Sanctuary of Madonna del Mare


Bova M. -Santuario della Madonna del mare - Foto Enzo Galluccio

On the 31st of May 1965, the bishop of Bova, Monsignor Aurelio Sorrentino, elevated to the status of Sanctuary the church on the Capo San Giovanni D’Avalos promontory a few metres from the bronze statue of La Madonna del Mare [Our Lady of the Sea] which a Navy military helicopter brought here on the 30th April of the same year, in honour of an older cult of the Madonna del Porto Salvo [Our Lady of the Safe Haven]. Up until the seventeenth century there had been a church at the foot of the promontory dedicated to Our Lady of the Safe Haven, which was destroyed by a tidal wave in 1699.  The bronze sculpture, weighing as many as 7 quintals, was created by Celestino Petrone, an artist born in Naples in 1904 and the author of various other religious works.

Until a few years ago, the Sanctuary housed a late-nineteenth-century painting of the Deposition, which certainly replaced an older work dedicated to the Madonna del Porto Salvo.

Legend has it that the painting, venerated in the church of Capo San Giovanni d’Avalos was found at sea by fishermen. Every year, a long procession leaves the church at the top of the promontory to wind its way through the streets of the town. It used to be led by the painting of the Deposition which was returned to the church by sea on board a fishing boat. The work was probably commissioned by the Marzano family, owners of the church of Our Lady of the Sea, who used it as their mortuary chapel. It is probable that following the theft or loss of an older painting of the Madonna, the Deposition which adorned the Marzanos’ chapel was carried in procession Deposition. However, about two decades ago, the Deposition was transferred to the parish church of Bova Marina, so now the annual procession is headed by a painting representing the bronze sculpture of the Our Lady of the Sea by Celestino Petrone. Capo San Giovanni D’Avalos, also called Rocca del Capo [The Fortress of the Cape] by the locals, is one of Bova Marina’s most beautiful lookout points, appreciated by tourists and by passers-by from the entire area.
Situated on a promontory with a sheer drop down to the sea, the church of Capo San Giovanni provides one of the most beautiful and evocative panoramic views of Reggio’s Ionian coastal area.

Capo San Giovanni is proud of the important historical role it played during the Saracen conquest of the territory and the defense strategies it adopted to defend it from attacks by these new conquerors, to which the remains of a tower used as a defensive coastal outpost bears witness.

The place still plays a vital role in the cultural and religious life of this charming Calabrian town.

Description of these works by Pasquale Faenza.

LocalitaBova Marina
Tipo Risorsachiese

how to reach us

Da Reggio Calabria, percorrere la SS 106 e dopo circa 45 km si è giunti a Bova Marina.


Comune di Bova Marina -