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Piedigrotta Church

Admire the fascinating collection of religious sculptures and hear about a legendary shipwreck in this church within a carved grotto.

The Piedigrotta Church is a fabulous religious structure carved into the rock face of beachside cliffs. It is known for its array of intriguing sculptures and its spectacular views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Snap photos of this exceptional church with a backdrop of the emerald cliffs. 

Climb down the tall staircase to the base of the cliffs and enter the church. Stroll through the carved structure to get a sense of its size and layout. Arrive in the afternoon, when the sun’s beams penetrate the windows and holes of the grotto, emphasizing the range of colors in the minerals of the cave walls.  

Hear some of the fascinating stories surrounding the church’s inception, involving a painting of the Madonna that survived a shipwreck and was brought to this cave in the 1600s. The church itself dates back to the 17th century and the bell tower and shipwrecked bell were added in 1632. 

Admire the circular painting of the doomed ship sailing on stormy seas in the church’s nave. Inspect the array of sculptures crafted by Angelo Barone and his son Alfonso. These works of art portray the lives of Jesus and the Disciples, including artifacts from ecclesiastical scenes. See the angels and bas-reliefs that adorn the interior walls of the grotto. 

Gaze up at the cross on the grassy knoll atop the church. Walk along the stretch of sand and clamber over the rocks adjacent to the cave. 

The church is open to the public and has an entrance fee. It’s best to check opening times ahead of your visit. Take a self-guided tour of the complex. Photos without flash are permitted. 

The Piedigrotta Church faces the Tyrrhenian Sea in the northern outskirts of Pizzo in the region of Calabria. Arrive at the Pizzo Railway Station in southwestern Italy and drive north for 3 miles (5 kilometers) to get here. Visit other attractions in the region, including the Murat Castle, the Fontana Vecchia and the S. Giorgio Church.