Not too far from Stilo and the Ionian Coasts
of Calabria is where one will encounter Bivongi,
an ancient handicrafts centre of the Stilaro Valley.
The village was founded during the era of Saracen raids (IX
century), which caused the inhabitants to move from the coast
and populate areas more inland.
During the same century, Basilian
monks were also present in the area. They preached in the
grottoes of the Bivongi territory. Among these, Ambrogio,
Nicola and Giovanni who was later canonised with the name
of Théristis (meaning harvester), after reference was
made to one of his many miracles.
Robert Guiscard, who conquered Calabria (mid XI century),
benefited from his powers and became a devotee to the point
of wanting the construction of a monastery dedicated to the
The history of Bivongi from that time on was connected to
the activity of the Greek-Orthodox Monastery of San Giovanni
Théristis, until 1662.
The painter Tommaso Martini (1689-1747) was born in Bivongi.
A visit to the City
The main monument is the San Giovanni Théristis Monastery
situated 2 kilometres from the habitation. It represents the
historical change from the Byzantine to Latin Norman architecture
On arrival at the Monastery, one can admire the ruins of the
SS. Apostoli Convent.
One must not forget to visit the Modern Art Gallery and Contemporary
One can depart from Bivongi and enjoy interesting cultural
excursions, such as that to Monte Consolino dominated by the
remains of the Medieval Castle and populated by Eremitic Grottoes
containing Byzantine frescoes, or naturalistic visits such
as to the Marmarico Cascades which are among the highest in
Moreover, Bivongi is a handicrafts centre of wood and wicker
work. It is also noted for the production of an excellent
Place of interest
- Parrocchiale di S. Giovanni Decollato
- Monastero greco-ortodosso di San Giovanni Theristis
- Monastero SS. Apostoli
- Mulinu do Furnu
- Cascata del Marmarico
- Parco Vignali
- Bagni di Guida
- Castello e Grotte sul Monte Consolino
– The Modern Art Gallery and Contemporary AM International;
- Museum “A Lumera” of Peasant Art and Popular
- Eco-museum of Ironworks and Foundries of Calabria.
- The Feast of Maria S.S. Mamma Nostra on 5th February;
- Orthodox Feast of San Giovanni Théristis in February;
- Catholic and Orthodox Easter;
- Badia Market in August;
- Wine Festival in August;
- Feast of Maria S.S. Mamma Nostra on the 2nd Sunday in September;
- Feast of San Martino in November.