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Stilo is a comune and town located in the Calabria region of Italy in the province of Reggio Calabria. It has been named one of the most beautiful hamlets of Italy. The town is Stilo is spread over an area of 78 sq km, has a population of 2800, and is located 151 km away from the city of Reggio Calabria. The economy of the region is based on agriculture, mainly the production of wine, cheese, olive oil, and cereals. There are a few mines in the region for lead and iron. Let’s explore Stilo, Calabria together!

Panoramic view of Stilo, Calabria
Panoramic view of Stilo, Calabria

The famous Cape Stilo has located only 10 km from the main town where the Battle of Punta Stilo was fought between the British and Italians in 1940. It is believed that the town was first inhabited after the destruction of Kaulon, which was an ancient Greek colony.

Attractions in Stilo, Calabria

The Cattolica

The Cattolica in Stilo is one of the most important places to visit. It is a small temple that was first built in the 9th century. It is made in a true Byzantine style with a square design in the form of a Greek cross. There are three apses and five small domes. The natural light that floods in the building is quite fascinating; the four columns inside the building are believed to be taken from the Kaulon ruins. Inside the church are several beautiful frescoes which were only discovered in 1927. These frescoes date back to the 11th century and are a good example of the Norman painting style.

La Cattolica, an interesting church in Stilo, Calabria
La Cattolica, an interesting church in Stilo, Calabria. Ph. Fiore S. Barbato on flickr (flic.kr/p/8DEzF6)

Church of San Nicola da Tolentino in Stilo, Calabria

The church of San Nicola da Tolentino is another beautiful church worth visiting. The church was built by the monks in Stilo and is now in a precarious condition. The size of the church is quite small and it has a beautiful Trullo-shaped dome which is covered by flat tiles. There are beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding hills from the church.

Church of San Francesco The church of San Francesco was built in 1450 in Stilo in a Renaissance style. During the 18th century, the façade of the church had to be rebuilt. The most noticeable element in the façade of the church is the large bell tower. Inside the church are beautiful frescoes which were made by Francesco Cozza, a noted painter from Stilo.

A religious parade on Holy Saturday in 1973. During the "Monumentu" people carry on cane crosses the "Gucciadate", doughnut-shaped breads that have been blessed on Holy Thursday.
A religious parade on Holy Saturday in 1973. During the “Monumentu” people carry on cane crosses the “Gucciadate”, doughnut-shaped breads that have been blessed on Holy Thursday. Ph. flickr/Fiore Silvestro Barbato

Church of San Giovanni Theresti

San Giovanni Theresti church in Stilo is built in a Baroque style and is decorated with beautiful stuccos. The church was built in 1625 and inside are the remains of the Basilian monks who dedicated the church to their saint.

The Duomo of Stilo, Calabria

The Duomo of Stilo was made in the 14th century but has been renovated extensively in the centuries after that. At one point in time, the cathedral was one of the oldest Episcopal sees in the region. There are several noteworthy factors in the cathedral, the Gothic portal is pointed and is surrounded by several small columns. Another beautiful element is the stone sculpture close to the portal which has two birds facing each other and is in the Norman style of craftsmanship. There is also a beautiful canvas Paradise from the 17th century which was made by Batistello, a famous Neapolitan painter.

The Norman Castle

The Norman Castle is definitely worth a visit since it is one of the most interesting monuments in Stilo. The castle is built on top of Mount Consolino by Roger II. Visitors can reach the castle on foot through a path that provides beautiful views along the way. Only ruins of the castle remain today.

Getting to Stilo, Calabria

Stilo is located 151 km from Reggio Calabria but it’s quite easy to get to the town. Visitors coming from other regions in Italy can easily reach Reggio Calabria by train since it is well connected to most destinations in Italy. From Reggio Calabria visitors can reach Stilo by bus. The state buses depart a few times every day from the main bus station in Reggio Calabria and also from the other smaller towns and communes in the province. Getting tickets is quite easy; they can be bought from the bus station itself. Another option is to drive down to the town from Reggio Calabria using a rental car.

Stilo, Calabria.
Stilo, Calabria. Ph. flickr/Michael from Minnesota

Moving Around the Town

Stilo is spread over an area of 78 sq km but it is not very difficult to move around in the town. Most of the sightseeing attractions in Stilo are located close to the center of the town. The center is very compact and can be explored easily on foot within one or two hours. For traveling to the other parts of the town, visitors can use the public transport buses which are used by the locals for moving around and commuting. Visitors who have their own car can also easily drive around town since parking is not much of a problem.

Stay and Accommodation in Stilo

There are not many accommodation options in Stilo, mainly because not many tourists stay overnight in town. Most visitors come to Stilo as a day excursion from the nearby towns and generally do not spend a night in Stilo. There are a few hotels and some agritourism residences to choose from. Two of the best-known hotels in Stilo are Hotel Città del Sole and Hotel San Giorgio.

Eating in Stilo

Stilo is known for its many delicious regional dishes which the visitors can sample in one of the traditional restaurants in town. The town is known for its homemade fresh pasta which is made in the traditional manner and is served with several spicy sauces made from goat meat. Stuffed eggplant served with pasta is also very commonly seen in the restaurants here. Ristorante Parnasso is known to be a favorite with the locals here and serves authentic regional dishes and Italian food.

Shopping in Stilo, Calabria

Stilo is mainly an agricultural commune so the best things to purchase here are the local food varieties for which the town is well known. Dried tomatoes, the capicolli or the soppressate pork sausages, and the cumbite olives from Stilo are very well known. Visitors can also purchase various cheese varieties from Stilo like pecorino cheese.

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Mimma Delorenzis
4 years ago

Hi i’m from Australia & wanted to ask if stilo is a common surname in this town as it was my mother’s maiden name & i am trying to find where her family originated from

Jacques Malaspina
4 years ago

Ciao Maria,
Do not see any problem with that.
Mid May in Melito Porto Salvo and employees of the commune found all te records we were looking for…
Have fun and good luck.
Jacques Malaspina
Vancouver Canada

Maria Leotta Martino
4 years ago

I’m from Australia and i I will be visiting Stilo early August this year. My mum was born in Stilo as were her parents, grandparents etc
I was wondering wether the public are allowed to go into the town records (commune) and search through birth, marriage records as i’m doing family research
Maria Leotta Martino