Pizzo is a Calabrian seaside town in the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia. The houses perch on terraces sloping down to the sea.
Cicero lived here for a while and his name lives on in his favourite beach, called La Seggiola, which means “armchair of Cicero”.
On a clear day you can see Stromboli. It wasn’t clear enough when we visited, but we did see it later as we drove along the coast.
The centre of the town is Piazza Republica, watched over by Umberto I. There is cute little Murat Castle nearby.
There is a pretty little beach, with white sand, the first we saw in Calabria.
Come for a little walk through Pizzo.
The Piedigrotto church is something to see. It is carved into the magmatic rock cliff. Legend has it that a ship with a Neapolitan crew was surprised by a violent storm. The captain assembled the crew in his cabin where they prayed before a painting of the Madonna of Piedgrotta. They made a vow that if they were saved they would build a chapel dedicated to her.
The ship sank, but the sailors swam ashore, saving the Madonna and the ship’s bell. They kept their vow and dug a small chapel out of the rock and placed the sacred image. Around 1880 a local artist, Angelo Barone, dedicated his life to decorating the chapel, now filled with his carvings. I’ll show you some more of this later when internet access is a bit more reliable.
Tourism is the main focus of Pizzo today. Visitors come for the sea and the delicious food. The local flavours include cinnamon, oregano, wild fennel, mint, paprika and, as was translated in the brochure, nails of carnation…that’s cloves.
We had a very good meal at this seafood restaurant, called La Lampara.
The local wine is Zibibbo, a white wine from the grapes of the same name.
A speciality of Pizzo is gelato, especially tartufo, so we felt we needed to try some. I had pistachio, and Jim forced down a chocolate one.
The piazza was lively at night, with everyone out for a wander.
The little castle is lit up at night.
We stayed at a gorgeous hotel, Piccolo Grand Hotel.
There is a delightful terrace on the top floor where we went for a cool drink in the evening to watch the beautiful sunset.
It was also the perfect spot for breakfast the next morning.
When it was time to go the charming girl at reception drove us to our car in their tiny electric car which is kept in the cutest garage ever.
The hotel was heavenly. It was tempting to scrap the rest of our trip and stay on. The rooms were excellent and the staff friendly and very helpful. If you go to Pizzo you must stay there.
Pizzo is lovely, but be warned, the roads in and out are awful. We visited in mid April, well before the season. It must be hell in summer…go by train.