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The castle.
Vibo Valentia is a city and comune (municipality) in the Calabria region of southern Italymarker, near the Tyrrhenian Seamarker. It is the capital of the province of Vibo Valentia, and is an agricultural, commercial and tourist center (the most famous places nearby are Tropeamarker, Ricadimarker and Pizzomarker). There are also several large manufacturing industries, including the tuna district of Maierato. Very important for the local economy is the Vibo Marinamarker's harbour.


Vibo Valentia was originally the Greek colony of Hipponion. It was founded, probably around the late 7th century BC, by inhabitants of Locrimarker, a principal city of the Italian Magna Graecia, south of Vibo Valentia on the Ionian Seamarker. Diodorus Siculus reports that the city was taken in 388 BCE by Dionysius the Elder tyrant of Syracusemarker, who deported all the population. The population came back in 378 BCE, with the help of the Carthaginiansmarker. In the following years Hipponion came under the dominion of the Bruttii, who controlled most of Calabria. After the town fell to Rome, the name was Latinized to Hipponium. The town became a Roman colony in 194 BCE with the name of Vibo Valentia. After a phase of prosperity during the late Republic and early Empire, the town was almost completely abandoned after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

In 1070 the Normans built a castle at the site of the old Acropolis and in 1235 a new city was established by Frederick II, Holy Roman emperor and king of Sicily, with the name of Monteleone. The city got back the old Roman name of Vibo Valentia only in 1928.

Main sights

  • Norman-Hoehenstaufen Castle, located most likely on the site of Hipponion acropolis, and built around 1000. For its construction materials from the Greek temples nearby were used. It was damaged by an earthquake in 1783. Today the castle is home to a state museum.
  • Walls of Hipponion, including c. 350 meters of remains and foundings of eight towers (whose height has been estimated in 10 meters).
  • Church of Santa Maria Maggiore e San Leoluca (Cathedral), built in the 9th century over the remains of a Byzantine basilica. It has a 18th century marble high altar with a 16th century sculpture of "Madonna della Neve", and a Renaissance triptych.
  • Church of Santa Ruba (c. 1000), built by Pope Callixtus II. It has a large cupola in Oriental style.
  • Church of the Rosario (c. 1337), located over a Roman temple. Originally in Gothic style, it was remade after the 1783 earthquake.

Twin towns


  • The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press. 2001. [126987]
  • The Princeton encyclopedia of classical sites; Stillwell, Richard. MacDonald, William L. McAlister, Marian Holland. Princeton, N.J. Princeton University Press. 1976. ISBN 0-691-03542-3 [126988]

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