One of the most beautiful treasures in this region is the Byzantine church named Cattolica di Stilo. A little Byzantine church, perhaps dating back to the 10th century. There is no certainty of its origin. Only the frescoes inside give us an idea that it could have been around that period. The road to reach this truly incredible site offers breathtaking views of the mountains and sea. It is a winding road all the way up to the hill where the Cattolica sits proudly.
You can understand why the Basilian monks constructed it so high up in the hills. It is a haven of complete peace and tranquillity. Once an important Byzantine centre for monks and hermits. It is quite a rocky area with many natural caves where many of them would have found shelter.
There is a small snack bar near the church for that well-deserved drink before you go in. The church looks small from the outside, but surprises you when you go inside. It contains high vaulted ceilings with wonderful frescoes. See some of the frescoes here. There is an amazing view point in front of the bar where you can take in the scenery surrounding Mount Consolino.
Stilo is ideal for trekkers and bikers
Make sure you sign your name in the little book you can find near the entrance of the church. It’s amazing to see how many people of different nationalities have managed the hike up here. Trekkers and mountain bikers will love it. There are winding roads everywhere.
The church of Stilo is one of the most important examples of Byzantine architecture. You can also visit the church of San Francesco, the remains of a medieval castle and the ruins of a Basilian monastery in nearby Bivongi.
Tartufo di Pizzo
Once you have walked around this area, you will be ready to try one of the local specialities in the many bars. Tartufo di Pizzo is a delicious round shaped ice cream with a chocolate-centred filling in the middle. A real treat. The bar in the main square serve also delicious ice cream.
Stilo palio di Ribusa festival
This is one festival which should not be missed. Every year the town comes alive with many festivities celebrating the Medieval horse race event. This takes place on the first Sunday of August which lasts for about 3 days.
Street artists and performers
Many beautiful horses go on parade with cavaliers dressed in medieval costumes. You will see fire-blowers and street artists perform in some of the back streets of Stilo as well as sword fights, dances and many other performances.
There are many Calabrian products on display to try and plenty of stalls serving that delicious Calabrian street food. There are tables and chairs everywhere in the town if you want to sit down, eat typical products of the area and watch this incredible spectacle. Definitely recommended the town of Stilo on the Jasmine Coast and this amazing festival. You can read about more medieval gems here.