PIZZO

Pizzo Calabro is one of the most beautiful and renowned town in Vibo Valentia area and one of the most picturesque villages along the coast. It lies along the slopes of a wonderful promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian sea, at the center of the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia. Coming from the North, it is the first town of the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods). Today, Pizzo is a modern town, a tourist resort renowned for the wide sand beaches and rock inlets, clear sea water and picturesque ancient village. The origins of Pizzo date back to Ancient Greece. It was probably founded by Napeto, under whose name Pizzo people are called napetini (or pizzitani). It was one of the resorts where Cicero stayed, the place where Saint Peter rested on his journey to Rome and where Ulysses stopped for supplies, as Pliny reports. Pizzo, like the rest of the Tyrrhenian Calabrian coast, was subjected to heavy Saracen raids that forced the population to leave. The Aragon 15th-century castle keeps important historical evidences. Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law and King of Naples, was imprisoned and then sentenced to death in this castle. Pizzo is also renowned for the “tartufo” ice cream. The fourteen ice-cream parlors selling their own home-made ice cream granted the town the title of Città del Gelato (Ice-cream City). The “Tartufo di Pizzo” is a tradition of local pastry-making that has now been exported to the whole Calabria and in some Italian regions. The name tartufo (truffle) derives from the uneven round shape and color (cocoa powder) that make the ice cream very similar to a black truffle. The hazelnut and chocolate ice-cream covered with cocoa powder was created by Pizzo ice cream makers. Tuna fishery is a very ancient tradition that dates to Roman and Arab ages. The tonnaras (set of fishing nets) are cast in May and the so-called “tonni di corsa” (running tuna fish), that is prior to reproduction, are caught. The activity is then stopped for a month and it starts again in July and August by fishing the so-called “tonni di ritorno” (returning tuna fish), that is after reproduction. Tonnaras are set between 500 and 1000 m from the coast. Today, tuna fishing is a modern activity that uses sophisticated equipment and computerized ships. In this area, the sea is abundant with tuna and the local tradition of preserving food is well established, so that tuna canning industry and large scale product distribution have developed.




 


Address Via Marcello Salomone
  89812 Pizzo (VV)
Phone number 0963 534289
Fax 0963 531166
Website http://www.comune.pizzo.vv.it
 

 

Pizzo seashore has the typical features of a sea village, with narrow streets leading to small courtyards and balconies overlooking the sea, beaches and cliffs. The coast is 8 km long and varies a lot: wide sand beaches alternate with rock cliffs that plunge into the sea and form fascinating inlets. Italian Legambiente and Touring Club have included Pizzo in the 250 most beautiful beaches in Italy and awarded the town with 4 sails.

Looks at Sacred Places

The Church of Santa Maria di Piedigrotta in Pizzo is worth a visit. “Pizzitani” people call it La Madonnella and they gather here on July 9th to celebrate Our Lady of Graces’ day. The church is a rock carved cave, where water flows from the walls. Several natural arcades and pilasters separate the chapels and grottos that house statues and paintings on sacred subjects. The remarkable Castle was built under the reign of Ferdinand of Aragon in 1486 and recently restored. The cell where Joachim Murat was imprisoned before his execution can be visited. The castle, with its two round towers, overlooks the seashore. Murat’s remains are kept in the Church dedicated to Saint George, Pizzo patron saint. The building is a national monument. The original baroque façade dates to 1632. The church houses remarkable artworks that include a 17th-century wooden Crucifix, 16th-century marble sculptures, a large canvas in the ceiling dating to 1778-1828. The Church dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola, and the annexed monastery of the Friars Minor were built in the second half of the 16th century. They are located in the ancient village, characterized by narrow streets and noble buildings. In the seaside district, the remains of several “tonnare” (tuna fishing areas) that were operating till the beginning of the 20th century, are worth a visit. Tuna fishing is still active and the fish is processed following the ancient tradition.

The Church of Santa Maria di Piedigrotta in Pizzo is worth a visit. Local people call it La Madonnella and they gather here on July 9th to celebrate Our Lady of Graces’ day. The church is a rock carved cave, where water flows from the walls. Several natural arcades and pilasters separate the chapels and grottos that house statues and paintings on sacred subjects. Murat’s remains are kept in the Church dedicated to Saint George, Pizzo patron saint. The building is a national monument. The original baroque façade dates to 1632. The church houses remarkable artworks that include a 17th-century wooden Crucifix, 16th-century marble sculptures, a large canvas in the ceiling dating to 1778-1828. The Church dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola, and the annexed monastery of the Friars Minor were built in the second half of the 16th century. They are located in the ancient village, characterized by narrow streets and noble buildings.

The remarkable Castle was built under the reign of Ferdinand of Aragon in 1486 and recently restored. The cell where Joachim Murat was imprisoned before his execution can be visited. The castle, with its two round towers, overlooks the seashore. Pizzo Castle was built at the end of the 15th century, between 1488 and 1492, and it was finished in the following years. King Ferdinand of Aragon had the castle built to defend the town from the Saracen raids, but also from a potential attack by Charles VIII’s army. Charles VIII was in fact the heir of the Angevine House and could lay claim to the Kingdom of Naples; the Aragon king was afraid that Charles VIII could be politically and military supported by nearby towns. Probably a pre-existing tower was included in the new fortress, as reported by 17th-century sources. The quadrangular castle has two massif towers. The fortress was severely damaged by the earthquakes in 1783 and 1908 and it is renowned for being the prison and the place where Murat was executed.

The Museum of the Sea keeps about 100.000 shells, 30.000 of which are displayed; 2000 fossils of marine flora and fauna; cetacean skeletons; stuffed and mummified sharks and fish; examples of sea flora and fauna. The exhibition also includes a collection of tools for boat building and fishing (harpoons, ropes, baskets, nets and so on) and about 400 pictures on sea subjects. In the rooms of the Murat Castle, the last five days of the life of Joachim Murat in the Aragon fortress are presented. Some mannequins wear costumes of the time: Murat’s imprisonment, process, confession and shooting are truthfully reenacted. Bourbon guards, French soldiers, common criminals, French officers, Murat, canon Masdea, Nunziante, Trentacapilli, Franceschetti are all displayed. Moreover, objects furnishings and weapons are faithfully reproduced as well: rifles, pistols, sabers and halberds. Two culverins and two rotary cannons one of which shots from the main tower every day at 12, are also exhibited.



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