territory to discover
A glance on our gastronomy:
In the Province of Vibo Valentia is possible to find a wide basket of typical
products and traditional dishes. To taste: Pecorino of monte Poro, ‘Nduja of
Spilinga, bean of Caria, hot pepper from Poro, Fileja pasta, extra virgin olive oil,
mustaccioli from Soriano, ‘Nzudde from Serra San Bruno, red onion of Tropea,
Tartufo of Pizzo Calabro, mushrooms from serre, honey of the Mesima valley
and many others products to taste alone or to use for preparation of traditional
gastronomics recipes.
A glance on sites of historic-architectural interest:
Among many sites of historic and architectural interest can be mentioned: the
norman sweben castle of Vibo Valentia, aragonese castle of Pizzo Calabro,
the Rocchetta of Briatico, the watchtowers of Joppolo and Ricadi, the roman
aqueduct of Spilinga, the caverns of Favo and villa romana “Grotta di Trisolina”
of Zungri, “ferriere” of Mongiana, Nicotera castle. Historic deposition of the Vibo
Valentia province can be researched in the National museum of Vibo Valentia
and in the libraries of Vibo and Soriano Calabro.
A glance on sites of environamental interest:
LAG reference territory is particularly rich of environamental sites,
where we remind: natural oasis WWF of Angitola lake, Lacina lake in the
Brognaturo district, game reserve of serre, that extends itself on all the mountain side of Vibo, biogenetic nature reserve of the Marchesale and of Cropani
Michone and then, who loves see, there are wonderful beaches of white sands
alternated to beveled rocks that from Pizzo, go through ”la Costa degli Dei”
arrive to Nicotera.
A glance on sites of historic-religious interest:
Among many sites of religious and cultural interest in our territory can be
mentioned: the Cathedral of S. Nicola, museum of diocese in Mileto, Church of
Santa Maria Maggiore and San Leoluca in Vibo Valentia, byzantine church of
Santa Ruba in San Gregorio D’ippona, Matrice Church, Santa Maria of Eremo
and the Certosa of Serra San Bruno, the Monserrato Basilica in Vallelonga, the
small church of Piedigrotta in Pizzo Calabro, the monastery of San Domenico
in Soriano Calabro, the Cathedral and the church of Santa Chiara in Nicotera,
the fountain Virgin of Spilinga, the sanctuary of Madonna in Monte Poro, the
sanctuary refuge of souls in Paravati of Mileto.
From “Costa degli dei” to Flavors
of Poro.
This our short journey begins from the State
capital Vibo Valentia originally called Monteleone.
The city is linked to the period of Swabian rule
when Frederick II carried out the military and
defensive reorganization of his local territories.
In 1501, Ferdinand of Aragon sold the fiefdom of
Monteleone to the Pignatelli family, which obtained
the privilege of being allowed to freely modify and
fortify the castle of Monteleone.
Historical heritage of Vibo Valentia includes
different important works among which stands out
the castle Norman- Swabian built between 1055
and 1057 by Ruggero the Norman; today within
the castle is located the city museum.
The religious/historic heritage of Vibo Valentia
finds it’s key point in the cathedral, dedicated to
Saint Maria Maggiore and Saint Leoluca, patron
saint of the city. A building dated from XVII century
built on a pre-existing byzantine church of the IX
The cultural traditions of the small town are
intimately related to the religious rituals as the
Holy Week that is previous on Easter Sunday, where
come in succession rituals and holy rapresentations
that conclude on Easter Sunday with the dramatic
procession of the “Affruntata”, or meeting between
the Risen Christ and St John and the Virgin of
Sorrows represented by statues carried.
Between State capital typical dishes
“Fileja” pasta is the protagonist.This fresh
pasta made from an easy durum wheat
flour mixture, kneaded together by hand.
“Fileja” pasta can be served in a variety of ways:
with tomato sauce sprinkled with grated “Pecorino
del Monte Poro”, with porcini mushrooms or in the
traditional manner with “nduja from Spilinga”.
Vibo Valentia is location of hotel, small hotel and
restaurants deployed in the city centre. Furthermore, in Vibo Marina are present well-known
restaurants specialized in the cooking of fresh fish.
Fileja from Vibo Valentia
– typical pasta of the
Vibo Valentia province
Swabian- Norman castle
– Vibo Valentia
We leave Vibo to go through the
see in direction of 522 state highway that will guide us to the “Costa
degli Dei”.
Here is Briatico where between
rocks we can see the “Rocchetta”,
watchtower built for protection
from Saracen raids; the tower overlooks the sea. It was also intended
to protect local industries such as
the glass and soap factories as
well as the Molini Feudali, the mills
grinding wheat and other cereals
for the entire area.
Unlike the other coastal
watchtowers, which all have
square or circular plans, it
has an unusual rectangular
It is also unusual for its position
down by the shore rather than
set back from the coast on high
ground like the other coastal towers.
Go through the coast and go on
522. state highway, we are captured from breath-taking panoramas and from pleasant panoramas
that come in succession like to
invite to an earthly paradise, one
aer the other move the most
important beaches: Zambrone is
surrounded by a jagged coast, rich
in rocky coves of fine and white
sand beach. Aer Zambrone is
possible to see Parghelia that is
dotted by rocks and fringed by the
jagged “Scogliera della Pizzuta”
with typical pinnacle-like granite
rocks emerging from the water.
And we are in Tropea, considered
the best beach worldwide by the
prestigious Sunday Times magazine.
See of this locality has been
awarded the top score
(“5 sails”) by Legambiente,
the Italian Environmental
Association on numerous
occasions over the past
The beach has fine white sand, the
sea is turquoise and crystal-clear
and the sloping sea bed is visible
even at considerable depths due
to the extraordinary transparency of the water. At the end of
this section of coast is the rocky
promontory known as “Scoglio
di Santa Maria dell’Isola” with its
medieval monastery, with byzantine
inflections, emblem and symbol of
Tropea all over the world. The small
church is location of a Virgin statue
of the 18th century and together
with “Galluppi Palace” represents
one of the assets of the wide
historical and architectural heritage
of the small town.
Tropea is also synonymous
of agricultural and food
typicality; it takes the name
from this blooming territory
the red onion from Tropea P.G.I.
The red onion of Tropea has a distinctive violet tunic and medium to
large bulb. It is an early onion with
unique organoleptic qualities making it tender, sweet and crunchy.
In addition, very widespread is the
legend that gives to this vegetable
special aphrodisiac powers.
Rocchetta tower of
Red onion of Tropea –
Calabria ( P.G.I)
Sanctuary S. Maria of
the Island – Tropea.
Small church realized
on a small peninsula of
tuff stone on the Tropea
About two Kilometres south from Tropea, we meet The Ricadi
bays (Riaci, Tono, Capo Vaticano, Scalea di Ricadi) characterized
by a wide beach of white sand overlooked by limestone rocks rich
in Mediterranean vegetation. The sea is a crystal-clear intense
turquoise colour and the sea bottom is mainly sandy with a wide
variety of fish.
The Scoglio Grande looming out of the water just a few metres
from the shore is the unique feature of this. «Its white sands
pierced by black rocks and beds of sea grasses like pelagic pastures where the sea organisms can graze […]. You must see this
spectacular sight with your own eyes – a sight unknown in our
own wild, dark, misty seas – to appreciate the pleasure of
observing that teeming population of tiny sea creatures».
Along the Vibo coast, it’s still possible to meet pleasant and beautiful localities, like the jagged seaside of Joppolo, Coccorino and
Coccorinello and we can immerse into sites riches of traditions
and history like the beautiful Nicotera, with it’s cathedral,
it’s own museums and the Norman castle that was built by Roberto il Guiscardo during the XI century. But it’s time to leave see to
discover the magnificences of Poro altiplane.
Little by little going through n. 22 provincial road that from Ricadi
guides to hinterland, vegetation is painted of a strong green
and all the nature shows it’s rural face. Before to arrive on the
altiplane, we meet the small town of Spilinga, for too long a time
famous as origin area of ‘Nduja’ all over the world. ‘Nduja’ is a
typical sausage with marked texture and piquancy (no aggressive,
nearly sweet to aertaste) that allowing it to be spread. According to the most likely explanation it dates to the period of French
rule; apparently a very similar cured meat called “andouille” was
introduced to the area by Joachim Murat, King of Naples, between
1806 and 1815.
This is where the finest ‘nduja’ is made thanks to the
ideal climatic conditions for curing the sausage.
Very important are also traditional production methods, which are
reproduced all over the world but unequalled to this day.
In Spilinga are located also some sites of historic and religious
interest among which to be seen: the cavern of “Madonna delle
Fonti” and the roman aqueduct, located at the entrance of the
small town.
In this way we arrive at the altiplane of Poro, the rural heart of the
Vibo Valentia province; this is located at about 700 meters height
m.s.l.m. and it’s represented by pastures and half levels fields
where it’s possible trekking and strolling.
Villa Romana in
Zungri - Roman
Aqueduct roman
period of Spilinga
Ndunja di Spilinga
Pecorino del Poro
In the area of Poro altiplane is produced
one of the most important typical cheese
of the Vibo Valentia province: “Pecorino
del Poro” that is considered to be one of
southern Italy’s finest pecorino cheeses.
Pecorino del Poro is made from sheep
milk using natural rennet and a traditional recipe scrupulously safeguarded
and transmitted in generation to generation producing a product that is unique in
terms of aroma and taste.
Half aged Pecorino usually can be eaten
in slices or in the antipasto. Shapes more
aged can be eaten as cheese shavings
instead or just as grana to grater in order
to exalt main courses. On the Poro altiplane and near from there, can be taste
a varied offer of traditional dishes with
the earlier described products but there
are also other productions to discover
(hot pepper from Poro, beans from Caria,
lamb meats, Ricotta from Poro and many
others local delicacies).
Along this our itinerary, there are many
others sites to see like so courses
to taste; we see that curiosity gains
the upper hand and that good flavors
and antique traditions can be the guide
for our guests to the next location
to discover.
From Gioacchino Murat
to Brunone of Colonia
The second itinerary begins from Pizzo
Calabro, renamed as one of the most
important holiday resort in Calabria.
The castle of Pizzo, represents one
of the symbols of Napitia town, also
known as the castle of Murat. It was
built as a fortress in the second half of
the 15th century for Ferdinand, against
Saracen raids. It was also used as
a prison. The prison’s most illustrious “guest” was Gioacchino Murat,
King of Naples and brother-in-law of
In 1892 Murat Castle was declared a
National Monument and since 2003
it has housed the Museo Provinciale
Murattiano. The museum’s holdings
include historic documents, prints, and
maps about the Aragonese origins
of the castle as well as a collection
of coins dating from 570 to 1860.
Outside the old town centre, we can
see the “Piedigrotta church”; it’s totally
carved out of the tuff cliff; it features
stalagmites that have turned into
columns that have been sculpted and
transformed into beautiful statues.
Inside, a series of natural arches and
pillars separate chapels containing
statues representing various religious
It’s impossible to visit Pizzo without
tasting typical ice-cream.
The most famous ice cream
is the ‘tartufo bianco e nero’.
It is made from hazelnut ice cream
formed by hand, filled with a heart
of melted dark chocolate and dusted
with unsweetened cocoa and sugar.
The recipe to prepare ‘gelato di Pizzo’,
especially its production method,
times and conservation, is a secret
closely guarded by the local master
ice cream makers.
We go in north direction, to take 110
state highway, that will guide us on
the serre mountains.
Along the street, for few kilometres
from beaches of Pizzo, we coast
Angitola lake, protected natural oasis
(in the care of WWF), and humid zone
of international value where depending on periods it’s possible to admire
a wide stable and migratory flora and
fauna, among present birds is worthwhile to remember the osprey, great
white heron, red heron, grey heron,
cormorant, wild duck, the Mignattaio
and many others birds.
We come up along the street that
will guides us on the serre mountains,
crossed small rural centres, very
peculiar and rich of history and culture
like Vallelonga, with its Basilica of
Monserrato and Capistrano, where in
the main church is hosted a picture
nominated for many experts to Renoir.
We go through Brognaturo,
dwelling of the pipes hand-craed
masters and we are in Serra San
Bruno, birth place of Brunone di
Colonia and of his own Certosa.
The Certosa is the first Carthusian
monastery to have been founded in
Italy, the second of the entire Order.
Situated in a picturesque forest near
the outskirts of Serra San Bruno, the
monastery is part of a vast complex
founded between 1090 and 1101 by
Bruno of Cologne, the founder of the
Carthusian order and of the Grande
Chartreuse near Grenoble.
The monastery, originally Gothic in
style, was remodelled towards the
end of the 16th century, probably to a
design by Palladio; restorations were
also carried out between the 16th and
18th centuries.
Aer being destroyed by the terrible
earthquake of 1783, it was rebuilt
at the end of the 19th century. The
interior holds 19th century marble
statues, a silver reliquary bust depicting St Bruno belonging to the
Neapolitan school and dating to 1520, a fine 17th century painting
of St Francis of Paola attributed to Luca Giordano, and 17th century
bronzes made by a French workshop. Just over a kilometre from
the monastery is the lake surrounded by lush green woods where
St Bruno traditionally went to repent; a statue of the kneeling saint
now stands in its centre.
A few steps away from Certosa is located the Church of Santa
Maria dell’Eremo (or Del Bosco). At Serra San Bruno is reached via
the splendid flight of steps above the small lake built in 1951 to the
design of Giuseppe Maria Pisani. Built in 1094, in the place where St
Bruno lived and died, it was rebuilt aer the 1783 earthquake. The
altar has a fine 19th century wooden Madonna, and the choir has a
19th century painting depicting St Bruno.
The “Dormitorio” is the temple where St Bruno slept and where he
was buried aer his death.
But who see Serra can’t ignore the majestic nature heritage.
Infact, Serre Vibonesi consist of two mountain chains running
almost parallel from north to south partly divided by the steep
valleys of the Ancinale and Allaro torrents and by a series of large
hollows. The spectacular watery and woody landscapes of the
eastern area of the Serre is accompanied by the majestic rocky
habitat of Monte Mammicomito (1047 m) and Monte Consolino
(701 m) from which ore was mined for the Ferdinandea and Mongiana foundries and ironworks. To the south-west is the mountain
group of Monti Crocco (1276 m) and Monte Seduto (1143 m),
which enclose the area of the valleys of the Metramo, Fermano
and Marepotamo rivers with their vast amphitheatre of woodlands.
The craggy granite outcrops emerging on the peaks, as on Monte
Pietra del Caricatore (1414 m), give the wooded slopes below a
magical mysterious air. This habitat is characterised by an oen
wild forest covering the ridges as far as the summits, as on
Monte Pecoraro, whose peak reaching 1423 m.a.s.l. makes it the
highest mountain in the Serre. Near the higher ground the woods
are mainly silver fires and beech dominated by holm oaks as you
descend. Serre also results from the presence of woods as well as
mixed communities. In the wood Archiforo, in the district of Serra
San Bruno, there is an ancient native fire wood.
Typical dishes from serre have like characterized ingredients mushrooms. Infact several species of mushrooms grow on the slopes of
the Serre Vibonesi.
The most famous is the Porcini mushroom, held to be
the king of mushrooms.
It is very common in summer and autumn, especially aer rain.
You can also find the field mushroom, Agaricus campestris, a mushroom with a distinctive scent and delicate flavor that grows in damp
meadows and woods in the autumn.
Church of Piedigrotta – Pizzo
Calabro excavated
monument in the
tuff stone, rich of
stalagmites columns
shaped to sculptures
and holy deprictions;
historic process to
“Gioacchino Murat”
– Pizzo Calabro
Certosa of Serra S. Bruno
Snowy overview–
(Pecoraro Mountain)
“Μustaccioli” of Soriano
On of the most delicious mushrooms found locally is the Amanita
Cesarea, or Caesar’s Mushroom. There is also the “Gallinaccio”,
commonly found in oak and chestnut woods. Also found locally is
the Armillaria mellea, a pale brown mushroom growing in groups in
chestnut, oak and poplar woods. Also growing in the area is the Red
pine mushroom or saffron milk-cap (Lactarious deliciosus).
Before to go away from Serra, it’s a duty a pause in its typical restaurants, which arise in the small town and in the near districts
where it will be possible to taste all dishes with mushrooms.
Furthermore, it will be possible to taste good fresh wild boar and
pork meats, beginning with rich house antipasto with mushrooms,
sausages and local cheeses. Closing the meal, its duty to combine
to the sweets and traditional ‘Nduzze, a herb digestive of the certosini monks. Moreover, to stay in the agritourism and in the rural
receptive structures foresees an offer very wide, where, sink into a
relaxed environment, can be facilitate the sleep with a lot of hobbies (riding, adventure park, didactics farms, festivals and so on).
We go away from Serra San Bruno towards Mongiana, where is
located the “Parco di Villa Vittoria”, which is run by the Italian State
Forestry Corps and is the only nature reserve in the area. The
reserve represents an unique natural oasis. Inside Villa Vittoria park,
we find a botanical garden, nature trails and a small lake. The facility is a model of environmental education and is visited by students
and researchers from universities all over Italy. The fauna in the
park includes horses, wild pigs, mouflon, fallow deer, deer, roe deer,
pheasants and peacocks. There is also a garden with medicinal and
aromatic herbs.
Before to leave serre mountains, we go to Ferdinandea, a huge
private estate of approximately 3600 hectares, lying between
altitudes of 800 and 1400 metres, that occupies parts of Stilo,
Bivongi, Brognaturo, Mongiana and Serra San Bruno districts.
Covered by tall trees, dominated by beech and silver fir, it is a site
of historical interest with rich landscape and natural resources.
Founded in 1833 as a metalworks to process iron ore from the
mines on nearby Monte Stella, Ferdinandea was inaugurated by
Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies, who used it as his own personal
hunting grounds and gave it its name.
As well as the workshops it had a hunting lodge, ironworks, barracks, residential and administrative buildings, riding stables and
sheds for the livestock. Into the residence are still present furniture,
titled emblems of time and some pictures. In addition appear splendid open staircases to the upper floors.
We start to go down to the “Mesima valley”, meeting along the
way, several “Carbonaie”, typical extemporaries local structures for
coal preparation. Along the 182 state highway, we arrive to Soriano
Calabro, a town rich of handcraed activities, like wicker production
and culture centre, where is located the calabrian library that hosts
inside more than 30.000 volumes related to the argument “Calabria”,
apart from manuscripts, records and episcopal documents. Library
guards also many geographic map copies, dresses patterns and
calabrian portraits. In the centre of Soriano, is located the historical
complex of San Domenico that includes monastery and the ancient
sanctuary, built at the beginning of the XVI century. The monastery
had a considerable importance, as far as spiritual aspects and
politics is concerned. At the congregation of this convent took part
four Popes; inside the convent found hospitality the philosopher
Tommaso Campanella and the emperor Carlo V. The monastery was
abolished from the earthquake of the 1783.
Today of the majestic historical complex remain only some ruins:
some courtyard, small shops and part of baroque façade.
In the San Domenico church can be admired a lot of decorations that
are located in the sanctuary, greater altar in marble, works carving of
the 18th century and pictorials works of great interest, in addition to
San Domenico statue carved in an unique wood trunk by the sculptor
from Soriano Giuseppe Ruffo. Works of great cultural interest are
preserved into the monastery library, which has more than 12.000
preciousness volumes.
The gastronomic speciality from Soriano are surely
sweets and the most typical local biscuit is the mostaccioli
that are heavy, hard, compact biscuits made from flour,
honey, mosto (or grape juice). They are decorated with small
pieces of coloured foil and come in a variety of shapes allowing
bakers to reveal their artistic flair. Infact, these biscuits includes light
meenings in own anthropomorphism shapes. Typical was the custom
to give to the sweet the statue shape of the small town Saint protector, where “mostacciolari” went to offer their own sweets.
Go through the 182 state highway in direction to Vibo Valentia city,
we arrive in the heart of the river Mesima valley, a wide rural area
where are produced some typical agricultural and food productions
from Vibo, like olive oil. The oil produced in the province of Vibo
Valentia is a light easily digested oil with a delicious flavour and
smell extracted from perfectly ripened olives from local variety like:
Ottobratica, Ciciariello e Tombarello. In the Mesima Valley, between
rural centres of Piscopio, Francica, Stefanaconi, Sant’Onofrio and
Maierato, the cra of beekeeping is a very ancient tradition passed
down from father to son. The produced honey, typical is the Sulla
honey, it’s a key ingredient also in the confectionary productions.
They include “’Nzudde” made in Serra San Bruno, “morticeddi”, the
small marzipan, “pignolata” and “mostaccioli di Soriano” (VV).
Many others natural, cultural and good cooking sites could be discovered by visitors, going to visit our territory.
Mushrooms and local
typical underbrush
Ferdinandea, old nobiliary residence of Federico
II - Mongiana
Calabrian Library of
Soriano Calabro
Church of Saint Domenico
of Soriano

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