Stilo (RC)


Stilo is an agricultural centre at the foot of the mountain Consolino, in the Reggio Calabria province. The ancient village arranged in tiers, is characterized by dark stone houses that seem to be painted in the rock. Of Greek origin, and subsequently under the dominion of the Byzantines, it became the most important Byzantine centre of southern Calabria in the 10th century. Known for being the birthplace of the philosopher Tommaso Campanella, author of "The City of the Sun", it is characterized by one of the main evidences of the Byzantine period: the Cattolica, a beautiful temple of 10th century. It is one of the most important monuments in the region, which is miraculously intact. Stilo's origins are linked to the destruction of Caulonia accomplished by Dionysius of Syracuse. It quickly grew in importance and became the most important Byzantine centre of southern Calabria in the10th century. It is an extraordinary example of resistance to the Normans and tenacious loyalty to the Anjou, who rendered it one of the most important castles in the region. Stilo is a Byzantine hamlet of the 10th century, located at the foot of the mountain Consolino, dominated by the ruins of what was once a great and mighty Norman Castle


Address Viale Roma, 34
  89049 Stilo (RC)
Phone number 0964 776006
Fax 0964 775312


Worthy of a visit is the old town of Stilo, full of noble buildings and churches, that include the Duomo, built in 1300, the church of San Francesco, the church of St. George, the church of Madonna delle Grazie, the church of San Giovanni Theresti. The former Monastic complex of San Giovanni Theresti houses the Municipal Art Gallery "Francesco Cozza". In 2011, it has been identified as one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy, it is on the list since 2006 with seven other Basilian-Byzantine sites in Calabria, for the recognition as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. On the first Sunday of August, in this enchanting town, tourists can admire one of the finest and most suggestive events of the Calabrian folk tradition: The Palio Ribusa.

A must-see is the Cattolica of Stilo, one of the most important Byzantine churches of the region, whose dating is controversial; according to some scholars the building should be attributed to the 7thcentury, while others claim that it belongs to the 10th century. It is a small square plan temple with an interior triapsidal covered by five small domes, located near the town. Calabria was subjected to the empire of Byzantium until the 11th century, and still retains numerous evidences of Oriental art. One of the most valuable is the Cattolica that since the 9th century dominates the valley of the Stilaro river and the Byzantine Valley, which is rich in architectural remains. The Cattolica, best example of Byzantine sacred architecture of the whole region, was the mother church of the country administered by a perpetual vicar, who succeeded the Protopapa of the Byzantine era, and who had acquired the right to be buried inside. The denomination of Catholic, Katholiki, means that it is part of the "privileged churches" because equipped with a baptistery. The building is cubic shaped, made with a particular interweaving of big bricks joined together by mortar, and without external decorations. Only the domes are covered with square terracotta tiles arranged with the lozenge pattern. The particular location of the sources of light, despite its size, brings out the beauty of the frescoes that can still be admired. The peculiar presence of Arabic inscriptions has always induced people to think that the church was used for Muslim cults. The church of San Francesco deserves a visit, it is an 18th century building where the Madonna del Borgo is kept; the church of San Giovanni Theresti, today’s Town Hall, was built in the 17th century, and has a narrow baroque façade with two bell towers. The Duomo, which is located in the town centre, only preserves of the original structure the great ogival portal.