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Whether you want to take advantage of Italy’s Nomad Digital Visa by living in La Dolce Vita for a year or would like to take a vacation to an undiscovered gem, Pizzo Calabria is a place worth lingering in.  Impact-Site-Verification: 1389650533

This comprehensive guide to Pizzo Calabria – often known simply as Pizzo, or also as Pizzo Calabro – will tell you all you need to know about this seaside town in southwestern Italy. Covered here is a little about the local history, getting there and around, the weather during each season, accommodation options, what to see and do, the local beaches, and travel tips to make your stay go more smoothly. 

I’ve also included a snapshot of the local demographics in case you’re considering a move. Read on to learn all you need to know about this hidden Italian gem! Also, learn more about Italy’s Nomad Digital Visa.

👉🏼 Find Midbudget Pizzo Hotels

Pizzo Calabria

About Pizzo Calabria

Pizzo Calabria, Pizzo Calabro, or Pizzo can be found on Italy’s sun-drenched southwestern coast, where the “ankle” of Italy meets the top of the “foot”. It’s an undiscovered jewel of the region, rich in culture, history, and spectacular sea views. The town overlooking the Gulf of Saint Euphemia offers the perfect blend of classic Italian charm and contemporary coastal living. 

Pizzo forms part of the Coast of the Gods – La Costa degli Dei – in the heart of Calabria. The town is both a port and a portal to the past, and fishing remains a major industry here. Life revolves around the vibrant piazzas and peaceful, picturesque local beaches. 

Pizzo Calabria offers the perfect escape for beach lovers, foodies, and history fans alike. The pace of life here can be pleasingly slow. Every visitor can sample an authentic slice of Italian life, while enjoying the stunning coastal surroundings. 

This small Italian town has a population of about 9,000, and is situated on a steep cliff overlooking the Gulf of Saint Euphemia. Pizzo Calabria is a popular holiday destination, attracting locals from nearby parts of Italy in particular.

The town’s attractions include its historic center, Piazza Della Repubblica, Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, and Castello Murat, as well as the marina, beaches, churches, and local foodie scene. 

History of Pizzo

Pizzo Calabria’s history can be traced back from ancient civilisations to its modern-day role as a bustling maritime hub. The town was first established by the Greeks during the 7th century BC. During its time, Pizzo has played a role in various important events, and has hosted prominent historical figures including Cicero and St. Peter. Roman conquests and Byzantine rule have also left their mark on the town’s architecture and culture. 

The position of Pizzo Calabria has also made it a major trading post. It’s also been targeted by would-be conquerors in the past, including the Angevins, the Aragonese, and the Normans. 

Today, relics of this varied past remain to enchant the visitor. Archaeological finds such as ancient shipwrecks and historic remnants tell the tale of a thriving trade center, rich in both culture and commerce. The architecture, meanwhile, includes the likes of Roman villas and Byzantine churches, showcasing the town’s role in wider Mediterranean history. 

How to Get to Pizzo

To reach Pizzo, you have several transport options. Which to choose depends on your starting point and preference. 

Plane

The nearest airport to Pizzo Calabria is Lamezia Terme Airport (SUF), located about 13 miles (or 21 kilometers) hour away from the town. From the airport, you can take a taxi, rent a car, or use public transport to reach Pizzo. 

Catania Airport is the next-closest. This is around 105 miles (or 170 kilometers) away. A range of flights operate to and from these airports, serving various Italian and European destinations via various carriers.

Train

The nearest train station to Pizzo Calabria is Vibo Valentia-Pizza, which is approximately 2 25 minutes by car from the center of Pizzo. Trains follow the coastal route of Costa degli Dei, connecting Pizzo with other towns and cities. Find train tickets.

Car

If you prefer driving and having the independence your own transport offers, you can rent a car from a nearby city like Tropea. This is about 30 minutes away from Pizzo. Do keep in mind, though, that parking can be limited in the town center, especially during the peak tourist season.

So it will be worth booking accommodation with parking if possible when you want to drive.  Find car rentals.

Bus

State buses operate throughout Calabria, connecting Pizzo with various cities and towns in the region. Though it’s slower, this can be a cheap, and sometimes convenient, option for traveling within Calabria, when you prefer not to drive.

Getting Around Pizzo

Once you arrive in Pizzo, you can get around town on foot, especially within the historic center. If you plan to venture beyond Pizzo, having a car or using local transport are your options.

If you do have mobility issues, it’s important to note that Pizzo Calabria’s historic district is hilly with narrow cobbled streets, which can be challenging for some. 

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Photo Credit – First Choice.uk

Best Time to Visit Pizzo Calabria

Pizzo Calabria enjoys a warm, sunkissed Mediterranean climate, making it a great year-round destination overall. The best time to visit really depends on your preferences and what you want to experience.

For me, the best month of all is September, when the summer crowds have dispersed, yet the weather remains as warm as in June. 

Summer (June to August)

Summer – June, July, and August—is the peak tourist season in Pizzo. The warm weather is ideal for beach life, but it can get crowded during this time of year, especially during July and August. Average summer highs range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F) during the day, with the hottest temperatures in July and August.

Spring (March to May) and Fall (September to November)

These shoulder seasons can offer milder weather, fewer crowds, and lower accommodation prices. It’s an excellent time to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking and sightseeing, without the summer crowds or intense heat. Average temperatures in spring and fall range from 15°C to 27°C (59°F to 81°F).

September temperatures are comparable to June’s, while in May and October, they’re a little lower. In March, April, and November, the weather is cooler, but even at night temperatures tend to exceed 5°C (41°F).

Winter (December to February)

While winters in Pizzo are mild compared to northern Europe, this is the off season. If you don’t mind cooler temperatures, and crave a more peaceful experience, winter can be a good time to visit. Then you can enjoy the local culture without the crowds.

Average winter temperatures in Pizzo Calabria range from 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F).

Where to Stay in Pizzo

Pizzo offers a range of accommodation options to suit all preferences and budgets.

Hotels

Some lovely hotels in Pizzo offer stunning views over the ocean or the historic town center. Look for accommodations near Piazza della Repubblica for easy access to local attractions. Check out some Pizzo hotels.

Bed and Breakfasts

For a more intimate experience, consider booking a bed and breakfast property in the old town. You’ll get good value for money, while experiencing local hospitality and authenticity.

Holiday Rentals

Should you prefer more space and privacy, holiday rentals such as apartments or villas are also available, particularly along the coastline.

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Top Things to Do in Pizzo

If you’re wondering what there is to see and do in Pizzo, here’s a little inspiration. 

Discover the Unique Chiesetta di Piedigrotta

Church Piedigrotta was sculpted from seaside caves during the 19th and 20th centuries. It offers carved figures, plus stunning sea views. 

Sample the Famous Tartufo Hazelnut Truffle Ice Cream

The ‘city of ice cream’ is home to the famous Tartufo. This decadent and delicious hazelnut and chocolate ice cream dessert was invented locally, and you’ll find it on every gelateria’s menu. You simply cannot leave Pizzo without sampling this ball-shaped, layered treat!

Explore the Historic Castello Murat

This 14th century military fortress is named after Joachim Murat, the former King of Naples. It offers superlative sea views, exhibitions detailing local history, and a bookstore. 

Stroll by the Pretty Marina and Beach

Pizzo’s beautiful marina and beach area provide visitors with a peaceful spot for enjoying the coastal atmosphere while watching the local fishermen at work.

Wander the Old Town’s Narrow, Twisting Streets

Getting lost among the maze of cobbled alleys and small piazzas is one of the finest ways to experience the laid-back local lifestyle.

Visit the Santuario San Francesco Di Paola Church

This pretty white church on the edge of the old town is another key landmark worth seeing in Pizzo. It’s also a significant Calabrian religious site.

Pizzo Beach Activities

The beaches of the Pizzo area offer a range of activities, as well as the relaxing experience of spending time by the sea. 

Swimming

Beaches close to Pizzo – such as Grotticelle Beach and Marina di Pizzo Beach – boast crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming. Gentle wave action, combined with clean sands, make taking a dip enjoyable for all age groups.

Sunbathing

Relax on the golden sands of Pizzo’s beaches while soaking up the Mediterranean sun, unwinding with a good book, or simply enjoying the scenic views.

Water Sports

Adventurous travelers spending time in Pizzo can indulge in various water sports, such as snorkeling, diving, and kayaking. Explore the local underwater world, which is teeming with marine life, or take a paddle along the coastline for stunning views and perfect peace.

Boat Tours

Take a boat tour along the coastline to discover hidden coves, sea caves, and secluded beaches. Many operators in Pizzo offer boat trips that include sightseeing and/or snorkeling adventures.

Beach Volleyball

Some beaches in Pizzo have beach volleyball zones. This allows visitors to enjoy friendly matches between themselves, or observe local tournaments taking place during summer.

Pizzo Beach Amenities

In addition to the activities on offer, here’s an overview of what sort of facilities to expect at Pizzo beaches.

Beach Clubs

Several beach clubs and resorts in Pizzo offer sun loungers, umbrellas, showers, and beachside bars or restaurants. Such clubs can provide you with a more comfortable and luxurious beach experience.

Equipment Rentals

You can rent beach equipment like umbrellas, chairs, and water sports gear from local vendors. This is convenient when you don’t want to bring your own beach essentials along.

Places to Eat in Pizzo Calabria

A variety of beachfront restaurants and cafes are dotted along the coastline. These serve fresh seafood, Italian cuisine, cool drinks, gelato, and more. Enjoying a delicious meal with an ocean view can be wonderful to experience in Pizzo.

  1. At Comera na Vota: This restaurant serves traditional Calabrian dishes made with authentic family recipes, providing an authentic dining experience. 
  2. L’Angolo del Gelato: This gelateria is renowned for its delicious tartufo, a local specialty ice cream. It is considered the best place to try this Calabrian delicacy. 
  3. Ristorante Pizzeria Il Porticato: This restaurant is highly rated on TripAdvisor for its Italian cuisine, pizza, and seafood offerings. 
  4. Da Ciccio – Gusto Calabrese: Another highly rated Calabrian restaurant in Pizzo, known for its traditional regional dishes. 3
  5. Several Michelin-recommended restaurants are also located in Pizzo and the surrounding area, including San Domenico, Locanda Toscano, and ME Restaurant.

Travel Tips for Pizzo

Here are some tips from locals to make visiting Pizzo easier and more enjoyable.

Transport

While Central Pizzo is walkable, consider renting a scooter or car if you want to explore nearby attractions and beaches.

Local Cuisine

In addition to the famous Tartufo dessert, don’t miss out on trying local specialties like nduja (spicy sausage), Calabrian cheese, and freshly caught seafood.

Language

Italian is widely spoken in Pizzo, and some people speak good English, particularly those dealing with tourists. However, knowing some basic Calabrian phrases can enhance your interactions with locals, and your efforts will be appreciated. 

Currency

As in Italy, the currency used in Pizzo is the Euro (EUR). Although credit cards are widely accepted, it’s always advisable to carry some cash for small purchases.

Reservations

During the peak summer season, it’s wise to book accommodations and even make restaurant reservations in advance.

A Demographic Picture of Pizzo

Modern Pizzo is a vibrant community offering a balance between traditional values and modern life. The town’s population comprises a mix of local families who have lived here for generations, and newcomers attracted by the charm and tranquility of the area. 

Population

Pizzo has a diverse population. There is a steady number of permanent residents, plus seasonal tourist influxes. Expatriates may also be short—or long-term residents. This dynamic creates a lively atmosphere and cultural diversity within the town. 

Age Distribution and Households

Pizzo’s age distribution is balanced, comprising a healthy mix of young families, working adults, and retirees. Households typically range from traditional nuclear or extended family units to single-occupant homes, mirroring traditional and modern lifestyles.

Average House Prices

According to property sales websites, average house prices in Pizzo Calabria, Italy, are around EUR 120,000 to 140,000 for a two-bedroom apartment or townhouse. Prices for smaller and larger places will, of course, vary according to the accommodation on offer. House prices can also vary hugely over time. 

The Local Economy

Like the town itself, Pizzo Calabria’s economy combines traditional industries, such as agriculture and fishing, with more modern enterprises. For example, businesses centering on tourism and real estate help drive local economic growth and diversification. 

Overal, I can’t wait to visit there and hope for a longer stay.

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