Chiesetta di Piedigrotta

Cava di S. Bartolomeo

Useful Information

Location: Pizzo, at the beach. from the main road down a flight of steps.
Open: All year daily.
Fee: Adults EUR 3.
Tickets sold at the bar above the cave!
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Chiesetta di Piedigrotta, Pizzo.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


17th century church built by shipwrecked sailors.


The Chiesetta di Piedigrotta is a small cave church at the beach of Pizzo. The church was according to legend built in the 17th century by shipwrecked sailors.

A ship encountered a violent storm off the coast of Pizzo Calabro. The captain gathered his crew, and as they were sure they would not survive the storm started to pray. They promised the Madonna, if they survived the ordeal they would build a church in her honor. The ship was destroyed on the reef but the captain and crew reached the shore alive. The sailors kept their promise and built an altar in an existing cave on the shore.

The rock the city of Pizzo is built on, is rather soft tufo (tufa), a porous sort of limestone, which is easy to cut while still wet. Local stone-cutters were mining blocks of the rock along the cliff, creating huge caverns.

Inside the cave are numerous statues hewn out of the soft tufa. Most of them were made by a local family during the 19th and 20th century. Most are biblical figures, but there are also famous people of daily life. One relief even depicts John F. Kennedy.

When you visit the church, make sure to buy your tickets at the bar above the church. There is long winding path down to the cave at the foot of the cliff, and you will not be able to buy tickets at the church!