Vibo Valentia – Pizzo is the station that sits on the main line and serves these two cities. It is located a few kilometers from the city, with public services.
- Here is the trains stop: Eurostar, Intercity, night trains with bunk beds and sleeping coaches, which connect with Naples, Rome, Florence, Torino, Milan, Venice and other northern cities as well as cities of Calabria and Sicily.
3) How to get to Pizzo? BY CAR
It is possible to reach Pizzo Calabro by the A3 highway (without tollbooths) that links Naples to Reggio Calabria. Must get off at Pizo Calabro and, in a few minutes of road, one arrives in the city (6 km). In addition, it is crossed by the state road Tirrenica 18, and by other roads that connects others centers of the coast or leads to Calabria.
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IMPORTANT TO KNOW!
Remember that to drive in Italy it is MANDATORY to have the International Driving License, the famous IDP (International Driving Permit). The certificate is not issued in Italian, but it is accepted in English! The IDP lasts 180 days (it depends where you live) and is issued by the Traffic Department of your country (if you have the European Driver License, you don’t need to worry about it!).
After receiving all the precious information about this charming locality, which surprises us with its natural beauties and its cultural assets, there is nothing left but to visit Pizzo and admire, step by step, everything we have mentioned.
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