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    Bivongi - Village with Healing Powers

    Located at the border between the provinces of Reggio Calabria and Catanzaro, Bivongi lies in the Stilaro Valley at the foot of Mount Consolino, in an area enriched by wonderful natural landscapes.

    The subsoil is rich in minerals, precious stones and thermal springs and it is immersed in natural surroundings that are truly fascinating. The inhabited town centre is very picturesque, with a maze of narrow streets and a myriad of stairways and steps which serve to reach the houses placed one above the other, creating a patchwork of walls and arches.

    In the past, Bivongi was among the most well-known locations for many of its thriving activities: ranging from the production of silk to machining of metals and stone-work, to generating electricity, extracting molybdenum from local mines and for being the preferred location (still prior to the tenth century), of monks from the East that escaped, together with their icons, from the iconoclast laws enacted by the Emperor Leo the Isaurian.

    Today it is known for the abbey’s traditional feast, which takes place during August and for the Festa di Maria SS Mamma Nostra, celebrated twice a year: in September and February.

    View of Bivongi


    The Monastery

    Facing the steep walls of Mount Consolino, the church of St. John Theresti, the only remnant of an Italian-Greek monastery founded at the end of the 11th-century, is one of the famous Byzantine-Arabic-Norman style buildings in Calabria. From 1100 to 1662, the place became a pilgrimage destination, after it was ennobled by the long stay and the sepulchre of the saint. Nowadays restored and refounded by the Orthodox monks of Mount Athos, the monastery welcomes Romanian monks.

    San Giovanni Theristis Monastery


    Healing Water

    A short distance from Bivongi’s town centre are sources of sulphurous alkaline water in a town called “Bagni di Guide” or “Acque Sante” (holy waters, with reference to their therapeutic properties). Analyses have classified Bivongi’s thermal springs as mineral water rich in sulphur and fluoride; therefore, suitable for the treatment of various diseases. Tradition tells us that the discovery of the healing properties of its mineral water was entirely by chance, when a shepherd noticed that his goats were benefiting by jumping into some puddles. The rumour spread and a growing number of people went there to cure their ills. Around 1850 a small spa was built. It was one of Calabria’s most advanced spas and it remained active until the end of the forties/early fifties of the twentieth century.


    Secret to Living Past a Hundred Years

    Bivongi is called the Borgo della Longevita (Village of Longevity) its inhabitants include a large number of century-old trees and citizens who live well past their nineties. To understand the reasons for this trend, studies were carried of Bivongi and on neighbouring towns that had a particularly long-living population.

    Eating habits, friendly rendezvous in the piazza, days of ordinary routine that flow between daily chores and moments relaxing on the sofa, which never change and are always perfect in terms of the customs of its inhabitants, are part of Bivongi’s experience and culture and allow to live longer in synergy than in other places.

    The idea of Bivongi’s “Albergo Diffuso” (scattered hotel) was conceived from these concepts and has transformed some of the town’s abandoned buildings into some thirty accommodation options scattered around the village, that offer those seeking a different alternative from the usual tourist itineraries, a special and unforgettable experience. The Borgo della Longevita (Village of longevity) is now a human destination. Its specific character and type of experience make it truly unique.

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