Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 16, 2016

Pentedattilo, ghost town

Pentedattilo is a ghost town in Calabria. The name comes from Greek, meaning five fingers (penta daktylos). The town sits 250 metres above the sea below, on Mount Calvario, which used to resemble a hand holding up its 5 fingers.


The town was founded as a Greek colony in 640BC. It continued to flourish during the Roman era, but declined in the Byzantine domination when it was sacked by Saracens. Normans conquered the town in the 12th century and several others controlled the town over the years until an earthquake severely damaged it in 1783.



Much of the population moved to nearby Melito Porto Salvo. Pentedattilo remained uninhabited until 1960 – 1980 when it was partially restored by volunteers.

The day we arrived there was a howling wind blowing through the deserted streets. If that wind was a regular occurrence I can’t imagine why anyone would want to live there. It was truly miserable…come for a walk anyway.



Of course it isn’t completely deserted these days. It draws quite a few tourists and there are a couple of shops and a little museum.


We were dragged into the museum by a very vocal woman who shouted information while thrusting objects towards us at speed. We couldn’t get away until an unsuspecting couple came in and we made our escape while she was distracted momentarily.


We saw a bride and groom posing for photos and later saw the beautifully decorated church.  I wonder if being married in a ghost town is really a good omen…time will tell.



One thing that is thriving in Pentedattilo is prickly pear. It grows all over the hillside.


The wind eventually blew us down the hill and into our car and we happily sped away.


If you visit Pentedattilo (it really is worth a visit) don’t plan on staying in the area. It is not attractive in any way, wind or no wind.


  1. I knew there would be a shop – there is always a shop – even in a ghost town!

    • A little cafe would not have gone astray.

      • or a bar?

      • We did see a little bar, but there wasn’t much in it.

  2. Strange. Dattilo appears in one of our forthcoming posts.

  3. I love this. I’ve always been interested in small ghost towns and historical sites

    • It is interesting to wander along the deserted streets.

  4. Great, I’m glad you liked Pentedattilo because it is one of my favorite places. Until ten years ago we were just a few to visit it. Often I was alone, except for the noisy crows.

    • It is fascinating to see how people lived and these desolate places are excellent for that. The views from the town are stunning, but the lives of the people must have been a struggle. We were very pleased to have visited Pentedattilo. It must be a bit eerie being alone there.

  5. Sounds like perfect weather for a ghost town!

    • Yes, we just needed some rattling chains.

  6. It always amazes me how in such villages the houses cling to hillsides – maybe the inhabitants were blown away. The prickly pear looks like fingers reaching out to catch to passers by and then devour them – their wailing disguised by the wind:) :). Love the lady in the museum – I would have felt like a rabbit in the headlights.

    • She was a treat. We really felt that we were not going to escape. I think there may have been an exam at the end of her tales.

  7. I marked this place out as somewhere worth visiting a few years ago, but never got there, so thanks for the virtual wander!

  8. Oh, and where did you stay? A long way away?

    • We left the area completely and stayed the night in Salerno.

      • OK!

  9. The rock formations are truly amazing…It appears the wind has sculpted them over time.

    • I think it would have sculpted us if we had stayed there longer.

      • Haha…yep, I bet so. I don’t like wind either.

  10. I think it’s the perfect place to get married 🙂

  11. […] the way back we dropped into Pentedattilo, a ghost town in Calabria, where the wind almost blew us off the […]

  12. […] via Pentedattilo, ghost town — Bagni di Lucca and Beyond […]

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