The History of Madonna di Porto in Gimigliano (Catanzaro)

The history of the Madonna di Porto Sanctuary in Gimigliano (province of Catanzaro, Calabria) dates back to the 17th century. The deep-rooted devotion in the hearts of the faithful has witnessed miracles, conversions, and a continuous influx of pilgrims over time.

Here are the history and useful information about the sanctuary:

Be careful not to confuse this sanctuary with the “Madonna di Porto Salvo”, a title under which the Holy Virgin Mary is venerated as the protector of seafarers, celebrated in various coastal locations in Italy.


The History and Miracles

The veneration of the Madonna di Porto began in 1626 during a period of severe calamities. At that time, the local population was oppressed by the fear of continuous earthquakes and the threat of the plague. Seeking refuge in faith, the people of Gimigliano were inspired by the protection that the Neapolitans received from the image of the Madonna of Constantinople during the plague of 1529 in Naples. The epidemic, which began two years earlier during the French siege, resulted in over 30,000 deaths. Following a vision in a dream, an image of the Virgin was found at the city gates, and a vow of fidelity was made with the promise of the end of the plague. When the epidemic subsided shortly thereafter, a confraternity dedicated to this image of the Madonna of Constantinople was established, and over the years, the devotion intensified, leading to the construction of the Church of Santa Maria di Costantinopoli (on the namesake street in Naples), completed in 1608, just a few years before the events narrated here.

The faithful of Gimigliano desired a copy of the image. The work was commissioned to a local painter who began the task until the unfinished painting was miraculously completed by angelic hands overnight. This first miracle marked the beginning of a devotion that would last for centuries.

Another significant event occurred in 1751, when the Madonna appeared to Pietro Gatto, a local young man with a troubled past. The Virgin asked Pietro to build a chapel in the nearby locality called “Porto”. Initially viewed with suspicion by the local population and priests due to his reputation, Pietro was deeply moved by the apparition. He changed his life, becoming a hermit and taking the name Fra Costantino (in honor of the Madonna of Constantinople), dedicating himself to the construction of a small chapel housing the miraculous image. The small chapel later became a church, and the population adopted the tradition of carrying the miraculous image in a procession, a religious practice still followed today.

The third key date is 1807, when at the end of February, the French troops invading Calabria reached Gimigliano, ravaging the town. The commander of the troops was particularly struck by the image of the Madonna and took it as a war trophy, bringing it to Catanzaro. But then another miracle occurred: in the darkness of the night, the commander saw that the image emanated a light, a mystical glow that led him to understanding and repentance. The painting was soon returned. This event further strengthened the faith and devotion towards the Madonna di Porto, both solidifying the bond between the local community and the Virgin and expanding the devotion to the capital, Catanzaro.


The Sanctuary Today

The devotion has remained strong over time and has continued to grow, culminating in 2013 when the Madonna di Porto Sanctuary was elevated to the status of a Minor Basilica. This recognition highlighted the importance of the sanctuary as a place of pilgrimage and devotion.

This is the current appearance of the Madonna di Porto Sanctuary:

Sanctuary of Madonna di Porto in Gimigliano (Catanzaro, Italy)

Photo credit: Yiyi, license CC 4.0

The evolution from the initial small chapel has been supported by the faith of the population.


The Annual Festival

Every year, the Madonna di Porto festival attracts numerous pilgrims, including many emigrants who return specifically to participate in the celebrations. The procession, which starts from Gimigliano and arrives at the Basilica of Porto, remains a moment of deep spirituality and faith.

The ritual is celebrated annually during the Monday and Tuesday of Pentecost. Thousands of pilgrims arrive from various localities in the province and region, first stopping at the Cathedral of Gimigliano, and then proceeding in procession to the Sanctuary in the Madonna di Porto locality.

This is a short video from the local broadcaster:

Youtube video preview festa Madonna di Porto Gimigliano

For more details, see the page on the Madonna di Porto festival.


Mass Schedules

The sanctuary is open all year round from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM.

Mass schedules:

Sundays: at 11:00 AM and 5:30 PM (4:30 PM in winter)

Tuesdays: at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (4:30 PM in winter)

Saturdays: at 5:30 PM (4:30 PM in winter)

Check for any schedule changes by calling: +39 0961 995046


Map and Directions

The Madonna di Porto Sanctuary is located just north of the municipality of Gimigliano, which is itself northwest of Catanzaro (and northeast of Lamezia Terme).

Address: Strada provinciale Gimigliano, CZ, Italy

This is the location on the map of Calabria: Google Maps

Map of the Sanctuary of Madonna di Porto in Gimigliano, Calabria

There is no public transportation: you can only get there by your own car, or by walking for about an hour from Gimigliano.


Cover Photocredit: Yiyi , licenza CC 4.0



This site is independently managed and does not in any way represent the Basilica of Our Lady of Porto in Gimigliano, the associated parish, or the Diocese of Catanzaro-Squillace. For official information, please contact the Diocese of Catanzaro-Squillace directly.
You can also contact the sanctuary directly at +39 0961 995046.