Pizzo Calabro is a quaint and welcoming fishing village in Calabria. Its old town was built on the steep cliffs overlooking the gulf. This charming village makes for a great day trip if you are visiting Cosenza, Catanzaro or even Reggio Calabria. Pizzo may be a small town but it offers so many great experiences to its visitors.
If you’re planning a trip Calabria, we definitely think Pizzo is worth a visit, and here’s why:
Visit the Cave Church – La Chiesetta di Piedigrotta
La Chiesetta di Piedigrotta is nothing short of extraordinary! According to a 17th-century legend, a group of sailors caught in a terrible storm just off of the coast of Pizzo joined together to pray to the Madonna. Although certain the end was near, they found themselves along with a painting of the Madonna washed up to shore. Grateful for their survival, they decided to build a church in a grotto on the very beach they washed up on. What makes this church unique, is the fact that it, as well as the altar, are carved entirely in stone. As years passed local artists and sculptors have added to the display. The light as it seeps into the cave from the overhead crevices cast a dramatic glow on the statues.
The Chiesetta di Piedigrotta is located on Prangi Beach, about one kilometer from the old town. In order to get to the church, you will have to take a steep staircase leading down to the beach. The staircase is located on Via Riviera Prangi (SS522) opposite the Aquarium Bar. Keep your eyes open on the left-hand side of the street for signs leading you to the staircase.
Re-live the Life and Execution of King Murat at the Murat Castle
The “castle,” which wasn’t really a castle but a fortress, was built in the 15th century by Ferdinand I of Aragon. The castle gets its name from Gioacchino Murat, who was the King of Naples and also Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother-in-law. Murat met a tragic death after he was arrested and imprisoned for attempting to regain control of the kingdom (Reign of Two Sicilies). He was sentenced to death and executed by firing squad on October 13, 1815 in the main hall of the castle. Today, the castle is home to a museum that is dedicated to Murat. You can visit the castle and re-live his life through the many scenes and images that are on display throughout the castle. The castle’s terrace offers an incredible view of the Gulf and the island of Stromboli in the distance.
Tickets are 2.50€ however for adults over 65 the price is 1.50€ and children under 6 are free. The hours of operation vary depending on the time of year, so check out the castle’s official website. If you are planning to visit Pizzo in October, you may be fortunate enough to catch a re-enactment of Murat’s capture and subsequent execution which is organized by the people of Pizzo every year.
Indulge your Sweet Tooth
Take a walk through the historic center of Pizzo and enjoy its medieval narrow streets. Make your way to Piazza della Repubblica, the main square of the town lined with bars and ice cream shops. When visiting Pizzo, you absolutely must indulge in the village’s most famous frozen treat… Tartufo di Pizzo. The traditional tartufo is a ball of homemade hazelnut and chocolate gelato with a solid chocolate core which was dusted with cocoa powder. However, today you can also find other variations made with white chocolate, pistachio and other varieties. You’ll probably find many shops advertising their tartufo offerings but we personally love going to Bar Ercole. There you’ll find, in our opinion, the best tartufo in Pizzo!
We absolutely adore Pizzo, and if you go, you’ll see first-hand why! We are so excited to be stopping into Pizzo as part of our June Heritage Tour. Spaces are still available!
If you are interested in travelling to Calabria and including Pizzo in your vacation, contact us for more information!