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Bova Marina

Between Capo Crisafi, San Giovanni d’Avalos and the river Amendolea, Bova Marina was born relatively recently, detaching itself from the innermost Bova.

The ancient port of Bova, known in Greek as Yalo tu Vùa, Marina di Bova, grew as an urban entity in its own right at the end of the nineteenth century on the bay of Capo San Giovanni D’Avalos, the most elegant promontory of the Ionian.

The village of Bova Marina arose in fact at the end of the nineteenth century at the behest of the bishop of Bova, Monsignor Dalmazio D’Andrea, who bought a vast expanse of land along the banks of the Sideroni torrent to give it to the poorest. The memorial plaque on the façade of the church of the Immaculate Conception of Bova Marina, founded by the bishop himself, commemorates it.

Bova Marina then grew concurrently with the urbanization of the Ionian coast, determined by a series of beneficial factors, such as the construction of the railway, the state 106 and the increasing profitability resulting from the crops in the floodplains, progressively reclaimed and no longer Turkish invasions that threatened the coasts until the early 19th century. Still in the eighteenth century the current plain where later grew the coastal town was simply called small plain, to distinguish it from the great valley of San Pasquale which instead was called the great plain. The small fishing village in 1910 became a separate municipality, progressively inhabited by the citizens of Bova, who found it increasingly advantageous to live the proceeds of the cultivation of bergamots and later also by jasmine.


Jalò tu Vùa is a territory rich in history and also one of the most precious archaeological sites of Bovesìa. In fact, it boasts an extraordinary prestige thanks to the archaeological findings discovered in Deri, in the San Pasquale valley, after the surveys carried out by Liliana Costamagna between 1983 and 1987.

The site, in addition to traces of a settlement of the period protohistoric, datable to the tenth century a.C., preserves the ruins of a Roman villa, an aqueduct and some tombs, and the base of a structure dating back to the IV century. d.C., identified as synagogue above all for the presence of a mosaic floor bearing symbols of the Jewish iconographic tradition, the menorah, the shoffar, the cedar and the palm leaf. It would be the oldest in the West after that of Ostia Antica.

The synagogue was located in a location affected by other structures, and it is therefore assumed the existence of a small village near the coastal area, which in ancient times connected Reggio with the other localities of the Ionian coast.

This site is identifiable with the ancient Scyle, indicated, with different variations, in the ancient Itineraria; this would be confirmed by the presence of the toponym Scillàca in Contrada Deri. There are numerous prehistoric settlements found (about 70) around the center of Bova Marina, in particular the Neolithic, the age of copper and bronze.

The oldest, in the Umbro area, 200 m above sea level, near the new road axis that connects Bova Marina to Bova, was initially inhabited from the first half of the 6th millennium BC. up to 4000 B.C., and later during the Copper Age.

Among the most characteristic findings are a ritual deposition of ceramic containers, perhaps to be linked to the abandonment of the site, and likely housing structures dating back to the sixth millennium BC. Moreover, the excavations have returned typical samples of Neolithic material culture: embossed ceramics, chipped stone tools, stone axes, obsidian and flint tools, unpainted vessels and decorated vases.


Bova Marina offers tourists interested in knowing the most ancient cultural aspects of the places, the important itinerary of the Archeoderi Archaeological Park, in the district of San Pasquale, where it is possible to visit the whole area around the synagogue and, inside the Antiquarium, different finds belonging to the Neolithic, Bronze, Magnogreca and Byzantine age, in addition to the precious Jewish mosaic.

Moreover, going up the valley you can visit the ruins of the Byzantine church of Panaghìa, one of the innumerable places of the cult route of the Byzantine Italogreci saints, which recalls in its circular structure the baptistery of Santa Severina and the Cattolica di Stilo.

And to witness the Byzantine cult, you can visit Apambelo on a small hill that rises between the olive groves and the expanses of broom, the ruins of another Byzantine treasure, San Niceto lachiesetta dating from the tenth century. I.R.S.S.E.C has its headquarters in Bova Marina (Regional Institute of Higher Studies Elleno Calabri) in which you can now retrace, after a recent inauguration, the itinerary of craft traditions by visiting the Museum of Peasant Civilization, which then enriches the cultural offer of the town.

Moreover, to protect the language and culture of the Greeks of Calabria, they operate two of the main associations of the territory, Odisseas and Jalò tu Vùa.

Very suggestive is the site of Capo San Giovanni d’Avalos or “Ten arcan tou Boòs”, the tip of Bova, as indicated by a Byzantine document of the eleventh century. On the crest of the elegant promontory, dedicated by the Greeks to Hercules, are today monuments symbol of the history of this Greek coast: a sixteenth-century cavallara tower, an eighteenth-century church, commissioned by a family of noble benefactors, the Marzano, and a massive statue bronze of the Madonna del Mare, brought here by helicopter in 1962.

The devotion to the Virgin, celebrated the first week of August, with a suggestive procession on the sea, is linked to the presence of the church dedicated to Our Lady of Porto Salvo, standing at the base of the promontory until, at the end of the seventeenth century, a violent sea storm erased the memory.

The dedication to the Madonna del Porto Salvo is connected to the role of a leeward port that has characterized Capo San Giovanni d’Avalos for centuries. The same statio of Skile identified in San Pasquale, as well as the archaeological remains discovered in the area of Tripepi, in the eastern suburbs of Bova Marina, were in fact also connected to the presence of a commercial seaport, others that in the presence of the river Sideroni and of the San Pasquale.

Bovesia, for strategic, economic and political importance, has been a land of conflict between two great poleis as well as a place of peace and an important economic center and a focal point for trade.

Today it is the Archeoderi Museum which holds its legacy. In it are kept the vestiges of great civilizations, the glories of their glory and above all the memory of all those people, indigenous and not, who have settled on our territory and of which we still have testimonies in our culture between uses, customs, traditions and language.

In our land myth and history meet and intertwine and from them comes an aura of mystery and magic that, even today, if we close our eyes for a moment with imagination we can see Heracles.

The demigod, the strong man par excellence, the mortal who challenged the gods and overcame many adventures, who during one of his trips reached Reggio. Then continue along the Ionian coast, until you reach a place that still bears his name, the promontory Heracleion, today Capo Spartivento (“where the wind turns”), located between Leucopetra and the Iapigio promontory (called “Leucopetra Tarenhinorum”).

It is said that during the journey along the Ionian coast the hero, tired of his labors, stopped to rest, but, unable to sleep, because disturbed by the song of cicadas, he prayed to the gods to “become unaware.”

This myth is mostly introduced in ancient texts, from a ‘naturalistic’ news concerning the cicadas on the border between the two “chorai” (territories), separated by the river called Halex: those on the Reggio side, in fact, would be characterized by the apony , unlike those on the Locrian side. This relationship, established between the muteness of the cicadas and the river on the border between the two chorai, not only seems to allude to the rivalries between the two cities, but also seems to legitimize the occupation of the territory by the hands of the Reggini.

The Antiquarium collects a selection of exemplary finds of the material culture of various eras, found in the territory of Bova Marina and Bova in today’s Park area, flanked by a bilingual educational apparatus that illustrates the study. To these findings are added significant testimonies, such as the mosaic floor of the synagogue of the Roman-imperial age which is an absolute rarity in Italy, evidence of the multiethnicity of the society of the time, or the milestone of the Amigdalà district, archaeological confirmation of the existence of a coastal road system during the Roman imperial age.

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