Vibo Valentia, Italy: visit the historical town of Vibo Valentia in Calabria

Photo of Vibo Valentia (Calabria region)

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Visit Vibo Valentia

Vibo Valentia is located on a fertile plain at the northern side of the promontory of Tropea, a few kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea, which overlooks the town of “Vibo Valentia Marina.” The old urban center is in the upper part of the town, at the foot of the castle, while below is the modern town.

The town and region is usually visited as an excursion from the popular coastal resort of Tropea

Explore Vibo Valentia

The Cathedral of Vibo Valentia was built in the 18th century and is dedicated to the patron Saint Leoluca. The cathedral stands on the site of two earlier churches, a Byzantine basilica (9th century) and a medieval church (13th century). Its facade is embraced by two bell towers, and the bronze doors are by the contemporary sculptor Giuseppe Niglia.

The interior of the cathedral has three naves and includes an 18th-century altar with a group of statues of Carrara marble representing the "Madonna della Neve", by Annibale Caccavello (1515-1570), an appreciated Neapolitan sculptor. In the chapel on the left stands a painting representing "Our Lady of Health", dating back to the 16th century, while in the left transept is a marble triptych of the 16th century by Antonello Gagini (1478-1536), an Italian sculptor of the Renaissance.

Adjacent to the cathedral there is a Renaissance building known as “Valentinianum” that features a pleasant cloister. Formerly it was a Dominican convent which was remodelled in the 16th century by Duke Pignatelli. The palace holds works from the Cathedral and various local churches and private collections, including religious reliquaries, crucifixes in ivory and wood and many paintings dating back to the 16th - 19th centuries. Of particular note are some bronze statues by Cosimo Fanzago (1591-1678) representing adoring angels and saints.

In the Old Town there are noteworthy buildings dating back to the 16th and 19th centuries, such as the so-called “Palazzo di Francia”, by the school of Luigi Vanvitelli (1700-1773), the Palace Romei, whose entrance was designed by B. Alberti, and Palazzo Marzano, of the 17th century.

It is also interesting to see the archaeological collections of the Palace Cordopatri and the State Archaeological Museum which houses various finds including the 'Orphic lamina' found in the tomb of a young girl.

Traditions and events

Although most famous for its beach, Vibo Valentia is also a commercial and industrial centre and has traditions of great interest - in particular you can savour the traditional cuisine, with very good homemade pasta. The local specialty is called "fileja" while other specialities of the district are the milk of Monte Poro, especially the cheese, and the "'nduja" sausage seasoned and cooked. Do not forget to also sample the local wine, among which we mention the famous “Zibibbo.”

There are also many folklore events of Easter, such as the so-called "Affruntata" which is celebrated in the streets of Vibo Valentia. Also interesting is the “Palio di Diana,” which takes place in the summer in honour of a local heroine of the 16th century with acrobatic events and fireworks at the end of a brilliant night.

Learn more about the history of Vibo Valentia

You can find more local travel ideas in the Calabria guide.

See also:

Map of Vibo Valentia and places to visit

Places to visit near Vibo Valentia

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