Lighthouses of Italy: Calabria and Basilicata

The Italian region of Calabria is the "toe" of the Italian boot, located in the south of the country northeast of the island of Sicily. Basilicata (or Lucania) is the adjoining region to the north, more or less in the "arch" of the boot. Historically, Calabria and Basilicata were ruled for many years by the Kings of Naples, who were monarchs of the House of Bourbon. In 1816, following the Napoleonic wars, Calabria and Basilicata were included with Campania (Naples) and Sicily in the Bourbon state known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. During Italy's unification, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was conquered by Sardinia in 1860-61 and incorporated in the new Kingdom of Italy in 1861.

Calabria has a long coastline, facing the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Gulf of Otranto to the northeast. Basilicata is mostly an inland region, with very short coastlines on the Tyrrhenian Sea and Gulf of Otranto.

The Italian word for a lighthouse is faro, plural fari. This name is usually reserved for the larger coastal lights; smaller beacons are called fanali. Aids to navigation are operated and maintained by the Italian Navy's Servizio dei Fari. Lighthouse properties are naval reservations, generally fenced and closed to the public.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. EF numbers are from the Italian Navy's light list, Elenco Fari. Admiralty numbers are from volume E of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA List numbers are from Publication 113.

General Sources
Fari e Segnalamenti
Lighthouse information from the Italian Navy's Servizio dei Fari.
Online List of Lights - Italy
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Lighthouses in Italy
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Lighthouses in Italy
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
World of Lighthouses - Italy
Photos by various photographers available from Lightphotos.net.
Italienische Leuchttürme auf Historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

 

Faro Capo Colonne
Capo Colonne Light, Crotone, August 2009
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Revol Web

Lighthouses of Basilicata

Matera Province Lighthouse
**
Scanzano Jonico (Torre della Scanzana, Torre Faro)
Date unknown (1930s?). Inactive for many years. Approx. 21 m (69 ft) round cylindrical light tower with lantern mounted at one corner of a massive square pyramidal stone fortified tower. The fort is unpainted stone; the tower is painted white; lantern roof painted black. A photo and a second photo are available, an Italian wiki site has a fine closeup, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The tower is the Torre della Scanzana, built on orders of the Spanish viceroy in the mid 16th century. It is not known when the light tower was added or how long it remained in use. The absence of information in older light lists suggests it was only active for a few years. The tower was in danger of destruction in connection with the proposed construction nearby of Italy's nuclear waste depository. However, public protests led instead to its recognition as a historic monument and to its restoration. During the restoration, the light tower's gallery was removed. Located just off the Via Lido-Torre at Scanzano Jonico. Site open; the tower is reported to be open for tours. ARLHS ITA-319.

Lighthouses of Calabria

Cosenza Province: Ionian Sea Lighthouses
* Punta Coscio (Marina Laghi di Sibari)
Date unknown (modern). Active (privately maintained); focal plane 23 m (75 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. Approx. 15 m (49 ft) light mounted atop an observation cupola on the roof of a 3-story marina building. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This light is part of a large marina complex dredged from low-lying land. Located about 2.5 km (1.5 mi) northwest of Punta Coscio and the same distance southeast of the town of Marina di Sibari. Site open; tower closed. Owner/site manager: Marina Laghi di Sibari. ARLHS ITA-308; Admiralty E2130.5; NGA 10630.
* Porto di Corigliano North Mole
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane unknown; green flash every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted green. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Formerly unpainted, the tower was painted in 2012. Located at the end of the south mole of Porto di Corigliano, an artificial harbor at Torricella Inferiore, about 8 km (5 mi) north of Corigliano Calabro. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. EF-3429.2; Admiralty E2130.3.
* Porto di Corigliano South Mole
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane unknown; red flash every 3 s. 6 m (20 ft) round concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted red. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, Graziano Colistra has a distant view including both mole lights, and Bing has a satellite view. Formerly unpainted, the tower was painted in 2012. Located at the end of the south mole of Porto di Corigliano, an artificial harbor at Torricella Inferiore, about 8 km (5 mi) north of Corigliano Calabro. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. EF-3429; Admiralty E2130.2.
* Corigliano Calabro
Date unknown. Active(?) (privately maintained); focal plane 20 m (66 ft); continuous white, red or green light, depending on direction. 19 m (62 ft) octagonal unpainted concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse is something of a mystery; it was listed by the Admiralty in November 2013 and then delisted six weeks later. Located on the south quay at Porto di Corigliano. Site open, tower closed. EF-3428; Admiralty E2130.1.
* Capo Trionto
1923. Inactive since 2005. 18 m (59 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a keeper's house. The lighthouse was originally painted white, but the paint has worn off; the lantern dome is gray metallic. A portfolio of photos and a photo showing the top of the lighthouse are available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The light is still listed by NGA. Located on a cape on the west side of the Golfo di Taranto in Mirto. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-191; ex-EF-3428; ex-Admiralty E2130; NGA 10628.

Crotone Province Lighthouses
* Punta Alice
1896. Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 27 m (88 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Sofia Volpiana's photo is at right, Trabas has a good photo, Antonio Granata has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse marks the western entrance to the Golfo di Taranto. Located on a prominent but low cape about 5 km (3 mi) north of Cirò Marina. The lighthouse grounds appear to be closed but there are good views from nearby. ARLHS ITA-122; EF-3424; Admiralty E2128; NGA 10624.
Punta Alice Light
Punta Alice Light, Cirò Marina, July 2007
Flickr photo copyright Sofia Volpiana; permission requested
* Crotone Molo Vecchio (Bacino Sud)
Date unknown (station established 1872). Active; focal plane 11 m (36 ft); two green flashes every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) post light centered on a sqaure 1-story equipment equipment building. Entire lighthouse painted green. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the end of the breakwater of the older harbor at Crotone. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. EF-3408; Admiralty E2122; NGA 10604.
* Crotone Molo Sanità
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 9 m (30 ft); two red flashes every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) post light centered on a sqaure 1-story equipment equipment building. Entire lighthouse painted red. Trabas has a closeup photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the west quay of the older harbor at Crotone. There is parking on the quay. Site open, tower closed. EF-3410; Admiralty E2123; NGA 10608.
* Capo Colonne (Capo Nau)
1873. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 5 s. 22 m (72 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo is at the top of this page, Trabas has an excellent photo, Salvatore Migliari has a photo, a good 2009 photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Easily accessible, this is one of the most commonly visited lighthouses of Calabria's east coast. Located on the point of the cape, at the end of the SP 49 highway about 11 km (7 mi) southeast of Crotone. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-010; EF-3404; Admiralty E2118; NGA 10600.
* Capo Rizzuto (2?)
1906. Active; focal plane 37 m (121 ft); two long (2 s) flashes every 10 s, white or red depending on direction. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Trabas has a good photo, a more distant view is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Several sources mention a lighthouse at a lower elevation here during the 19th century; more information is needed on this. Capo Rizzuto is only 25 km (15 mi) southwest of Capo Colonne, but it seems to be visited much less often. Located atop a sharp promontory, at the end of the Via Faro in the town of Capo Rizzuto. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-033; EF-3396; Admiralty E2112; NGA 10596.

Reggio di Calabria Province: Ionian Sea Lighthouses
* Punta Stilo (Monasterace)
1887. Active; focal plane 54 m (177 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 16 m (52 ft) octagonal masonry tower with lantern and double gallery, painted with narrow black and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a fine closeup photo, a 2008 photo is available, Wikimedia has two photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the E90 coastal highway at Monasterace. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-147; EF-3388; Admiralty E2108; NGA 10584.
* Siderno Marina
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 13 m (43 ft); continuous red (upper) and green lights mounted on a mast on a pierhead building. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the 300 m (1000 ft) pier at Siderno. Accessible by walking the pier. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E2109; NGA 10588.
* Capo Spartivento Calabro
1867. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); white flash every 8 s. 16 m (52 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. P. da Curva's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, a fine view from the sea is available, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. This famous lighthouse is the southernmost lighthouse of the Italian mainland. Note that there is another Capo Spartivento, with another famous lighthouse, at the southern tip of Sardinia. Located above the E90 coastal highway in Brancaleone, about 1.2 km (3/4 mi) southwest of Gelati. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-043; EF-3384; Admiralty E1782; NGA 10580.

Capo Spartivento Light, Brancaleone, July 2009
Panoramio photo copyright P. da Curva; permission requested

Reggio di Calabria Province: Strait of Messina Lighthouses
Note: Only 4 km (2.5 mi) wide at its northern end, the famous Strait of Messina separates Calabria from the island of Sicily. A natural whirlpool develops at the entrance to the strait, making this passage a dangerous one. In legend, this was the home of Scylla and Charybdis, sea monsters who dwelled on either side of the narrow passage, Scylla on the Calabrian side and Charybdis on the Sicilian, drowning sailors who passed too close to one or the other. There has been a long-running controversy in Italy about building a bridge across the strait, which is technically feasible but would be very expensive. In October 2006, parliament voted narrowly to shelve plans for the bridge. In March 2009 the government announced that plans for the project were "fully revived," but in February 2013 the project was cancelled again.
Capo dell'Armi
1867. Active; focal plane 95 m (312 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 12 m (39 ft) octagonal cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. A photo is at right, Trabas has an excellent closeup photo, a view from the sea shows the lighthouse perched on the cape, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse serves as a landfall light for ships approaching the Strait from the south. Note: there is also a Faro di Capo dell'Arma located near the French border in Liguria. Located above the E90 coastal highway at the extreme southwestern tip of the Calabrian peninsula. Site status unknown; the absence of closeup photos makes it appear that this lighthouse is not easily approached. ARLHS ITA-014; EF-3380; Admiralty E1780; NGA 9744.
Reggio Calabria Molo de Ponente
Date unknown (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green light, 1 s on, 1 s off. 10 m (33 ft) two-stage tower, painted green; the lower half is a round conical concrete tower with gallery, and the upper stage is a typical Italian "bottle" pier light: a post mounted on a round cylinder. Entire lighthouse painted green. Trabas has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view showing both mole lights. Located on the end of the breakwater at Reggio Calabria. Site status unknown, but there's a good view from ferries crossing the Strait of Messina to Messina, Sicily. Site open, tower closed. EF-2728; Admiralty E1776; NGA 9736.
* Reggio Calabria Molo de Sottoflutto
Date unknown (station established 1883). Active; focal plane 11 m (43 ft); red flash every 3 s. 9 m (30 ft) "bottle" pier light: a post mounted on a round cylinder, mounted on a 1-story concrete pierhead building. Lighthouse painted red. Trabas has a closeup photo, Vincenzo Rindone has a photo of both pierhead lights, another photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the end of the breakwater at Reggio Calabria. Site status unknown, but there's a good view from ferries crossing the Strait of Messina to Messina, Sicily. Site open, tower closed. EF-2732; Admiralty E1777; NGA 9740.
* Villa San Giovanni (Molo de Ponente)
Date unknown (station established 1911). Active; focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 3 s. 10 m (33 ft) two-stage tower, painted green; the lower half is a round conical concrete tower with gallery, and the upper stage is a typical Italian "bottle" pier light: a post mounted on a round cylinder. Entire lighthouse painted green. Trabas has Capt. Peter Mosselberger's closeup photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located on the end of the breakwater at Villa San Giovanni. Accessible by walking the mole, and there's also a good view from ferries crossing the Strait of Messina to Messina, Sicily. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-260; EF-2724; Admiralty E1772; NGA 9724.
Capo dell'Armi Light
Capo dell'Armi Light, Motta San Giovanni, June 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Cirimbillo
* Punta Pezzo (4)
1953 (station established 1883) . Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); three red flashes every 15 s. 23 m (75 ft) cylindrical concrete tower with lantern but no gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Trabas has a good photo, Wikimedia has Jacopo Werther's 2009 view from the strait and a 2010 view by Dennis Jarvis, a sunrise photo is available, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original lighthouse, an 18 m (59 ft) octagonal stone tower, was probably destroyed by the great Messina earthquake of 1908. It was replaced by much smaller lights. The present lighthouse was built in connection with the construction in 1957 of an overhead powerline crossing the Strait. A second lantern, mounted on the front of the tower, showed a yellow light when the Strait was closed to navigation due to construction or repairs to the line. The overhead powerline was replaced by a submarine cable in the late 1990s, so this signal is no longer required. Located at the narrowest point of the Strait, on the Via Faro in Villa San Giovanni. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS

Reggio di Calabria Province: Tyrrhenian Sea Lighthouses
* Scilla (Castello di Scilla) (3)
Date unknown (station established 1913). Active; focal plane 72 m (236 ft); white flash every 5 s. 6 m (20 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with a black band at the base; lantern dome is gray metallic. Jo Schmaltz's photo is at right, Trabas has Egidio Ferrighi's closeup photo, a 2008 sunset closeup is available, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse serves as a landfall light for ships approaching the Strait from the north. The lighthouse is actually built on a terrace on the seaward side of the 13th century Castello di Scilla, more properly called the Castello Ruffo di Calabria. Located on a steep promontory on the east side of the northern entrance to the Strait of Messina. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-050; EF-2712; Admiralty E1766; NGA 9708.
Gioia Tauro South Breakwater
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 14 m (46 ft); green flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted green. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Strategically located at the toe of the Italian peninsula, Gioia Tauro is the busiest Italian port and one of the largest container terminals in Europe. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Gioia Tauro. Site status unknown. Admiralty E1763.2; NGA 9704.7.
* Gioia Tauro (Directional Light 1)
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 22 m (72 ft); continuous white, red or green light, depending on direction. Approx. 18 m (59 ft) square skeletal tower with gallery, painted white. Trabas has a photo, Google has a street view (through a fence), and Bing has a satellite view. The light tower stands in front of the harbor control building opposite the port entrance. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty E1763.35; NGA 9704.6.
Scilla
Scilla Light (coast of Sicily in the distance), Scilla, June 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Jo Schmaltz
Gioia Tauro North Breakwater
Date unknown. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 14 m (46 ft); red flash every 4 s. 10 m (33 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower, painted red. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located at the end of the south breakwater of Gioia Tauro. Site status unknown. Admiralty E1763; NGA 9704.5.

Vibo Valentia Province Lighthouses
* Capo Vaticano
1885. Active; focal plane 108 m (354 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 8 m (26 ft) round cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to the front of a 1-story masonry keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. 2nd order Fresnel lens in use. A photo is at right, Trabas has a closeup photo, Wikimedia has a 2010 closeup, another photo and a 2008 closeup are available, a tourist site has a page for the lighthouse, Google has a street view, and Bing has a satellite view. The lighthouse was actually completed in 1870 but not activated until 15 years later. Capo Vaticano--the knuckle on Italy's toe--is a prominent cape separating the Golfo di Sant'Eufemia to the north from the Golfo di Gioia to the south. Located in Ricadi atop a steep promontory at the westernmost point of the cape. Site and tower closed, although the lighthouse can be viewed from nearby points. ARLHS ITA-047; EF-2708; Admiralty E1762; NGA 9704.
* Vibo Valentia Marina (Porto Santa Venere) (North Mole) (3)
Date unknown (station established 1884). Active; focal plane 17 m (56 ft); flash every 5 s, white or green depending on direction. 15 m (49 ft) round tapered concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted green. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. The town is the port for the province of Vibo Valentia; its name was changed from Porto Santa Venere to Vibo Valentia Marina in 1928. Located at the end of the breakwater mole of Vibo Valentia Marina, at the south end of the Golfo di Sant'Eufemia. Accessible by walking the mole. Site open, tower closed. ARLHS ITA-300; EF-2697; Admiralty E1757; NGA 9692.
Capo Vaticano Light
Capo Vaticano Light, Ricadi, 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Schnäggli

Catanzaro Province Lighthouses
* Capo Suvero (1 and 2)
1984 (station established 1869). Active; focal plane 58 m (190 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 25 m (82 ft) square cylindrical masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story masonry keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Trabas has a closeup photo, Pietro Scardamaglia has a 2012 photo, a 2008 photo is available, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The original light was an octagonal tower centered on the keeper's house, and the first story of this tower is still in place. Located on the cape, at the northern entrance to the Golfo di Sant'Eufemia about 2 km (1.2 mi) south of Marina di Gizzeria. Site status unknown, but the lighthouse can be viewed from nearby. ARLHS ITA-045; EF-2692; Admiralty E1756; NGA 9684.

Cosenza Province: Tyrrhenian Sea Lighthouses
* Paola (Torre del Soffio) (2)
1939 (?) (station established 1929). Active; focal plane 53 m (174 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 17 m (56 ft) massive square stone defensive and watch tower with a small lantern mounted at the highest level. The tower is unpainted; lantern painted white with a gray metallic dome. Giovanni Solone's photo is at right, Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The 16th century Torre del Soffio is a landmark and tourist attraction in Paola. According to one source, the light was "modernized" (replaced?) in 1939. Located two blocks from the sea above the waterfront of Paola. Site open, tower status unknown. ARLHS ITA-111; EF-2688; Admiralty E1752; NGA 9680.
Capo Bonifati
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 63 m (207 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 7 m (23 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white, adjoining a 1-story equipment building. Trabas has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. Located off the Via Santa Maria between Lampezia and Bonifati. Site status unknown. ARLHS ITA-016; EF-2684; Admiralty E1750; NGA 9676.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Scalea (1922-1981), northern Calabria.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Torre del Soffio, Paola
Torre del Soffio Light, Paola, September 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Giovanni Solone

Adjoining pages: North: Campania and Lazio | East: Puglia | West: Eastern Sicily

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Posted June 16, 2006. Checked and revised February 9, 2014. Lighthouses: 28. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.